Things To Do In Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is a little city and official capital of Sabah in Malaysia with a great deal of craft and fancy markets. You can visit some of them by walking in case you're intrigued to purchase a few trinkets and souvenirs you need to bring back home. The most mainstream shoreline if you want to explore the beaches is the Tanjung Aru. It's not precisely the most delightful beach that you will ever see on this side of Malaysia but what makes it unique is the nightfall and lively atmosphere that makes Kota Kinabalu truly worth going by.
An important part that must not be missed is the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and the adjacent marsh, jungles, and islands if you intend to see the untamed wildlife in their common territory.
When To Go To:
It can rain at whatever time of year, despite the fact that it is said that the downpour season is from October to February. The rains at whatever point it happens, is seldom a full-day occasion and regularly goes on for anything from 15 minutes to 2 hours and is sort of unsurprising. The downpour is basically perpendicular, which implies you can cover yourself and stay dry (for a short while at any rate) with a daily paper. In light of the fact that it’s generally close to the Philippines, it is never influenced by the great storms of its neighboring nation. Formally however, the rainy season starts from October until February while the summer season occurs from the start of March until September. The best time to visit is during the dryer season although it may still rain once a day but in the downpour season maybe twice a day. In any case not consistently.
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These are the interesting attractions and list of things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia…
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is beautiful at sunset and dawn especially when the call to prayer echoes throughout the land. As stated in the rules posted before the entrance door, there are visiting hours and there are strict rules - clothes, behavior, etc. - Tourists in shorts with bare shoulders and miniskirts are not allowed there and shoes must be deposited at the entrance.
Visiting hours is imposed as follows: 8-12 am and 14-15.30 pm except Friday. Tourists are allowed to go and tour around the mosque for half an hour in groups with a guide but they must first pass by the visitor center at the mosque. It is one of the most scenic mosques that you’ll ever see in Kota Kinabalu. It is very nice to admire the Floating Mosque at dawn, when the mosque is reflected in the perfectly smooth surface of the pond.
Sabah State Museum
This tour is recommended for very enthusiastic people. Overall, the Sabah State Museum is a very interesting exhibition in the open air with nice exhibits and detailed information. It has widely represented national costumes of different time periods, but not enough light to make decent photos. In this museum there is really everything from different eras of colonial rule in Sabah, Malaysia.
But the thing that keeps its visitors amused is the part that shows the Ethno-Anthropological with the reconstruction of homes and showing the habits and customs of different ethnicities that are present in Sabah. The museum is a good way to learn something new about Kota Kinabalu and Malaysia.
Shangri-La's Orangutan Care Project
It is a center for the rehabilitation of orangutans that is located in the middle of a 5-star resort. The place is well cared for and definitely recommended. The Shangri -La’s Orangutan Care Project is a very admirable reserve, where the animals are obviously well protected and pampered by their caretakers. The tours are limited to a group of people so as not to disturb the young ones and not create too much confusion and loud noises. The close encounters with the orangutans are safe and a wonderful experience.
It is very nice to see two of the three orangutans in the 'wild' when you drop by for a visit. Before the actual feeding of the orangutans, an impressive 30 minute film is shown for the audience and to show the efforts of conservation made by the resort for their cause. After the film showing, the animals are lured with food and then go for a walk in their own trees and lianas which is very comforting and nice to see. The center is located in the rainforest and the orangutans are found in the wild, but they come fast on their feeding time. From here you get to observe their natural habits and behaviors with their trainers. See how they jump on the trees, and interact with the audience in very funny and amusing ways. The visit to the rehabilitation center and their natural habitat is aimed to protect the orangutans and can only be availed as part of a tour package. If you are billeted in the Hotel Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort it can be very convenient and easily booked via the resident tour operator.
North Borneo Steam Railway
The North Borneo Steam Railway is a great thing and like riding a time machine with modern settings outside to see. It is always packed with people and the train runs 2 times a week. The tour must be booked by telephone only, although they have a website. The conductors wear their official colonial uniform. The tour leads you all the way into the boiler room, on the train right on the nose with a flag, and then gather a group of conductors where you are placed in the center to make a cool photo and souvenir that you have been to the oldest railway system in Malaysia.
The railway has remained here in Kota Kinabalu since colonial times, when Borneo was the farthest point of the British colonial empire. This railway is still the only one on the island and held deep into Borneo to supply coffee and other plantations, where it was easy to deliver to the coast all natural and agricultural wealth, which the island is famous until now. Nowadays, it has industrial and tourism value, but this train travels no more like how it used to, but only twice a week. You can ride on a train and take a tour of Queen Victoria. The cars were recently restored; the conductors are dressed in uniforms of the Victorian era. During a 2-hour walk at a train in the jungle of Borneo, you will learn many interesting facts about the life of the British colonialists on the edge of the world that ruled here 150 years ago.
Mari Mari Cultural Village
Submitted by the lifestyles of various tribes living on the territory of the island of Borneo. The Mari Mari Cultural Village is built for each tribe with typical huts, and in each of them representative of the tribe that occupied its traditional craft. For example, the Dusun tribe produces rice wine that you can taste, Rungus tribe - is engaged in Bead Weaving. In the hut of the tribe of headhunters, they can shoot from the wind pipe, clean off the shaman with his aura, and make a temporary henna tattoo, and all presented in a very interesting and informative way.
The tours are conducted three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). If you choose the evening tour, it includes a visit to the huts, a show with traditional dancing and playing folk instruments - gongs, as well as dinner buffet (very modest). In the evening in the village, be careful of activated mosquitoes that are quite annoying. Bringing an insect repellent lotion and wearing long sleeves and pants are a must have! Nevertheless, the site is entertaining and still leaves a good impression to every guest who watched their performances. Book an excursion to the tribe of Mari Mari and meet with the DIKOR tribe and see the wild beauty of nature. This cultural tour is a must when in Kota Kinabalu.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is 15 minutes by boat from the port of Kota Kinabalu. The park consists of five islands, the largest of them is the island of Gaia (incidentally, the only one which opened three 5-star hotel, consisting entirely of villas). There are coral atolls everywhere and the underwater world begins within two meters from the shore. The other island is called Marine Park where you have to pay tax at the port of the ring like; for every 5 / person (about $ 1.5). On the islands you can hire flippers and a mask (for 5 RM), there are changing rooms with a combination lock, restaurant where you can eat, and a clean shower.
You can rent and put a mask and flippers and with a god guide swim and snorkel to see an unforgotten civilization, which is believed to have remained buried there somewhere in the ocean floor. Before that, you can also see starfish in all colors, from white to black, and see other marine wildlife like; barracudas, moray eels, groupers, stingrays, sharks, giant turtles and hundreds of other species. A trip to the islands of Tunku Rahman Abdul is one of the most impressive things to do in Malaysia.
The Sapi Island is small and just 15minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu, the ticket / return from the port costs 30RM and the boats depart frequently. When you arrive at your destination, if you want to escape the flood of Chinese tourists who likes staying on this island, go to the main beach, take a path (45 minutes) that crosses the island and arrive on a small stretch of sand that is secluded and it is impossible to go wrong, because you’ll find a deserted island and almost paradise like atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the thick crowds.
The island is pretty and the sea is not much and there are many boats that ply between the various islands of the archipelago. The island is also close to the beach called the Tanjung Aru Resort, a typical and tropical island in Southeast Asia that is very green with sandy beaches. The reef is not very well preserved because of the presence of many tourists. If you snorkel, there are fish and more present are the parrot fish and some barracuda. It is a good solution for a day trip. Beware when you’re in the jungle because along the paths there are lots of monitor lizards walking, definitely not wild, but not particularly domesticated.
Manukan Island is one of the largest groups of islands here in Kota Kinabalu. The main difference from the rest of the offshore islands is the availability of hotels along the shoreline and therefore tourists. The island has a large coastal line with good beaches and where most of them are equipped with cafes and diners. The best thing about the island is that it has a coastal walking track (lifting it slightly to the left of the center of the island, go on the path that leads through the jungle to the left side of the island). Actually this is the only difference between this tourist islands from the rest. It is the only island in the reserve, which has a walking track with complete infrastructure on which you can walk up to the big island.
If you have just come to rest, it is advisable to make this walk, the path leads through the jungle, from under the feet in different directions diverge local species of newts, unusual sounds of birds and some animals that gives the impression that you are in a real tropical jungle. The path from one end is approximately 2 - 2.5 km. Do not flatter yourself; you will be met at the end of a dead end, namely a small gazebo over the rocky cliff into the sea. If the weather is not rainy, a long walk will be a nice change in a series of continuous beach hopping, snorkeling, and nightlife in Kota Kinabalu.
The Mamutik Island is one of the best of the islands in terms of the quality of the sea. Not the beach itself but namely the sea (there is not much water sports activity on this part, no trash, and crowds). The orals begin a few meters from the beach and you can see a wide variety of fish, which, as usual, do not hesitate and ready to swim there and pose.
It is an ideal place for snorkeling, and you can do so in peace. In terms of service as well as all the other islands: they have the usual cafe, restaurant, buffet, rental of equipment for swimming and snorkeling, shower, toilet, and dressing room. If you don’t want to engage into any snorkeling activities, you can take lots of good pictures here, it has a good view of Borneo Island.
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center is exactly what to expect after reading the guide to many orangutans (at least, at feeding time) and attracts a lot of tourists. This is a great way to see the animals up close and help their recovery. It is one of the world’s largest orangutan sanctuaries. Tourists usually arrive by 9 am and there’s a little introductory meeting (in English), a short 20-minute video about the life of orangutans, and then a walk around the park accompanied by an instructor in a place they called "refectory" - at 10 am they show the procedure of feeding calves and lactating mothers .
The real show of the orangutans is entertaining and like being in a circus, kids will surely enjoy. This is certainly not the wildlife, but also not a zoo. At the center there is a small souvenir shop, information center, cafe (very modest) and luggage storage. After feeding, the orangutans go to their "home", and they are escorted by tourists as they walk along the path to the exit.
Tanjung Aru Perdana Park
The Tanjung Aru Perdana Park is a great recreational center for young children and their parents to visit early in the morning or in the evening. The park has three children's play area with slides, swings, and amusement rides. Children can play and ride there for a few hours. Next to it, there are a few restaurants with a light meal, grilled foods, and dessert. Adults are more likely to be interested in the evening show because aside from the singing/dancing fountains they sometimes pass on the weekend evening with live band or concert performances. In the morning and in the afternoon the park is almost empty. But in the evening it is filled with people, which, however, even on weekends does not interfere with the recreation center. If you are visiting Kota Kinabalu with your family be sure to visit this interesting park.
Kota Kinabalu is an ideal holiday destination in Malaysia that pretty has much everything that a curious traveler wants to explore. Island, hopping, swimming at the beach, getting to know the protected wildlife (monitor lizards, orangutans, etc.), visit to a sacred mosque, and spending a leisurely time along the parks are just a few of the adventures to discover in this marvelous island. Kota Kinabalu is indeed worth knowing and exploring when in Malaysia.
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