There are a number of travel companies in KK that can arrange tours.  Most of the major hotels have travel desks and there are various offices around the city.  Here are some suggestions for organised and on-your-own options of what to do on your trip to KK:

On your own tours

Eco tours 

(Sabah is home to the Borneo Top Ten - Orang Utans, Proboscis monkeys, Turtles, Elephants  - Make an effort to see them all)

  • Rock climbing, outdoor and indoor


Cultural tours

  • Monsopiad Village                                                                     More info Below

Markets & Shopping

  • Gaya Street Market (sunday)                                                 More info Below
  • Kota Belud Market
  • Tuaran Market ( Sunday)                                                 More info Below

Organised tours


  • City Tour day and night
  • Kudat & Rungus culture
  • Mount Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot springs
  • Sandakan and Sepilok Orang Utan Sancturary
  • Klias Wetlands River Safari
  • Many other variations including various combinations of the attractions listed as on your own.
  • Join a Kota Kinabalu (KK)  half day tour to get an idea of what’s around town.  There is also an evening tour that usually includes dinner and a cultural show, which stops at one or two night markets before taking you to the restaurant.  To avoid surprises make sure you ask which restaurant and what they serve.  Shark fin soup, Humphead wrasse and giant clams are all technically protected but are on the menu at some restaurants.

KK from Signal Hill
  • There are five islands in the nearby  Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park,reachable from Jessleton Point, the city's public harbour, Sutera Harbour Resort's Marina or from the jetty at the Shangri La's Tanjung Aru Resort.  It's easy to get to the departure points which have regular departures. There are good beaches, snorkeling and an assortment of other water sports.  Manukan and Sapi are most developed and feature daily BBQ Buffet lunches.  Gaya is the biggest with a stilted eco-resort on the one side and the deserted Police Beach with unspoiled coral on the other.  Sulug and Mamutik is also virtually deserted with nothing but beach and coral. 

A good short trip is to the Monsopiad Villageto learn about the Kadazan Dusan headhunters and to see some local culture.

Cultural Dancer
  • Poring Hot Springsand the canopy walk is about two and half hours drive from Kota Kinabalu, Poring Hot Springs features hot springs dotted between cold rock pools, a tiered swimming pool with a simple slide, in-door, private hot tubs and a pretty decent restaurant.  They have an approximately 2km circuit trail with the canopy walk in the middle, which is a 30 to 40 minutes well spent. 
  • Kinabalu Park can be visited on the Same trip as Poring Hot Springs.  You will see some of the environment , plants and animals of the world heritage listed park.
Part Trial
  • A day trip to Sandakan and Sepilok Orang Utan Sancturaryis a long day.  You leave on an early morning flight from KKIA, do a day tour in Sandakan and fly back the evening.  Many companies have this tour on their list as it's very popular due to Sepilok.  Visit the English Tea House, the Buddist Temple and various other attractions in Sandakan.  For an overnight stay, you can also visit Turtle Island and virtually every night see the turtles come ashore to lay eggs.
  • Klias Wetlands River Safari is an great trip.  You will see several species of monkey including the Proboscis along with other birds and wild life unique to the region. On your return journey,  towards evening, you will enjoy nature's fireworks when the fireflies come out to play. 
Klias Wetlands
  • Lok Kawi Wildlife Park- Located about 25 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu, the park is a combination of a zoo and a botanical garden. Sprawled over 280 acres of land, it is developed and managed jointly by the Sabah Wildlife and Forestry Departments. RM$20.00 per adult (Sept 08). Featuring the orang- utans, bats, snakes and eagles are put under the forest canopy zone while large animals such as sun bears and elephants are put under the forest floor zone. Gibbons, turtles, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and snakes are all located at the water and water edge zone.

    Other animals include tigers, mouse deer, barking deer, ostriches, various species of birds and a Sumatran rhinoceros.

  • Go see the orang u tans at the smaller sanctuary at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort (don't leave the orang u tans to quickly).  Open to non-guests, entry is RM 65 per adult and features two feedings per day.  Be sure to book in advance as it's a very popular attraction.  You can only book less than 72 hours in advance with Rasia Ria and the booking can be made via email.  There is an air conditioned big shuttle bus organised by the hotel from Centre Point mall to Rasa Ria and the cost is RMB20 per person one way which makes it a cheaper alternative than taking a cab.   
Beach at Rasa Ria
  • Walk around Sinsuran, located outside and next to the Centrepoint,  and Segama located across the road from the Hyatt.  These are not shopping centres but strip collections of shop lots. You can find all sorts of cheap stuff and experience the local atmosphere.
  • Visit the Centrepoint Shopping Centre, KK Plaza, Wisma Wawasan,  Wisma Merdeka and Warisan Plaza shopping centers dotted around KK.   The new hypermall at 1 Borneo is about a 20 minute taxi ride from the city.  There is also a free shuttle bus which departs every half hour from KK to 1 Borneo so you don't even need to take a cab.

       - > Try the wide variety of eating places in and around KK.

  • If you stay at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Resort, there are two seafood restaurants and a number of local restaurants a short taxi trip away. 


  • Every Sunday morning Kota Kinabalu's oldest street, Gaya Street, is closed off to traffic and opened up to everyone and their friends from the region who have something to sell.  The Gaya Street Sunday Market is small but relatively interesting. It starts early morning and rounds up around 12:30pm.  Other than what you can buy, it's also about what you can see, hear, smell,  taste and who you can meet.
  • Go to Tuaran Town about about 40 minutes north of KK and close to the Rasa Ria to get a look at a large regional centre. There is a good Sunday Market  and a reasonable size supermarket called the Tuaran Super Store, along with assorted coffee houses, cafes and  a variety of other shops.

  • Visit the nearby water village at Mengkabong.
  • The North Borneo Railway  runs every Wednesday and Saturday.  Starting at the  Tanjung Aru Train Station, it slowly winds it's way past local houses, mangrove swamps and padi fields with buffalo and along the beach.  It briefly stops at the colourful Buddist Temple in Kinarut, before continuing on towards Papar which is described as the Rice Bowl of the region.  In Papar, usually there is a busy market, not so different from markets elsewhere.  Some time is spent here before the train returns.  A light lunch is served on the train in a Tiffin Box.  Drinks can be bought  throughout the journey.  Not very exciting but it is interesting.  
  • The normal commuter train to Beaufort and then up the Padas Gorge to Tenom is very interesting.  The train follows the Padas River where white water rafting is held and the State Agricultural Park is near Tenom.  You will also get a chance to meet the locals travelling on the train.
  • If you want real adventure, do a train trip on the public train (not the North Borneo Railway) to Tenom to really see local life and visit Sabah Agricultural Park  (it is a long hot day but a great experience). 
  • For a light morning away from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the orchid farm. this is found to be a relaxing retreat filled with fascinating facts about the rare orchid. You are taken around the farm by a qualified and trained person who knows more than there is to know about Orchids.  A day out certainly not to be missed.