Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the
State Sabah, known by the locals as KK, is situated by the sea, against the
backdrop of the majestic Mount Kinabalu and within easy reach of the mountainous
inlands. Kota Kinabalu is a city of exciting contrasts as a result of a
combination of ethnic group diversity. People of modern day Sabah are composed
of 32 different ethnic tribes, ranging from Sea gypsies in the east coast to the
isolated inland up river communities. The seriously commitment to religious
plurality and economic equality has brought Malaysian enduring harmony and peace
in this multicultural society.
The state capital is a classically culturally diverse Malay city, tightly packed
streets of cafes (kedai kopi) and small private stores in its centre, more
recently flash shopping centres have sprung up all over the place. Major
shopping malls are located along the main artery of
Kota Kinabalu, and you find
just about anything from branded goods to local handicraft.
Kota Kinabalu has many places of interest. It is a city popular
foreigners and locals. The Tunku Abdul
Rahman Park, adjacent to the city is one of the top tourist
destination, perfect for relaxing, snorkelling and a wide variety of
For a view of Kota Kinabalu city and harbour, head for the
observation point on Signal Hill (Bukit Bendera). If you decide
to walk (which will take approximately
15 - 20 minutes from downtown) rather than taking a taxi, there's a
shortcut up the hill beside the old Clock Tower, just beyond the Police
Station. The Sabah Foundation Building is a unique
30-storey building (it is a circular structure supported by high tensile
steel rods, an architectural and engineering marvel. Scroll down for a
picture of this building.
There are only
four such buildings in the world. It is Sabah’s highest tower). The State Mosque, resplendent with its majestic
domes and golden motifs is the central place of worship for Muslim
of Kota Kinabalu.
The Sunday Gaya
Street Fair is held
every Sunday on Signal Hill. This is a boisterous open-air market and the ‘Pasar
Malam’ (night market), where you can polish up your bargaining skills. Jalan
Gaya is situated in the Eastern edge of Kota Kinabalu old quarter of town.
The Central Market has two sections:
1) the waterfront area for fish and an area in front of the harbor for fruit and
2) next to the main market on the waterfront is a market known locally as the
Filipino Market, where the stalls are owned by Filipinos who sell a wide variety
Originally named Bond Street, Gaya Street
is located in the Kota Kinabalu Central Business District.
It has been the centre of business for over a hundred years. The wooden shops with nipah roofs are long gone, but here is where generations-old family businesses are still thriving passed down from father to son.
Every Sunday morning, the length of Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Fair. Shop for anything under shady trees and over-sized umbrellas, like batik sarongs, fruits and flowers, arts and craft, footwear, antiques and souvenirs, cakes, even pets and herbs! This is the best place to experience the cross-section of the local population when entire families enjoy a Sunday outing.
The beautiful Gaya Street Fair is on every Sunday from 6.30 am to
Tanjung Aru Beach is located at the end of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and about 6 kilometres from KK City, this place is closest to the hearts of the locals, and just one visit to the beach will tell you why. Taking its name from the casuarinas or aru trees that fringe the fine sands, this is where one might get a ringside seat to the greatest sunset on earth every evening when the crimson sun dips slowly into the horizon, leaving the vast skies a brilliant red..
Foodstalls serving local food and drinks are open till late at night. Enjoy coconut and sugarcane juice, chicken or beef
sate and steamed peanuts and corn, or indulge in a full-course dinner at the seafood restaurant located there.
The Tanjung Aru beach is also home to Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort, the Kinabalu Golf Club and the Kinabalu Yacht Club.