Malaysia – Kota Kinabalu

by britishmisk


From Kuching we took another Air Asia flight to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah state on the east side of Malaysian Borneo. On the first full day we decided to explore the main city and eventually found there isn’t much going on during the day. There’s also very little in the way of sights and historical places to visit. My advice would be if you’re around during the day, don’t bother with the city itself, go to the jetty and head out to the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, the name is a little misleading when thinking about national parks in Malaysia, as this isn’t a rainforest but is made up of a group of islands. We unfortunately missed out on the park as we spent the first day trying to see the city only to realise, as I already mentioned, there wasn’t much to see. We took a taxi to the main city mosque on the eastern side and were hoping to visit the bird park which the Lonely Planet guide mentioned was near it, but the taxi drivers hanging around said it was a car journey away, whether they were being truthful or not I wasn’t sure, instead we headed back to the hotel and came back to the city in the evening when the night market is on. The night market, more so the food side, makes up for what KK has missing during the day. Similar to what we had in Kuching you can pick fresh fish and have it cooked how you want. There’s a variety of different fish for sale in general, and it does what most markets do best in allowing you take in some weird and wonderful sounds and smells.

The next day we went out to Mount Kinabalu National Park, the main attraction Sabah state. The park hosts South-East Asia’s tallest mountain, to ascend to the top is a two day journey and is quite gruelling but doable by most people in decent health (have a google to get an idea). Looking at some of the trips offered by numerous tour groups I was under the assumption you get take a trip up part of the mountain in a day and get back, so after having visited park headquarters and picked up a map we headed on some of the trails but eventually found they are based more or less around the park headquarters, none of them offered the tame ascent I was looking for. My advice would be if you do decide to visit Kinabalu Park consider going with a tour operator, they can show you the best parts of what we missed out on, and also give you transportation there and back. We made the choice to head out there on our own, and it took a while to find at least two other people to share a taxi with us back to KK.

And that was pretty much our time in Kota Kinabalu, most of it in summary was me misplanning everything. From the hotel being way out of the city, to missing out on Tunku Abdul Rahman, and not bothering to climb Mount Kinabalu. I suppose my main bit advice would be not to make the same mistakes I did. From KK we made our way to Singapore which would be the last part of trip and that is to follow in the next piece God willing.