Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. Photo by Flanegan.

Formerly known as Jesselton and today tenderly called KK or Api Api by the locals, the capital city of Sabah is located on the northwest coast of Borneo. Facing the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu is set next to the majestic Mount Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu’s international airport is conveniently located only eight kilometers southwest of the city centre, close to the city’s main beach — Tanjung Aru. The fact that KK’s airport is the second-busiest Malaysian airport after Kuala Lumpur says it all.

Kota Kinabalu is not only a gateway to many natural wonders of Sabah, but also the perfect place to spend a couple of days recharging batteries before heading out toward new adventures. The city itself has very few attractions to keep you busy, but its proximity to the beaches, islands, rainforests and nearby Mount Kinabalu makes it the cat’s pyjamas for backpackers – despite the number of people dragging suitcases around town.

Plus, if you have been away from home for a while and feel like you need some Western fixes (real bread and proper oven baked pizza are always appreciated), you will certainly find them in Kota Kinabalu.

The city can get very busy and hectic; prices are rather high. Very few things come for free. But yet again, there is a way…why not to try camping on one of the close islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, watching sunsets and eating cheap seafood on Tanjung Aru Beach, or take an early morning stroll through the Gaya Street Sunday Market.