Kota Kinabalu questions – Sabahans please help

Any Sabahan can tell me?

1) From the city centre, how to get to the foothill of Mount Kinabalu?
2) If we are not climbing Mt. Kinabalu, is it worth a trip there, to the foot hills?

3) Foods – What should we look for?
4) Places of interest – What are the places we shouldn’t miss when in KK. With small kids so nothing too adventurous.

5) Driving – We are planning a self-drive trip, the road ok?
6) Islands – Which is the nearest island from KK?

Quick, tell me like, NOW? Cos I am leaving Thursday morning.

24 thoughts on “Kota Kinabalu questions – Sabahans please help

  1. 1)can’t quite answer as I’ve only personally driven twice, every other time i was driven by someone else. Can’t quite point out the names of the roads though i think there are roadsigns.
    2)Kundasang is definitely worth a visit.


    5)Roads are fine, most of the time.
    6)Off the top of my head, Manukan Island.

  2. from kk town its probably an hour plus drive to the foothills… i think ..went back about a year ago.. at that level, there is the hot springs nearby.. not that nice la… n with the rainy weather i wud not recomend it..

    id suggest u go to the islands.. it depends where in kk ur staying.. take a cab to the jetty area and there are loads of tour operators with trips and packages there for your picking..you could do the island hoppin or just chill on one island..

    food… hmmmseafood ofcourse.. there is this famous place near the marina condo.. also the filipina market is kinda a tourist attraction thou i have never been. if u wanna get out of town, rasa ria resort in tuaran or kerambunai is good fun too..in the city u have the sutra harbour or shangrila..
    if ur in kk on sunday..there is a market on gaya street..somethin like a kl’s pasar malam la.. but more exotic..i think…

    in kundasang, u cud get fresh veggies n flowers.. its like a cleaner untouched version of genting..

    do visit the sacred heart cathedral in kk..its one of my most fav churches in kk.. esp cos of the startion of the cross sculptors all ard it..

    hope this helps..

  3. waa. I’ve been to Sabah once to visit my sister.. Islands are so near lah. Just go to jetty and take the boat (hope ur not seasick) to the islands. One day only I already visited 3 islands. wakaka. Everything in the island is expensive though. I had a coconut for RM10! wakaka.

    But yeah, I don’t really know where to recommend cos I’m not from there, and half the time when I was there, I was in places with wi-fi so that I can update my blog 😛 Should go Kuching lah. haha.

  4. 1) The road to National park is call KK-Ranau..if u dont plan to climb the mountain, u can take as many pix as u can at the foothill..or u should go at least to the waterfall..everything is beautiful there..:) u can visit kundasang and go to Pine Resort..there u can take Mount Kinabalu pix..and dont forget to go Ranau Hot Spring ..or Karambunai!

    2) Foods are almost the same..but u can try Hinava or Bambangan..its quite nice..or if u want to try some fruit, u can ask for tarap.

    3) If u plan to drive to Ranau or Mount Kinabalu..u have to drive very careful because its no highway over there..jalan pusing2..hehe if ur kids have car sick..bring banyak2 plastic..in case they wanna vomit..city road is ok

    4) In kk..go to Tanjung aru Beach..u should try the Grilled chicken wing…sedap oh!! and very cheap too!!

    5)the nearest island is Manukan..but the most beautiful one is sipadan..but far a bit lah!!

    Enjoy ur trip there..anything just email me..

  5. if u have a night to spare, u can rent a car (advisable, and roads are easy to drive and navigate). drive up to tip of borneo, northen tip of kudat. prob about 3-4 hrs drive. u’ll pass by mount k base camp on a short detour.

    along the way, about 1 hour from tip of borneo, there are a few homestay that you can bunk into, as a family. they’ll cook and perform traditional dance for u group at night and enjoy the experience of sleeping in a long house. much cleaner of course, minusing the babi running between the stilts. temperature can be quite cold.

    wander around the homstay in the morning, ponds and farms and etc. check out, and head for tip of borneo. as the name suggests, it’s the most utara tip of the land. the seaside is spectacular there.

    on the way back, u can drop by poring hot spring or a hotel in rasa ria, which has a orang utan sactuary. guaranteed to see a few during feeding time.

    then head back to town for a relax evening on manukan island. u can rent chalet there as well. snorkling is best-est!

    i miss sabah.

    email me if u need more details or photos

  6. My take:
    1) Drive towards University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) until you reach Indah Permai’s traffic light. Turn left. Head towards Salut Restaurant road (but you’ll pass the restaurant), pass a long bridge, and just drive until you reach Tuaran-Kota Belud road. Turn right. Then drive until you reach a roundabout, which you turn left to head towards Tamparuli, and from there, you can just drive (without anymore turns) all the way to Kundasang (where Mt. Kinabalu is).

    2) Yes, definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not climbing the mountain. To see the highest mountain in S.E.Asia so close is quite a cool thing, if you’re lucky and have a very clear weather that is! So get your camera ready even along the way!

    3) Food – on the way back to KK (using the same road as mentioned above), you should stop by either Salut Seafood restaurant, or the Gayang Seafood restaurant. Sabah is all about seafood! Also, try not to eat seafood in KK city itself; very expensive. Oh, and you should eat the local veggie, sayur manis, cooked either with garlic or with belacan. Yummy! 😉

    4) Places of interest: Monsopiad Cultural Village, or Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to check out the orang utans, the proboscis monkeys and the sun bear, or Tanjung Aru Beach, or Menara Tun Mustapha (you can have a drink here at @mosphere, 18th Floor and enjoy the 360 degree view of Sabah sea and islands). And if you’re still around on Sunday morning, then you should check out the Gaya Street Fair too.

    5) Yes the road is ok. If you can’t find the destination you’re looking for, then you can ask pretty much anyone you see. Also be careful on the roundabouts in KK; some of the drivers don’t use the signal lights, so you have to have 6th sense if a car is turning lol..

    6) Islands – The Tunku Abdul Rahman islands. You can have lunch at the Manukan island, though it’s a bit pricey. Sapi Island is okay to check out as well.

    Hope this helps Lilian! 🙂

  7. I answer no. 4 and 5

    You can try whitewater rafting. Nope it’s not dangerous. You can choose level 1..the easiest one. I’ve just been to KK early this year…climbed the mountain, went whitewater rafting, snorkel, makan-makan. When I was doing the whitewater at Kiulu River, there are even kids doing it with their parents of course. It’s a lifetime experience. Try it.

    As for driving, we actually walk to all the places in KK town. We live in the heart of the city and everything is so near. The town is quite small and if you don’t like walking, then driving it is.

  8. Haiyah.. you should come to Kuching. I have a week holiday. I can always drive you around. But Sabah is my next holiday destination too after my Shanghai trip. Hope to read about your trip soon.

  9. never been there, but i hav frens who came back from Mt KK and talked bout their trip

    dun recall much except for this long nose monkey

    nose that looks like a penis 😛

  10. If you want sea and hot sun, go for Island trips. One warning, most Island motel desalination system are out of order. Check out the taste of the pipe water before you decide to book you stay on the Island.

    If you want cooling relax, go for mountain. Kundasang are similar to Cameron highland, minus the humidity of Cameron. In Kindasang, it is pleasant to take a walk to the market, you feel nothing even if you walk 3-5km. And rent a car.

  11. 1) Ask taxi lou.
    2) For me still worth, cus you need stamina b4 climb tat mount, at least jog a month b4 u go, LOL
    3) Seafood’s & kelapa bakar.
    4) Island MUST go.. or Sutera harbour resort ( PLS don’t waste $ for shopping )
    5) Remember rent 4wd, the road like sitting boat in the sea.
    6) I suggest Mabul Island, Mata King, Sipadan & Kapalai.

    Happy trip =)

  12. wuah, u wanna climb mount kinabalu arr? i heard its tough! but then i heard u can hire some ppl to carry things for u.. so if u really am tired, still can get them to carry u.. but i guess that’ll be funny..! but scenery up there is really cun! have fun ya!

  13. Ooops, I missed this! Anyway … my friend tells me to try seafood. And also this Little Italy restaurant that he has always been praising.

    Oh, don’t forget the dried seafoods and stuffs like that for souvenir, at least that was what I was told 🙂

  14. Alamak missed this post. Coming from JACQ blog. So you must be in the flight or landed already I guessed. 🙁

    I hope you bring your laptop or in the cyber cafe or something. Just comment on our blog if you need direction. JACQ is the best person to help you. She moves around a lot in KK.

    and NO, you do not have to drive 4WD in KK. In fact, Kancil also can here. Kota Kinabalu does not have bad roads. Outside KK, yes I agree. But going to foothill of SEA highest mountain can be reached even with Kancil. Unless you plan to join the Borneo Safari, but I see you not. Bring your family to the seafood restaurants as JACQ mentioned. Island, of coz Taman tunku Abdul Rahman Islands. Manukan, Mamutik and Pulau Sapi. All can be seen from the Sutera harbour Resort.

    Hope your journey, outings, holiday as fun as you expected. 🙂

  15. hi Lilian,

    I also missed this post but i am sure you will have your laptop with you.

    1.) Are you sure of self drive?- just follow Jacq’s direction. Road towards Tuaran are undergoing some resurfacing.

    2. ) Of course it worth, i never climb the mountain but i got there 2-3 times a year..go up to mesilou nature resort.nice view…but go early in the morning. i made few mistakes in the past of going in the afternoon. go by 7am and you will (90%) see the mountain. by 11am, it will be cloudy. Along the way, stop to buy some souvenir and nice hill rice.

    3. Food- many places actually, may be you won’t have enough time.

    Personally i think Gayang is better than Salut but if you want a place nearer in KK, go to OCEAN seafood restaurant,next to PROMENADE hotel, or GRAND PORT VIEW at the Waterfront.

    4. We have visitor every year and our must go places:

    Mesilou nature resort- stay a nite
    Manukan Island- Snorkeling
    Signal Hill- You can have a nice view of KK from here
    Gaya Street – Sunday morning
    Tg. Aru Beach for Teh Tarik /Coconut Drink while watching the sun set

    Hope that helps

  16. My favourite food when I go back is Mee Tuaran and Rojak (Different but rare-only certain place has)
    ‘Rojak’ is mee in satay gravy with chicken slices, boiled egg, tauge and taukua. almost like jawa mee.

    Dont be suprised with eating out cost around kk, its not as cheap as penang and very very rare you can find foodcourt where you can find many types in one place. usually the kopitiam has one or 2 specialty at a time.

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