8 Best Kota Kinabalu Attractions to Visit in 2024

Nestled amidst verdant landscapes and towering mountains, Kota Kinabalu emerges as an ideal destination for a serene vacation. Whether you crave suburban tranquility or the vibrant energy of Kota Kinabalu attractions promise a range of experiences just waiting for you to explore.

Kota Kinabalu Attractions

Kota Kinabalu town attractions

Kota Kinabalu, affectionately known as KK, has become a popular tourist hotspot, steadily gaining more popularity. The city is renowned for its breathtaking waterfronts and verdant scenery. Additionally, KK serves as a vibrant hub for arts, culture, and bustling markets.

Kota Kinabalu Attractions: Places to Visit

Don’t miss out on these Kota Kinabalu attractions when you’re in town.

1. Kokol Hill Elf

cheap things to do in kota kinabalu

Exploring Kokol Hill Elf is a no-brainer if you’re after cheap things to do in Kota Kinabalu.

Envision yourself on a hammock, swaying gently on the hillside, with a breathtaking view of KK in the background. This locale is a favorite among locals for its diverse attractions, making it an ideal hangout spot.

One intriguing highlight is the Sunset Catcher—a chair shaped like a bird’s nest that provides an unparalleled view of the sunset in Le’One. Plan your visit during dusk to witness the mesmerizing sunset and seize the perfect moment on the hammock.

Where: Jalan Kokol, Menggatal, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 9 AM to 7.30 PM
Admission Fee: RM 120 (USD 25.05)

2. Tanjung Aru Beach

Tanjung Aru Beach

Before you head back, ensure to experience the enchanting sunset and savor the refreshing sea breeze at Tanjung Aru Beach, which stands out as the most cherished beach in KK. This beach offers spectacular views and is surrounded by alluring food stalls.

While you immerse yourself in the scenery, indulge your taste buds in delectable local dishes. The sand is soft, and the area is perfect for a gentle stroll. It is among the best Kota Kinabalu attractions for kids as they can freely run around and have some fun.

However, it’s crucial to be aware that the water might not be as pristine as that in the Shang Ri La Tanjung Aru area, as drain water is directed here. Hence, consider refraining from swimming unless you’re comfortable with water that may not be crystal clear—unless, of course, your skin is resilient enough to handle it.

Where: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 24-hours.
Admission Fee: Free

3. Poring Hot Springs

hidden gems in kota kinabalu

Just a brief 35-kilometer journey from Luanti, Poring Hot Spring distinguishes itself with its extraordinary natural hot springs. Enriched with sulfur minerals, these thermal springs offer a rejuvenating sensation to all who immerse themselves in their warmth.

But there’s more to discover at Poring Hot Spring. Explore Bat Cave and marvel at the beauty of Kipungit Waterfall. For those intrigued by orchids, the orchid preservation center is a must-visit, representing one of Kota Kinabalu’s hidden gems in Kota Kinabalu worth visiting.

Where: Kinabalu Park, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 8 AM to 5 PM
Admission Fee: RM 50 (USD 10.47) for adults, RM 25 (USD 5.23) for kids.

Read More: Setting the Stage for Your Kuala Lumpur Airport Experience!

4. Night Food Market

outdoor attractions in Kota Kinabalu

KK is renowned for its fresh sea goodies, but for the ultimate seafood experience, the Waterfront Seafood Night Market is a must-visit. It’s the perfect destination for those seeking outdoor attractions in Kota Kinabalu.

Bring your family and indulge in a feast of freshly cooked seafood customized to suit your taste buds. Simply choose your favorites, and the amiable vendors will prepare them for you. After savoring the delectable seafood, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the vibrant market.

Where: Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 4 AM to 11 PM
Admission Fee: Free

5. Gaya Street Sunday Market

Kota Kinabalu's main attractions

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Tamu Gaya, a bustling Sunday market located along the lively Gaya Street in KK. This market is an ideal weekend destination for those in search of a delightful shopping spree. It showcases a diverse array of goods, ranging from souvenirs and mouth-watering local delicacies to stylish clothing and more.

For a more tranquil shopping experience, consider visiting before 8 a.m. when the market is just coming to life. Early morning shoppers can explore the market at a leisurely pace, allowing ample time to browse and discover unique finds at their own pace.

Where: Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Every Sunday, 7 AM to 1 PM
Admission Fee: Free

6. Mari Mari Cultural Village

top tourist attractions in Kota Kinabalu

Explore the diverse ethnicity of KK by paying a visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kampung Kionsom, Inanam. This living museum guarantees an engaging experience, highlighting the distinctiveness of five major ethnic houses in Sabah, including Kadazan Dusun, Rungus, and Bajau.

Notably, the Bajau tribal house encourages active participation through hands-on activities and live demonstrations, offering valuable insights into the traditions of the Asal tribe. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in authentic Bajau ethnic dishes such as net cakes (kuih jala) and pandan tea.

Where: Jalan Kiansom, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 6 PM
Admission Fee: RM 100 (USD 20.88)

7. Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

attractions at kota kinabalu

The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque occupies the second position among the most visited tourist attractions in Kota Kinabalu, surpassed only by Tanjung Aru Beach. Bearing a striking resemblance to the renowned Masjid al-Haram, this mosque can accommodate up to 12,000 worshippers, providing abundant space for prayers.

Beyond its religious importance, the mosque functions as a serene haven for families exploring KK. It is essential to take a moment to admire the mosque’s beauty instead of merely passing by, ensuring that this architectural gem does not go unnoticed.

Where: Jalan Pasir, Teluk Likas, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 5 AM to 10 PM
Admission Fee: Free

8. Imago Shopping Mall

places to visit in kota kinabalu

Among the many places to visit in Kota Kinabalu, Imago stands out as the most popular choice among the locals. This upscale shopping destination has become the go-to place for many seeking a touch of luxury. 

Imago is a treasure trove offering a variety of experiences, from a diverse selection of restaurants to exclusive boutiques featuring branded clothing and even cinemas for entertainment.

Where: Jalan Tiung Phase 2, Off Coastal Highway, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Opening Days and Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 10 PM
Admission Fee: Free

Traveling Tips

Kota Kinabalu town attractions

To truly immerse yourself in the charm of Kota Kinabalu’s town attractions, consider the following guide:

  1. It is recommended to plan a stay of 5 to 6 days.
  2. For a quieter experience away from the hustle and bustle of crowds, the optimal time to visit the top tourist attractions in Kota Kinabalu is from May to November. However, be aware that this period coincides with the rainy season, so anticipate occasional heavy downpours that may impact your sightseeing plans.
  3. On the contrary, the driest and most popular time to visit KK is from January to April. During this period, the weather conditions are favorable for your adventures in the city.

There you have it – our top picks for Kota Kinabalu attractions, offering the best of Malaysia. For seamless hotel and flight bookings, trust Airpaz. Your gateway to the next adventure starts here!


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