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10 Top Reasons to Visit Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo

woman holding cocktail at the private beach bar Shangrila Tanjung Kota Kinabalu Malaysia

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Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the Sabah state of Borneo, Malaysia, and the gateway to this enchanting jungle paradise.

It’s known for its beaches, its rainforests, its close proximity to Mount Kinabalu, and protected coral reefs.

A mojito cheers to Sabah!

Most people often land in Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it’s often referred to, and then immediately leave to explore the jungles or Kinabalu Park.

But we urge you to stay in the city for a few days before rushing off to be enchanted by Sabah. Why? Here are 10 reasons to visit Kota Kinabalu as a destination in itself, and not as a gateway…

10 Reasons to Visit Kota Kinabalu

If you’re thinking about jetting off to the mysterious land of Borneo but are on the fence about visiting Kota Kinabalu for a few days first, here are all the reasons to add it to your itinerary.

1. To see the Mari Mari Cultural Village

people preparing food on table

The Mari Mari Village is possibly the best reason to visit Kota Kinabalu because it offers visitors the chance to see how the land’s ancestors used to live.

The Mari Mari Village showcases how five tribes used to live, showing tourists traditional hunting techniques using the Murut blowpipe, as well as showing their traditional dress, fire-making skills, and ways of cooking.

You get a really immersive experience and an authentic insight into the jungle tribes of Borneo. The village is all about preserving its culture and heritage – as it was, is as it is.

Learn about the tribe’s myths and legends, hear stories, and take part in the experience. This is one trip into the jungle you’ll never forget.

2. It’s the Gateway to Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu

Nature landscape at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia
Nature landscape at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia

Kinabalu Park is most famous for being the home to the highest mountain in Borneo and even Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu. 

Standing tall at 4095 meters high, many visitors come to Kota Kinabulu to hike this monumental landmark. 

Hiking to the top of the mountain is not considered difficult but it does require you to have a good level of fitness because of the altitude. 

From the summit, the views are incredible. You can see as far as Kota Kinabalu on a clear day (despite it being 86 km away) and the rocky peaks are a marvel to witness in themselves.

If you want to hike Mount Kinabalu, we recommend you book a tour as there are some…

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