Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia)

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Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia)

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Review of "Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia)"

published 10/03/2006 | divemistress
Member since : 28/11/2005
Reviews : 1
Members who trust : 1
About me :
Pro beautiful weather all year round, friendly people, excellent value for money
Cons some dodgy areas after dark, not big enough!:)
very helpful
Value for Money
Ease of getting around

"my favourite place"

Kota Kinabalu (KK)

A fantastic destination for holidayers, backpackers, honeymooners, anyone who likes a relaxing time in the sun. I spent 8 months here during my GAP year and I'll be returning as soon as I can!

How to get there:
Kota Kinabalu International airport is 10 mins outside of KK and can be reached by Malaysia Airlines, Brunei Airlines and many more, from London it takes around 15 hours with one stop over in either Kuala Lumpur or Dubai, sometimes other places depending on the airline. Can cost anything from £350 to £900 depending on airline and season.

Where to stay:
KK has a huge variety of places to stay from 5 star hotels to backpackers hostels. Some of the better ones are North Borneo Cabins, Backpackers Lodge and Lucy's, with prices from RM20 - about 3 quid - per night, this usually includes a room in a dorm with a fan or air-con, communal bathrooms and breakfast, most have communal TV rooms too. This might sound cheap but there aren't privacy issues and they are great places to meet people, especially travellers, and are situated in the heart of town close to everything.
The Sutera Harbour is 2 hotels: the Pacific Sutera and the Magellen, both gorgeous hotels where prices vary from 60 quid upwards, but both have great facilities eg pools, saunas, health clubs, a golf course, water sports, really nice service too, and its close to town.
I would reccommened the Kinabalu Daya Hotel to everyone - rooms are £15 and up and they are really good sized rooms, no pool but it's in the heart of town, clean, has 2 bars, one of which is on the street with good prices and good opportunities to people-watch - it's also where all the scuba divers go for a drink after the days' diving!

What to do in KK!

KK is a small town but has loads to do - it has 3 main shopping centres, namely Centrepoint, which includes a bowling alley and cinema with at least 5 screens, and holds events there too. The others are KK plaza which has a supermarket underneath, and Wisma Merdeka which has a huge eating stalls on the 3rd floor, really good local and chinese food.

There is also the market situated on the waterfront which is great for fresh fruit and veg and has another market upstairs where you can cargain for gorgeous sarongs! Walk towards the sea from here and you'll find yourself in the fish market which is awesome, you will find fish of every variety, some crabs still crawling around!
Sunday is market day and Gaya street is closed to cars, here you can find everything from local produce to puppies!

The nightlife in KK is great. Every major hotel has a club attached to it and here is where you will spend the most money - eating out costs about 50p but alcohol is expensive. Each club also has a house band who play 6 nights a week which is really good fun! The best clubs are The Beach Club which is on the waterfront, Shennanigans which is below the Hyatt Hotel, and Swingers, found on the 1st floor of the Tang Dynasty Hotel. Clubs close arouns 2.30am. There are also lots of pubs and bars, most of which are on the waterfront, and here you can also find places to eat local food.

If you want to eat out, local food is nasi ayam - chicken rice, nasi goreng - fried rice, and roti canai - bread with curry sauce. Prices range from 50p to £2. You can also find international cuisine such as Indian and Italian food - check out Little Italy which is opposite Wisma Merdeka!

Day trips:
The Tunkul Abdul Rahman National Park is a group of 5 islands off the coast of KK which is frequented by tourists and locals, boats leave every 15 minutes or as soon as one fills up and its about £3 return. The islands are Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug. The most popular are Mamutik, Sapi and Manukan as these all have facilities such as restuarants, toilets and most offer watersports like banana boats and parasailing, also scuba diving is hugely popular and I've done the best diving around this area.

Mount Kinabalu is supposed to be the easiest mountain in Asia to climb! It's around 4000m high and takes 2 days to climb - set off in the afternoon and climb most of the way, then sleep, wake up and climb in time to see sunrise at the peak. It is a fantastic experience, however it's reccomended that you train a ltitle first otherwise your legs will be very painful!

White water rafting is popular as there are 2 rivers graded differently so you can take the kids on one, or go on the other for a bit more excitment. These day trips are a lot of fun - you get picked up from the hotel, drive to the train station, take the steam train to the river, then raft down and have a bbq before heading home! It's adrenaline-filled and it excellent fun, the rafters are very professional and there are also safety kayakers in case you fall out and need pulling back to the raft!

Scuba diving is a great way to see the reefs here and is really good fun, there are around 20 dive sites which can be enjoyed by experienced divers, and its a great place to learn as the waters are so calm here. It's also good value for money as there are a lot of dive centres all competing.

Out of KK, must-do trips include Sepilok, the orangutang sanctury, Sipadan Island for scuba divers, the crocodile farm, and much more.

Other Info:
Malaysia is 8 hours ahead of GMT. Currency is the ringgit, which is usually about 1 pound to RM6.70. Language spoken is Bahasa Malayu but a lot of people speak English, and are really happy to speak English to you. Even so, try out a few phrases such as 'selamat pagi! which means good morning, and 'apa khabar!' which means how are you, and 'bagus!' - good!

Basically KK is a growing and bustlign city which is always sunny and really good fun, with a really laid-back tone. The people are really friendly and it's a great place to relax.

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Comments on this review

  • supercityfan published 10/03/2006
    Very good review. Sounds like a great place.
  • torr published 10/03/2006
    Welcome to Ciao. Good first review. But I can't believe that in the whole of Asia one couldn't find a mountain with an easier ascent than 4000m over two days! Duncan
  • trevorbrock published 10/03/2006
    Sounds like my sort of place - thanks for a great first review - Trevor
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Product Information : Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia)

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Listed on Ciao since: 01/01/2001