The capital city of Sabah, nested on the Island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu has become an increasingly popular resort destination sporting a tropical weather all year round. With ample to do on the adventure and history front, considering being a colonial British settlement located in the heart of forest growth and mountains, not to mention the beachside relaxation on its coasts, Kota Kinabalu is a complete package waiting to be tapped for international tourism in Malaysia.
Peak and Off-Peak Season
Although Kata Kinabalu sports an equatorial climate all year round, the idea time to visit this destination is during the months of January to March, as it offers dry season. Although November to January is a tourist friendly phase to pay a visit, visitors are warned of crowds as it’s a busy time of the year with many Catholic festivals taking place.
Tourist Attractions in Kota Kinabalu
Starting with its official heritage, the Mari Mari Culture Village and the Sabah Museum offer diverse exhibitions. The former showcases living cultures ad indigenous folkways including rice making and bamboo cooking, while the latter focuses more on modern structures like housing collections of tribal and historical artefacts. Islam has the dominant influence both in matters of culture and history, represented at the Islamic Civilization Museum. Even though Islamic sites like the City Mosque and the Sabah State Mosque are the largest religious sites designed in line with modern architectural trends, the community is home to multiple other religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and even Sikhism. The Sri Pasupathinath Temple, Che sui Khor Temple, Gurdawarah Sahib and the Sacred Heart Cathedral are all main sites highlighting the religious diversity of Kota Kinabalu.
To appreciate the untouched side of nature, heading out to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park would be the perfect activity. With a variety of birds and other animals and gardens that are lush green, its ideal for picnic purposes along with for kids. The mountainous terrain in the area can be explored along the main Kinabalu Park, the Signal hill observatory and the Kokol hills. Manukan & Mamuntik islands along with the Sapi Island constitute coastal tours, along with Tunku Abdul Rehman National Park and Tajung Aru beach being seaside attractions. The Green connection ad Water World let visitors explore teh local aquatic life in this part of the South China Sea. Among the most exotic features is the Tabunan Rafflesia Reserve, protecting the largest fungal species observed worldwide in the field of botany. Gogo Sabah is a well known tour company providing tourists with a wide range of adventurous tours alongside services such as motorbike rentals, logistics and tour guides.
Hotels and Accommodation
With top end retreats in the form of hotels and resorts alongside bag-packer hangouts multiplying rapidly in the city, there are several spots offering accommodations in the form of apartments and guesthouses. Backpacking industry is quite well established, with a complete association running its entire network. The Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, for instance, is placed at the perfect place to enjoy the city attractions whilst enjoying the features of the tropical resort. Many of the seaside resorts feature all the relaxation amenities like pools, spas, along with their own restaurants and bars. For a modern feel to your trip, opting for the Ming Garden Hotel & Residences would be an ideal pick, located in the business district and only 10 minutes away from the airport as well. The waterfront of the city nests within it a couple of apartment choices including the Marina Vacation Codis as well as the Jack’s Condo Apartments among many others, in sync with the apartment setting as well as the condominium trend catering for budget stays. Those in favour of splurging on their trip should consider Kota Kinabalu’s most central and outclass accommodation, the La Meridien Kota Kinabalu, offering luxury services alongside spectacular views and endless pampering facilities.
Getting around town
The Kota Kinabalu International Airport is located 7 kilometres from the city centre. Airport bus is a facility providing commute to and from the city at a rather cheap cost. There also exists the option of using a minibus to travel in to the city, however these are less favoured in comparison to the new and efficient airport bus facility. Taxis also remain a standard means of transport that it is budget friendly and safe.
Since it is located on the coasts, regular ferry boat as well as speed ferry services are operated for sea travel to nearby islands and other surrounding ports. A single railroad track is established mainly for leisure purpose to facilitate tours of the countryside as well as flea street market areas. The city centre is quite small. Visitors can walk around to get to know the place, with sidewalks and safety walks. Taxis are also available with rates negotiable; the travel proves to be safe and cheap. Buses and minibuses operate within the city as well as to the suburban areas. The long-route buses are air conditioned and facilitate some comfort, while the minibuses operate on a stop-by-stop basis to cater for every single commuter. Rent a car services are also available for short as we as long ones.
Flights to Kota Kinabalu from UK
Leading airlines including Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Royal Brunei, Cathay Pacific and Malaysian Airways are all in the top order for flight deals for this route. It takes up to 15.5 hours to travel from UK to Kota Kinabalu, apart from the time spent on single stopover along the itinerary. There are no direct flights operating on this route.
Recent searches for return flights to Kota Kinabalu 2020/2021
Which Airlines Operate Flights To Kota Kinabalu from UK?
- China Southern Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Royal Brunei Airlines
- British Airways
- Singapore Airlines
How long is the flight to Kota Kinabalu from UK?
- The journey from London Heathrow Airport to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo is about 18 to 20 hours long. The cruise can have one to two stopovers, depending on the airline you chose to fly with, and the layovers might be in Brunei Darussalam or Kuala Lumpur.
- Your trip from Manchester to Kota Kinabalu will reach completion in about 19 to 21 hours. These flights have stopovers in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.
- Flights taking off from Birmingham for Kota Kinabalu again take 19 to 21 hours to reach their destination. The flight comes with two stopovers, one in Europe and the other in Pacific Asia.
- The journey to Kota Kinabalu from London Gatwick Airport also takes 21 hours to complete. Doha or Dubai can be the first stopover of the flight but the second stopover is always in Kuala Lumpur.
Are there any direct flights to Kota Kinabalu from UK?
No, as of right now, there are no direct flights from any airport in the UK to Kota Kinabalu. The passengers to the tropical destination, however, have a preferred route. The cheapest and quickest way to Kota Kinabalu is via a Pacific Asian flight like China Southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines or Royal Brunei Airlines. You can take a direct flight from London to Guangzhou, Kuala Lumpur or Brunei Darussalam and then hop on to a connecting flight to the airport in Kota Kinabalu.
What is the cheapest time of year to fly to Kota Kinabalu?
The cheapest time to come to Kota Kinabalu is in early summer when the city, instigated by the rainforest in the surroundings, receives rainfall. Coming to Kota Kinabalu in the rainy season has its own rules and benefits. Not only can you get cheaper accommodations right on the beach front, but air travel is also affordable as the demand decreases. However, do come to Kota Kinabalu or KK, as it is affectionately called by the locals, with an umbrella as it will rain almost half of the time of your stay. The rainy season may make a few puddles on the road, but it would not bore holes in your pocket, at least that much is guaranteed.
Is there a major international airport in Kota Kinabalu?
The international airport serving Kota Kinabalu is named after the city. Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) has seen a significant increase in air traffic as more and more tourists find Malaysian Borneo an exciting place to visit. Kota Kinabalu is essentially a strip of land between the Crocker Ranger in the south-west and the South China Sea in the north-east. The airport is located on the southern half of the city, but the most densely populated and historical half of the town is in the north –which is seen as the city centre. Taking the Jalan Coastal Highway, you can reach the city centre, close to the Jesselton Point, in about fifteen minutes after covering 9 kilometres from the airport.
What is the best time to visit Kota Kinabalu?
From December to March is the best time to visit Kota Kinabalu since it is the driest time of the year in the city. Kota Kinabalu is on the island of Borneo, which is famous for the last remaining Asian rainforests in the world. Apart from cleansing the air, a rainforest produces its own rain. However, from December to March the showers get blown inland, leaving the coastal city of Kota Kinabalu dry and fresh. This period is also the busiest time of the year for tourists, and one can expect to see the prices of the hotels and the air tickets rise. To be on the safe side, plan your visit well in advance to get an edge and grab cheaper tickets and accommodations.
What are the major landmarks in Kota Kinabalu?
Kota Kinabalu is located in western Malaysia, ideal for people who want to get away from their lives and enjoy some downtime. The jungle and the sea squeeze the city from either side, making a cul de sac for vacationers and tourist to rejuvenate in supreme nature.
- The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is only 8 kilometres from downtown Kota Kinabalu, due west. The national park is among the few in the world that mostly comprises an area over the open sea –almost two-thirds. The area above sea-level includes five islands that include Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik, Sulug and the largest Gaya Island. You can visit the watery national park by first taking a ferry from Jesselton Point. There are many services available there, and tourists can choose to snorkel and scuba dive to see the thriving coral reef right off the coast. Drive to the bottom of the sea to visit the Atlantis of the vibrant water-breathing populace of Kota Kinabalu.
- Mount Kinabalu is the twentieth highest with regards to topographic prominence. In layman's terms, the peak juts abruptly to reach a tremendous height and is a sight to behold. The ecology and the biodiversity is unique and profound, to say the least. The flora and fauna of the Mount Kinabalu region is the most diverse on the planet. It is one of the last places on earth where plants and animals of all three Himalayan, Australasian and Malayan origin thrive. To give the reader an inkling there are only five hundred species of ferns in all of Africa, but in the forests around Mount Kinabalu alone there are six hundred fern species growing roots and competing for sunlight. Kota Kinabalu is the most important biological site in the world.
- The Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is one of the masterpieces of modern Islamic architecture. The mosque was built in the year 2000 and now serves a total of 12,000 worshippers at any given time. A manmade lagoon encircles the mosque and provides the structure with its nickname – the floating mosque. The Kota Kinabalu Mosque is a tourist destination since the administration of this institution has invested heavily in integrating the mosque with society. You can visit the mosque and take a boat ride on the lagoon and admire the green and gold dome of the Mosque.
What are the transportation options available to tourists within Kota Kinabalu?
Kota Kinabalu, as mentioned above, is on a narrow strip of land between the Crocker Range and the Sea. You can walk from one side of downtown to the other in about 30 minutes. If you are an athletic person who likes to walk, then you can always move between the airport in the south to your hotel in the north on foot in just an hour or two. There is still Uber and Grab -a Malaysian variant of a call-in taxi service. Most foreigners use these mobile applications to move around because they are safe, cheap and reliable. A bus is also an excellent option for a trip around Kota Kinabalu. The bus stations dot along the Tun Razak Road. Sometimes they are not as clearly designated, but you can ask around for the nearest bus station. Usually, bus tickets do not cost more than half a Malaysian Ringgit. When planning a visit to Mount Kinabalu, please acquire the services of certified climbers, who would guide you through the living UNESCO World Heritage site.
Which five-star hotels and accommodation are available for stay in Kota Kinabalu?
The sunsets are incredible on Kota Kinabalu especially when you view them from a balcony of a five-star hotel on the right on the coast, surrounded with palm trees. Here are a couple of options; choose your pick!
- Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
- The Pacific Sutera Hotel - Sutera Harbor Resort
- Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
- Hyatt Regency Kinabalu
- Hilton Kota Kinabalu