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Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor August 26th, 2022 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 21 Comments

People most frequently say that travelling abroad unaccompanied by somebody can be quite challenging especially when you’re there to explore the local culture. However, I am delighted to share with you that even though I was alone in my journey, the entire trip to Kota Kinabalu went smoothly and I managed to enjoy it in my own means.

Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia
Photo by Ong Cheng Zheng on Unsplash

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Kota Kinabalu.

Welcome to Sabah! Malaysia is on the spectacular tropical island of Borneo. Sabah is a land of stimulating natural scenery, lavish ancient tropical rain forest, vibrant coral reefs and mysterious ethnic beliefs. Yeah I had a 3-day and 2-night trip in Kota Kinabalu in February last year! It was my first visit to Sabah and what an amusing experience it was! I had some firsthand and unforgettable memories that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Sabah.

12go Asia

I was delighted in visiting the islands and do shopping at the various outlet stores in downtown Kota Kinabalu. I also had a chance to immerse myself with the natives and the tourists. I was quite surprised to know that a lot of Filipinos are residing there but it’s indeed a good thing for me since I could just communicate with them freely using my mother tongue.

In addition, eating the local foods there was also commendable. Some of them were strange but mostly were mouth-watering. Originally, I intended to include trekking in Mt. Kinabalu in my travel plan but my fear ate me since it’s one of the tallest mountains in South-East Asia so surely it’s quite high and I was too scared that nobody could help me immediately if something bad or dangerous would happen to me since I was travelling alone but anyway my escapade went like this.

Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia
Photo by Stratman² CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On my first day, I had my city tour and it was pleasurable. I walked around near my accommodation and saw various sights with great appreciation. I then hired a taxi for me to reach farther attractions and know more on their culture. I visited Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, Suria Sabah, Filipino Market, Gaya Street Market, Tun Mustapha Tower, Wawasan Intersection, Seafood Port and Warisan Square. I have also seen Atkinson Clock Tower and Swordfish Statue when I was wandering. I took a lot of pictures for my family and friends to see even they were not with me physically on that certain day.

At exactly 5 pm, I was then searching for Toscani’s Wine & Dine Cafe at Waterfront since I’ve read a lot of good reviews that it offers delicious dishes, pleasant atmosphere, nice view to the bay and the amazing sunset. It surely didn’t fail me because all the foods that I ordered were really yummy like their seafood pizza, baked potatoes with cheese jacket and steak in wine. The waiters were very attentive too so for me it was quite fantastic.

Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia
Photo by Stratman² CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


On the next day, I decided to go snorkeling in different islands and the good thing was I joined a group of vacationers in their boat so it didn’t really cost me a fortune. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is an aquatic park encompasses of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. All these islands are just ten to fifteen minutes boat ride from Jesselton Point, the ferry port where you can charter a boat to the isles.

First, we went to Mamutik Island since it is the nearest and the smallest island among the five islands of the Park. It is very popular because of its proximity and is an ideal setting to embrace tranquility. Then we departed for the second location of the day which is Manukan Island. When the boat just landed in the landmass, the school of fishes welcomed us. I then rushed to go out from the vessel since I was excited to take photos of the sea creatures while someone fed them. The small paradise was really alluring for me to discover more.

Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

Powered by 12Go Asia system

The third stop was the island of Sapi. Upon arriving to Sapi, I still joined the group and enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch served buffet-style directly on the island’s beach, and after I was on my own, roaming the island without restrictions finding the best spot to rest. After filling our stomachs with the fresh and tasty foods and relaxing then we proceeded to the group’s next adventure which is fishing.

The owner of the boat then started the engine, had the headcount and directed the way to a peaceful spot which is known as the fish’s hub. He then prepared the needed materials like the fishing rods, bait and hooks for us to get started. Since some of us were beginners then he explained the procedures on how to do it through gestures since he couldn’t speak English well. As I could remember, it was not a big deal since we fully understood what he wanted us to do and luckily I caught two small fishes.

After fishing for an hour, we then decided to go back to the mainland and not to visit the remaining islands because we were too tired already. Basically, the island hopping package was a bit expensive for a solo-traveler but I never had regrets availing it because the experience was worthwhile. I met some cool people and had never-ending laughter with them which you couldn’t buy. Though they have different nationalities, beliefs and personalities, it never became a hindrance for us to understand one another. So, whenever you plan to go to Kota Kinabalu then never miss island hopping in your itinerary.

Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia
Photo by Andy Wang on Unsplash

For my last day in Kota Kinabalu, I went to different shops to buy some souvenirs and delicacies that I could bring back to the Philippines. I guess it was amusing to visit different stalls and compare which were the cheaper deals. I think I was enhancing my bargaining skills too during my trip.

Finally, I’m ready to go. Overall, I think I only explored like 60% or less of what Sabah has to offer. My experience was really marvelous and superb. And although seafood restaurants are abundant, the cheap ones patronized by the locals are just too far to reach on foot. And did I mention that the taxi drivers in Kota Kinabalu do not switch on the meter? (You should be clever in haggling for a good price!).

Life is an exploration. Spread your wings and fly as far as you could!

About the Writer

things to do in Kota KinabaluI’m Geraldine R. Codizar of Cebu, Philippines. I am an ESL teacher for more than five years now. I am 26 years of age and my ultimate dream is to travel to various places not just to see the hidden beauty that lies in every place but also to encounter the locals and appreciate more the real essence of our existence. I do enjoy immersing myself to anonymous settings since it’s quite challenging and rewarding. I want to join the contest since I want my parents to have the opportunity to be with me and also for them to know that life is a great adventure even at their ages now.


Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true

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21 thoughts on “Visit Kota Kinabalu, where dreams come true! @tourismmalaysia

  1. For sea related activities or simply sight seeing – Langkawi is better & safer than sabah / kota kinabalu.
    me & my family faced lifetime worst experience in kota kinabalu. sabah is the very unhealthy /unfriendly state of Malaysia. Even better to go Bali if already seen Langkawi. cheating, mis-behave or mis treats starts from kota kinabalu airport immigration !!

  2. I love your photo’s and the vivid way in which you wrote about your travels! I usually fail at spending time in my own company. I’d like to think that I’d love the chance to really just do what I want to do and explore a new place, but as soon as I’m there, and I see something fantastic, I’ll wish i coul share wit with my family.

  3. It’s true that sometime travelling with someone can be frustrating. It happens to me and my boyfriend sometimes. I am all for trying out the local food but he’s not as adventurous when it comes to food so we just always end up compromising.

  4. I never been into Malaysia, hope I can visit it someday. Since I have a kid we preferred to visit places that kids will enjoy. Maybe someday if hubby and I can travel alone without feeling guilty leaving my son alone. Thanks for sharing and will take note on this, will share to some of my friends also

  5. What’s the Filipino market look like? I want to visit Kota Kinabalu too! Is it far from Kaula Lumpur? I will be visiting Kuala Lumpur next year and I’m looking forward to visit places near Kuala Lumpur too. Will definitely be adding this to my must see places. 😀

  6. Sounds like an amazing place to go to. Wish you had more photos though. You are descriptive enough in your writing but I would have loved to see more photos. It still sounds like a great place to visit. Will definitely have to add this to my bucket list.

  7. I have been to Malaysia. But I have not been to Kota Kinabalu yet. I hope to visit this place next time around. Thanks for sharing about the places you’ve been to. Hope to remember your tips when we have a trip there.

  8. I love KK beaches. We were able to visit Sapi, Mamutik and Manukan. We did snorkeling and parasailing in the islands. Had soo much fun!

  9. If there’s a Filipino Market, then, surely, there are lots of Pinoys there. I’m glad you had a great time in Malaysia. Fishing and diving are quite extraordinary experiences. And, you are right. souvenirs should not be left out ?

  10. Havent been to Kota Kinabalu. We only spend two days in Kuala lumpur when we toured Malaysia about two years ago. I love the sights and sounds you shared with us. The next time we visit Malaysia, I would prefer Kota Kinabalu.

  11. One thing I would love to see are photos. I have seen the beaches of Kota Kinabalu and others in different sites over the decades, but I am intrigued with the … of all things … BBQ! Hehe. I hope the page could be updated with an image of what their BBQ looks like … and it is on the beach, yes?

  12. I must admit, when I was younger I used to always buy souvenirs but I have so much stuff that now I only buy things that I really like and want to wear, etc. It got silly for me having to buy gifts for so many people too! Once again, loved your post xxx

  13. This looks amazing! I really would love to travel more, when my daughter is a bit old we have a big list of places to go as a family.

  14. Great post – I don’t think I would be brave enough to travel alone, but it looks great. Kaz x

  15. I love the idea of travelling alone and not having to compromise with someone else about the things you want to do! It sounds like a great trip.

  16. Malaysia is one of the Asian countries I want to visit and I am comforted with the knowledge I can do this alone too

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