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Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu has a slightly isolated trading post or meeting point kind of feel. It's a city where you arrive and prepare for tropical adventures. It's somewhere to get excited about the prospect of things to come. Everything’s accessible from KK. You can head off and hike through rainforests to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, or you can dream about diving over the coral reefs of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. There’s a fair selection of top-end accommodation too, so you can prepare to explore the rest of Sabah in style.

Three things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Mount Kinabalu

The air is hot and humid among the lowland conifers, giant ferns and rhododendron forests at the base of the mountain. Well-worn stone steps and solid wooden hand rails make this part of the ascent a warm yet gentle introduction. When you stop to catch your breath, your guide might share a few stories as a box of super-sweet Suka cookies is passed around. Though not even midday, your legs are telling you otherwise! Before long you're crossing alpine meadows to your overnight accommodation close to the summit, ready to resume your hike at 2am to catch the sunrise. This is what hiking Mount Kinabalu is all about: watching the first rays of the day turn the jungle canopy to gold... 

Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Skipping over the South China Sea in a speedboat is the best way to take in the brilliant blues of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. From a distance, you can just make out slivers of white sand fringing lush green forests on a tropical island. As you draw closer, you start to see signs of life; birds flit from cliff faces and dark, foreboding caves spark thoughts of hidden depths. Pull into a deserted cove for a packed lunch or find a local spot where barbecue pits and picnic tables offer a bit more comfort. Explore on land or underwater, taking advice from the rangers and guides who know where to find the most vibrant coral gardens and which beaches are best for snorkelling.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Take a taste of Sabah

Kota Kinabalu might not be an impressive city visually, but what it does very well is food. Contrasting the ubiquitous 7 Eleven stores on practically every street corner are huge food courts featuring cuisine from across the whole of Asia. Numerous air-conditioned shopping malls often devote entire floors to eating out. Weekend markets, too, conjure up a cornucopia of choice, with smoked, fried, stewed and grilled everything and anything offering all manner of excitement to the uninitiated. Seafood, especially, offers a true taste of Sabah. There's nowhere better than the seafood night market to pick your catch of the day and decide how you'd like it cooked. For an unusual treat, try chomping into a chewy, steamed kuih cake: savoury or sweet, and always tasty.

fish in sabah

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