Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

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Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

We had just 21 days for our entire trip through Malaysia and Borneo, including the long-haul flights at the start and end of the journey.

Borneo is a huge island with a multitude of fascinating destinations. During our 10 days there, we of course wanted to experience the jungle and see the unique and indigenous wildlife.

Most local Malaysia Airlines flights go via the hub in Kuala Lumpur. From Kuantan, we therefore had to book our flight to Kota Kinabalu with a transit through Kuala Lumpur (effectively, 2 flights).

We’d found and booked the Oceania hotel in Kota Kinabalu, and had emailed them to arrange a pickup from the airport (RM35). Hopefully, we would have a little time to look around the city before taking a coach south the following day to Kuala Penyu.

MH 2612 approaching Kota Kinabalu

MH 2612 approaching Kota Kinabalu

Flight Transfers from Kuantan to Kota Kinabalu

We boarded our first Malaysia Airlines flight at Kuantan airport around 6:30 am, after an early morning start and taxi from the hotel (a transfer to the airport by taxi takes about 25 minutes, and cost RM50). The 45-minute flight from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur was uneventful.

After just a 1-hour stopover, we took our 2nd flight for the 2½-hour trip to Borneo, getting us to Kota Kinabalu just after 11 am. The flights from Kuantan to Kota Kinabalu cost RM321 per person (booked online 3 weeks in advance).

Kota Kinabalu has a modern airport

Kota Kinabalu has a modern airport

We had a pre-arranged taxi pickup from the airport to the Oceania hotel, just outside the city center (cost RM35).

The Oceania Hotel Kota Kinabalu

We had paid €40 for 1 night at the Oceania hotel, including breakfast. The hotel was very modern and clean, with a really comfortable bed. It was also well located for trips in and out of the city.

They also provide a free shuttle service to and from the center, operating a few times during the day.

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It’s actually not that far to walk from the hotel to the city center (maybe half an hour), which is what we did. The city is not huge, but it’s handy to have a map (see below), which you can pick up for free at the Malaysia Tourist Board, located on Lebuh Raya Pantal Baru.

We wandered around the city in the afternoon, to get our bearings before our departure the following day.

Malaysia Tourism Office

Malaysia Tourism Office in Kota Kinabalu

We wanted to find the main bus stop for coaches running south down the coast, since our next destination would be Kuala Penyu, a small town about 90 kms south.

We found the bus station next to one of the attractive city parks in the center of the city (Jalan Tun Razaksee map).

Kota Kinabalu Borneo Street Map

Kota Kinabalu street map (click to enlarge)

Not far from the bus station there is a large shopping mall called Center Point. It offers good value shopping and places to eat. We had a late lunch at a good Japanese restaurant inside (… just for a change 🍣).

Kota Kinabalu Borneo – Sedco Fish Market

For a late afternoon or evening meal, it would be hard to beat the Sedco “Seafood Paradise”. Located on Jalan Sapuloh, this open-air food court is a popular venue both for locals and tourists.

Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu
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The prices are mid range and five or more seafood restaurants operate here. You can first checkout the many aquariums that stock a vast variety of sea creatures.

Live free culture shows are performed at the center stage every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7:30 to 8:30 pm. Business hours are from 4 pm to 2 am.

Kota Kinabalu Borneo close to the Sedco Fish Market

Downtown Kota Kinabalu Borneo close to the Sedco Fish Market

We didn’t have too much time in Kota Kinabalu, but we did visit the central fish and fruit markets. They have a great selection of fresh products, as well as stalls selling fried savories, and a good selection of open-air eateries.

You can choose your food, then sit down and watch them cook it.

As always, we loaded up on fresh fruit for the evening, and for our trip the following morning.

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Breakfast at the Oceania hotel was a very good buffet, offering a variety of food styles, both Western and Asian. We then prepared to head off again by foot back to the central bus stop for the next leg of our journey to Kuala Penyu.

Sign inside the hotel lift

Sign inside the hotel lift – Kota Kinabalu

Hotel Deals in Kota Kinabalu

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1 Comment


September 11, 2015at 2:30 pm

Showing these amazing photos to travellers like me is a very big help to see the beauty of the place, not only me but to the whole world. Now I know which places to visit for the next year and Kota Kinabalu is one of them. Thank you for showing your excellent photos. Happy trip.

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