Kota Kinabalu sprawls between the South China Sea and the towering ramparts of the Crocker Range. The capital of Malaysia's Sabah State in Northern Borneo, the town dates from 1963 and occupies the site of Jesselton, the old British colonial capital. (Jesselton was razed during World War II.)
More importantly, Kota Kinabalu is your gateway to the natural wonders of Northern Borneo. Offshore sit the five coral islands of Tunku Rahman National Park, a Mecca for hikers and divers. To the north is Mt. Kinabalu National Park, home to the highest mountain found between New Guinea and the Himalaya. On a clear day, one can stand on its summit and look across the South China Sea to the Philippines.
The only remainder of the old colonial settlement is Atkinson Clock Tower, built in 1905 and named after the first British District Officer.
More about Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Points of Interest
Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain found between New Guinea and the Himalaya. Tour Mt. Kinabalu Park and travel experience the trail walk through the montane forest. Your guide points out the native flora including ground orchids, some plants of local use and ferns that are found along the trails.
Visit a museum complex inspired by traditional island structures. View exhibits dedicated to the natural history, peoples and see the heritage village.
This impressive and majestic structure boasts a prayer room that can accommodate up to 12,000 worshippers. Built on a man-made lagoon, the city's second largest mosque appears to float above the water.
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
Developed by Sabah's Wildlife and Forestry Departments, this 280 acre park showcases some of the country's diverse wildlife. View rescued endangered animals including the pygmy Borneo elephant and proboscis monkeys.
Tun Mustapha Tower
Travel through Kota Kinabalu to the Tun Mustapha Tower. Named after a former Chief Minister of Sabah, this stunning 30-story glass structure is suspended from high tensile steel rods set around a central core.
Sabah State Mosque
A white honeycomb pattern structure with majestic domes and gold inlay motifs, this majestic religious site sits atop lush green grounds. The State Mosque is a place of worship for Kota Kinabalu Muslim inhabitants and visitors.
Signal Hill / Atkinson Clock Tower
Built in 1905 to commemorate the popular first District Officer of Kota Kinabalu, the Atkinson Clock Tower stands prominently on Signal Hill. The Tower was used as a navigation aid for ships until taller buildings overshadowed it.
Short Mangrove Cruise at Borneo Kellybays
Board a launch for a short cruise through the mangrove swamps. Learn how to use a Bajaus-style crab trap, and try your hand at traditional crab catching and batik painting. Gain an understanding of the importance of mangroves and sea life for the island.