Sabah’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu, is a largely modern city with an enviable picturesque location, nestled between the fabulous backdrop of the shapely and towering Gunung Kinabalu, rising 4,093 metres (13,428 ft) as its backdrop, and the sandy sunset-facing beachfront and glittering isles offshore, all under a tropical canopy of bright sun and sky.


Sabah museum, set in an ethno-botanic garden with a lake, is a good place to come to grips with all aspects of the local diversity of culture, art, architecture, wildlife, botanics, history and contemporary life of Sabah.

A small remainder of colonial influence can be seen at the Atkinson Clock Tower, Sabah Tourist Board, the one time central post office, and the refurbished Jesselton Hotel.

On the whole, however, the predominance of modern architecture, such as the ‘hanging’ Menara Tun Mustapha Tower and the Masjid Sabah Mosque, actually represents an improvement on much of Kota Kinabalu’s early building phase.

In the centre of the city’s waterfront are the Handicraft Market and the Central Market, with its colourful array of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables. The city also has a lively night market and a Sunday Market.

Along the coast to the south of the centre are the Sutera Harbour resort and golf course, Kinabalu Golf Club and the famous Tanjung Aru Beach.

Offshore, The Tunku Abdul Rahman Islands offer more sandy escapes from the city.

Beyond the airport is Monsopiad Cultural Village, a living museum named after the famous headhunter and run by his ancestors, which offers cultural shows in a reconstructed Kadazan village and affords an opportunity to see Monsopiad’s impressive collection of skulls.