Monday, 11 March 2013

Kota Kinabalu Trips :)

Hi all...just some catching up on my past trips. So I have been to Kota Kinabalu for 4 times already. First in 2008 then in 2011 then twice in 2012. From that 4 times, twice I stayed in Kundasang (at the base of Mount Kinabalu) as well. So below are the combined experiences and things to do that I can recommend to you planning to go there in the future. :)

In KK me and friends once stayed at Akinabalu Youth Hostel (hmm youth la sangat :P) at Gaya Street. A very cheap accommodation indeed. We stayed in a room with 2 double decker beds and a single bed and paid only about RM30 per person per night for the whole room. The room has airconditioning so its good enough to me plus the location is very good which is at one end of Gaya Street, where the weekly Sunday market is located. Also only walking distance to the waterfront, Suria Sabah shopping complex, Jesselten Point (the jetty for island excursions) and many cafes and restaurants.


Room is small and basic.
The patio just to the right side of the reception area. Facing to the main road at the back of the hostel.

View of the reception and lounge area from the patio...
The lounge area also at the same floor of the reception. You can sit at the bar facing outside to Gaya Street.
The lounge area. Love it!
I really enjoyed my stay here. Plus they provide free breakfast of bread and butter and jams every morning. You can book this place from www.hostelworld.com.

In another time, we stayed at Sabah Oriental Hotel at Karamunsing. It's quite a long walk to the city center so only stay here if you have rented a car. The hotel was nice though at RM140 per night.





So first thing you should do when you're in Kota Kinabalu is walk along the waterfront and enjoy the late afternoon breeze and the sunset. The waterfront starting point is just in front of Hyatt Hotel where you can see a large Marlin fish in the middle of a roundabout. From here you can walk away from Suria Sabah towards the restaurants facing the sea to have your tea or dinner after enjoying the sunset. Along the way you  will pass by the indoor wet market and indoor Filipino Market selling souvenirs and pearls.

The Marlin statue in front of Hyatt Hotel is to me the starting point of KK Waterfront...
Starting our walk from the Marlin statue.

View towards the seafood stalls. If you want cheap seafood then go to that canopied place you can see in this pic. During the day, it is the pier for fishermen bringing back the day's catch. Right beside it is the wet market of course, selling fresh seafood. The seafood stalls only open at night though. The food was really cheap and tasty. I recommend the 1st stall on the right if you come from this place I'm taking this pic.

The seafood stalls nearby the Marlin statue at night. It's a must for a cheap seafood meal.


Along the waterfront you will pass by a place called Filipino Market where they sell souvenirs, pearls and locally made handicrafts. Please bargain when you plan to buy any. At the back of the Filipino market is this seafood stalls where they grill all types of seafood that you can think of. The large king prawns for RM10 per piece, smaller one for RM6 per piece. The squids for RM8 per stick that has 2 squids per stick. I had the squid. Very nice. Squids are my fav anyway. :)
At the seaside restaurants.


On my second trip to KK me and friends went for an island excursion to Pulau Sapi, one of the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park which is just a short boat ride away from Jesselton Point. To get to the pier you can walk along the waterfront towards Suria Sabah shopping center and Jesselton Point is just right after it. You can just go there early morning to get to your preferred islands as they have many boat companies going to various islands. No need to pre-book your boat tickets. You can go for a whole day island hopping from there too. We chose to just go to Sapi Island as to me its the best one for swimming and just relaxing by the beach (I did the island hopping the first time around).

Entrance to Jesselton Point pier.
Ready to board the speed boat.

You can also go jungle trekking on the island as seen in the map bottom left. There are 2 trails. One for 45min and the other for 1 hour.

Clean and smooth sandy beach with crystal clear waters.

After a few hours of fun in the sun it's time to head back to the mainland. Those are the speed boats.

There are 2 cafes is Gaya Street that I really recommend you to go to. They are actually side by side. If you walk along Gaya Street you will see BB Cafe. A cafe built based with wooden architecture (hehe sounds so grand la pulak) and has wooden decoration. You won't miss it. It is tucked in the middle of an alley in between two blocks of shop houses. They have live band performing every night. Go there after your dinner to drink and listen to the band or simply have your dinner there. Variety of food to choose from. Just behind BB Cafe is SugarBuns cafe that sells very tasty fried whole fish and fried chicken. Not that expensive too.  Sugar Bun is open also for lunch so do have lunch or dinner there.

You can see BB Cafe at the back. I'm at Sugar Bun Cafe.

This is called Sambal Eco Fish. Very nice. For RM12 for a set meal including drinks. They use Tilapia Fish. (I think. Haha)
The Sugar Bun Cafe (middle of pic) in the morning....

This SugarBuns Cafe below is the one at Tanjung Aru. Is is a much nicer place to hang out and watch the sunset.

The sunset at SugarBuns Tanjung Aru.

Another place that I really loved whenever I was in KK was Upperstar Cafe. I definitely recommend everyone visiting KK to check out this cafe. The look and feel of the place resembles the likes of HRC, TGIF or Tony Roma's if not better but the price of the food are extremely cheap for western food dining. They also offer a cool way of surfing the internet where most tables have a flat screen panel and keyboard for anyone's use if you don't feel like using their wifi on your phone or tablet. Two Upperstars that I know of and within walking distance from Gaya Street is one exactly in front of Hyatt Hotel nearby the Marlin statue and another in Suria Sabah shopping center.

Upperstar Cafe @ Suria Sabah Shopping Center
Upperstar Cafe @ Suria Sabah
Lambchop for RM14.90 only.
Using the internet @ Upperstar Cafe


In one of my trip to KK, we rented a car for our trip to Kundasang. So we were able to drive around KK town too. We bumped into this area just above the hills right at the back of our hostel where you can see the view of KK town and the sea.



View on the right side...
View in front...
View to the left...


If you happen to be in Kota Kinabalu on a Sunday, do not miss going to the morning Sunday Market at Gaya Street. It's worth checking out while giving your body an early morning exercise. They sell mostly souvenirs, food, fruits, flowers, pets, herbal remedies etc. 

Sunday Market @ Gaya Street




That's all for Kota Kinabalu for now. I will put an entry on Kundasang accomodation and things to do in Kundasang soon!


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