Aside from island hopping, white water rafting and visiting Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Spring and Mari-mari Cultural Village, we spent three nights roaming around the streets of Kota Kinabalu.
Kota Kinabalu (KK), formerly known as Jesselton, is the capital state of Sabah. Different spots at KK suggest a wide variety of things to do and strolling around the city is one of them. There are a lot of different food destinations, shopping areas and famous landmarks that can be included in KK city tour. We just walked from our hotel to visit some of these places and we rented a taxi for some other locations that are a little far away.
After our day tour activities (we obtained different tour packages), we spent our nights with our own KK city tour. We were able to visit the following: Atkinson Clock Tower, Signal Hill Observatory, City Mosque, Swordfish Monument, KK Waterfront Esplanade, Perdana Park Fountain (Music Fountain Water Show) and KK Markets.
Atkinson Clock Tower
Located along Signal Hill road, Atkinson Tower is the oldest structure in KK. The clock tower was built in the memory of Francis George Atkinson, Jesselton’s first district officer. It used to be a shipping landmark. There is a narrow, wooden staircase leading to the clock tower. Just be very careful to climb as the staircase does not look very sturdy.
Signal Hill Observatory
Signal Hill is the highest point in the city where you can get a nice view of KK. It’s also a perfect place to watch the sunset. We were lucky because we were able to catch the sunset when we arrived at Signal Hill. The observatory platform is small but just near it is a designated area along the road going up the hill where benches are placed where you can also get a bird’s eye view of downtown KK.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the second main mosque in KK after State Mosque in Sembulan. We were not able to enter the mosque but we enjoyed its view at night which is really spectacular.
The swordfish monument is an iconic landmark in KK which was built to commemorate KK’s cityhood. Adjacent to it is Segama Waterfront where other fish statues can be found.
KK Waterfront Esplanade
Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, KK Waterfront Esplanade is one of the good locations to eat with the bonus view of the sea. Various restaurants can be found here. It is actually a popular hangout place at night for both locals and tourists.
Perdana Park Fountain (Music Fountain Show)
If there is one thing in the city you should not miss, it is watching the music fountain show at Perdana Park. Perdana Park is a recreational park for all members of the family which opened in 2011. The show starts at 7PM until 10PM. The fountain show is one of the best you’ll see with the great music accompaniment and the amazing display of lights dancing in magnificent rhythm. The park has no admission fee.
KK has numerous markets just near the waterfront at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens where you can buy almost everything you need. The markets include Handicraft Market, Fruit Market, Dry Sea Product Market and Night Market.
The Handicraft Market is one of the favorite souvenir shops in KK. Inside are a number of stalls selling items like bags, jewelries, seashell crafts, souvenir shirts and many more. It is open until 6PM.
If you can’t make yourself available before 6PM to buy stuffs at the Handicraft Market, you can go to the Night Market where a lot of souvenirs items are also being sold. They also have clothing, bags and jewelries. It is open from 6PM to 11PM.
The Night Market also has a food section where you can dine for a much cheaper sea food meal.
You can also find great selections at the Fruit and Dry Sea Product Market.
– We rented a taxi for MYR70 to go to Atkinson Clock Tower, Signal Hill Observatory Hill and City Mosque. The driver agreed that we will spend a few minutes at each location and that he will lastly drop us at Kampung Nelayan (Sea Food Restaurant). Since Kampung Nelayan is a bit away where taxis do not frequently pass by, we asked the driver if he can pick us again after we eat at around 8:30 PM. He agreed and we just paid MYR30 from Kampung Nelayan to our hotel.
– We took a taxi from the Night Market to the Swordfish Monument for MYR30. From the Swordfish Monument, we took another taxi going to Perdana Park. We asked the driver that brought us to Perdana Parkto to fetch us after one hour and a half.