Signal Hill Observatory Tower (800m)
Signal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. Just a couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks and further.
One of the best places to get a great view of Kota Kinabalu
Kinabalu Wetlands ( 2 km, 5 minutes Drive)
Situated just two kilometers north-east of Kota Kinabalu City in Likas (5 minutes from Brahminy Kite Villa) is Kota Kinabalu Wetlands. Formerly known as Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary, this site covers 24 hectares (60 acres) of mangrove forest, and is used primarily as a model wetland centre for the purpose of conservation, education, recreation, tourism and research. Kota Kinabalu Wetlands is managed by local NGO, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society.
A 1.5km boardwalk brings you deep into the mangrove - a unique ecosystem where land meets sea. A 45-minute stroll on the boardwalk is a pleasant experience where you can enjoy fresh air and tranquility, while spotting interesting birds, plants and wildlife.
Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, designated as a bird sanctuary in 1996, is an important refuge and feeding ground for many species of resident birds as well as migratory species from Northern Asia. Commonly sighted birds include migratory species like the sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, egrets and herons as well as canopy birds such as collared kingfisher and stork-billed kingfisher. To date, almost 80 species of birds have been identified at the sanctuary. Other mangrove wildlife that live within Kota Kinabalu Wetlands include monitor lizards, fiddler crabs, mudskippers, weaver ants, butterflies and other insects, jellyfish, water snakes and mud lobsters.
Things to Do
Apart from self-guided walks, there are a range of activities that can be done at Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, including guided walks, Environmental Education programmes, bird-watching sessions, and corporate volunteer programmes. Advance notice is required.
Gaya Street Sunday Market (2 km, 5 minutes drive)
Originally named Bond Street, Gaya Street located in the Kota Kinabalu Central Business District has been the centre of business for over a hundred years. The wooden shops with nipah roofs are long gone but here is where generations-old family businesses are still thriving passed down from father to son.
Every Sunday morning, the length of Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Fair. Shop for anything under shady trees and over-sized umbrellas, like batik sarongs, fruits and flowers, arts and craft, footwear, antiques and souvenirs, cakes, even pets and herbs!. This is the best place to experience the cross-section of the local population when entire families enjoy a Sunday outing.
The Gaya Street Fair is on every Sunday from 6.30 am to 1.00 pm
Every Sunday morning, the length of Gaya Street is closed off to traffic to make way for the Sunday Market Fair
Atkinson Clock Tower (1.5km)
One of the most enduring landmarks in Kota Kinabalu, it stands prominently on a bluff along Signal Hill Road adjacent to the old Police Station. Built in 1903, this all-wood, no-nails structure was built in memory of Francis George Atkinson - the popular first District Officer of Jesselton during the British North Borneo Chartered Company Administration, who had succumbed to a tropical disease at the young age of 28.
This Clock Tower has the distinction of being the oldest standing structure in the whole of Sabah that survived the destruction of Jesselton town during World War II. Till today, it still serves to keep the city's time.
The Atkinson Clock Tower is managed by the Sabah Museum under its Antiquity and History section.
The Clock Tower has the distinction of being the oldest standing structure in the whole of Sabah
Jesselton Point Waterfront (3km, 7mins drive)
Formerly known as the Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal, Jesselton Point Waterfront has become one of the main city attractions in Kota Kinabalu ever since its privatization in February 2006.
Situated north of downtown Kota Kinabalu, this quaintly scenic place has an unmistakable historical feel to it—complete with olden days snapshots of Kota Kinabalu city (Jesselton) and vintage red English phone booths. Jesselton Point Waterfront serves as the only ferry terminal for Labuan-bound passengers as well as the main (and cheapest) boat terminal for the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and Gayana Island.
Jesselton Point Waterfront also offers casual dining, leisure and retail experiences with its array of alfresco F&B outlets, handicraft stalls, and a four-court futsal centre. In addition, fishing aficionados are now welcome to spend the evening fishing at the jetty from 6pm to 6am for only RM10 per entry (payable at the Suria Futsal Centre). However, fishing gears are not provided so visitors need to bring their own.
In the near future, the Jesselton Point Waterfront is going to be expanded to cater more recreational, commercial, residential, and retail facilities. Having been the venue for the KK Jazz Festival 2007, the Jesselton Point Waterfront jetty is also bookable for social functions—be it dinner parties, fundraising concerts or even weddings.
After a long hard day at work, the Jesselton Point Waterfront is an excellent place to wind down and catch the breathtaking sunset! In the evening, bask in the cool Sabahan breeze while chilling out with family and friends. It makes a perfect spot for a romantic outing too.
The Jesselton Point Waterfront is open daily from 6am up until 2am; the ferry and boat terminal operates daily from 6am to 6pm.
The Jesselton Point Waterfront is an excellent place to wind down and catch the breathtaking sunset!
The Waterfront ( 5km)
Kota Kinabalu''s one-stop dining and entertainment centre is found right here along the famous Waterfront. Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, the Waterfront is a popular hangout for both locals and visitors alike. As you stroll along the esplanade, be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining.
Go exotic at the Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant, enjoy Japanese fare at Kawana, fusion food at Toscani's or indulge in a great seafood selection at the Grand Portview Seafood Restaurant. In the evening, the Waterfront comes to life at various watering holes such as the popular after-hours hangout, The Loft, Cock & Bull and Shamrock - all great places to enjoy happy hours as you watch the sun set over the South China Sea.
At night, paint the town red at BED (Best Entertainment Destination), one of the biggest dance clubs in Sabah. The Waterfront is also home to a myriad of shops, including the Borneo Trading Post, ideal for Sabah souvenir hunters. Dazzling lights, pulsating rhythms and a fantastic blend of energy makes The Waterfront a must-visit during your time in Kota Kinabalu.
The Waterfront is a popular hangout for both locals and visitors alike