Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in northwestern Borneo (often referred to as KK) is just a small city. Everything’s within walking distance so you don’t need to worry about taking a motorbike, taxi or even a map. To start off, you can drop by the Sabah Tourism Office to get some brochures.
The Atkinson Clock Tower is the oldest standing structure in KK. It was originally known as the Atkinson Memorial Clock Tower and sits in solitary on the bluff along Signal Hill Road. A more extensive view of the city can be taken at the Signal Hill Observatory. It can be reached for like 10 minutes hike. At the foot hill, you will pass by the Australian Place. This was where the Australian Liberation Forces set up camp when they landed in Jesselton back in the day during World War II. The name has fondly remained unchanged till today though most of the place is occupied by hostels and other businesses already.
They say you have never been to KK if you will not witness the Sunday Market on Gaya Street. Lots of goods can be found here such as souvenirs, wood carved household ornaments and some weaved baskets, toys, street foods, DVD’s, Malaysian coffee and tea(which is my favorite), plants, and even dogs! To be honest I really found it nothing special since it is just like a “tiange” back home. And I don’t like shopping! LOL
There is also this interesting place near Gaya that features the creative side of the locals. It’s the ruin of a nearly 100 years old British Colonial building (a.k.a. Old Welfare Building or Old Land & Survey Building) constructed between 1918 and late 1920. Unfortunately, though it survived the bombing during WWII, it was blazed by fire in 1992.
For the foodies, you can find lots of restaurants in Gaya. From Indian, Thai, Filipino, Italian, to fastfoods. But you can tell Yee Fung Laksa is somewhat popular because it is very crowded especially during lunch. I also tried Kim Hing Lee and it’s good too.
A beautiful sunset is a perfect way to end the day and the view is best seen at the waterfront area. The Waterfront is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists alike. It is a actually a long stretch of baywalk where most of the nightlife in KK is found.