Kota Kinabalu

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A Gem On The Island Of Borneo

This gem on the island of Borneo is in Sabah, Malaysia and I was pleasantly surprised to find it is rich in natural beauty. Kota Kinabalu has a diverse wildlife, a coral reef and Mount Kinabalu which is the highest peak in Malaysia, listed as a natural world heritage site. It is also a very beautiful holiday location.

Just a short flight of two and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur, we arrived at our tropical destination, where it’s lush, hot and balmy all year-round. KK is perhaps not as well known as other places in Malaysia like Penang, Langkawi or Kuala Lumpur, but it is growing in popularity with tourists.

Our Accommodation

We stayed in a lovely apartment at the fabulous Imago Complex which I booked online. It had everything you could possibly want for a very comfortable stay – two huge swimming pools, a gym, playground, restaurants, cinema and the best shopping centre in the city. And the view of the water and golf course from the apartment was awesome, the balcony being a favourite spot to sit and take it all in with a cool drink.

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View from Imago apartment

A favourite hangout just downstairs was a restaurant/cafe/bar called Souled Out, for lunch, dinner or drinks, with live entertainment in the evenings. International cuisine is served here, as well as local fare and the staff are very friendly. If you love cocktails, which I do, then this is the place, as they are reasonably priced and they claim to have the best Mojito in town. After being tried and tested by yours truly, I thoroughly concur.

Bar/Restaurant below Imago apartments


Along the Waterfront in KK, there are many restaurants and bars with outdoor dining and entertainment, such as The Shamrock Irish Bar and The Loft, which are very popular and filled with tourists every night. There is a great atmosphere here with music and live bands.

Various different cuisines are on offer to enjoy with a view of the water. It really is the place to go for a night out.

A lovely Indian restaurant we went to was Mother India in the Oceanus Waterfront Mall. A little bit upmarket with great food and nice surroundings. Thoroughly recommend it.

The Yacht

Our yacht for the afternoon

Where there is water, you have to get out there and make the most of it, don’t you? And what’s the best way to do that? To hire a Yacht. Yes, a Yacht! So we did just that.

This delightful private yacht, with our own Captain, was ours for 4 hours! We sailed around the islands, and stopped wherever we wanted. It was amazing. A very luxurious experience and definitely a highlight for me. With everything you could need on board, including a kitchenette, bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and plenty of lounge space, I could have stayed aboard longer. (Did I mention it was a Yacht?) Jumping off the back and swimming was a thrill too, especially for the kids.

But, while we were out on the water, we almost got stranded (a bit like the old tv show, Gilligan’s Island); it conked out, or malfunctioned if you like, I’m not really sure what the issue was, but we had to wait for a service boat to come and fix our problem. Thankfully, they did so very promptly and we were able to sail on our merry way, without a remake of the tv show! Thank goodness.


There are many fabulous resorts here in KK to choose from for a luxurious stay, with all the trimmings.

Sutera Harbour Resort

Sutera Harbour is one of the luxury resorts here, overlooking the South China Sea, with two 5-star hotels, 4 swimming pools, a golf course and country club.  The marina is in the middle of both hotels, where all the sailing boats are moored and where we departed from.

When we returned from our sea-faring adventure, we stopped here for a delicious spicy Malaysian feast. It’s also a lovely spot to hang out and admire the view; a great way to finish a delightful day.

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Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club
white yachts on the water

Other Resorts

We also visited a couple of other resorts in Kota Kinabalu on the beach; research for my next trip. The Shangri-La Resort and The Nexus Resort, both of which are stunning locations and quite popular for a luxury holiday with all the trimmings.

I definitely plan to stay at one of these on my next holiday here. The pools are huge and look very inviting, especially the infinity pool. The beaches have beautiful soft, clean sand and lots of activities to keep you entertained.

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Shangri-La Resort KK

I particularly loved the bars on the sand, where cocktails are the special of the day. This is a gorgeous spot to relax and enjoy beach life.

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Kota Kinabalu is a great holiday spot for families, or couples, with plenty to offer in a stunning location. A real plus is that a lot of people don’t really know about it yet, as compared to other more touristy hot spots in Malaysia, such as Penang.

I’ll certainly be returning in the near future.

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Manukan Island

I recommend taking a tour. Here are a few fabulous suggestions for you. Kota Kinabalu is a real gem!

You might like to check out my other Malaysian blog posts, Kuala Lumpur and Taiping for destinations near by.

Selamat jalan.

I welcome any comments you wish to share with me, in the section below.



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