When people think of Kota Kinabalu, almost immediately the 4,095-metre-tall Mount Kinabalu comes to mind. While tourists from all around the world travel to Sabah to scale this mountain, there are actually many lots of other cool things to do in Kota Kinabalu.

From beautiful islands that look like the Maldives, to hills with scenery just like New Zealand, Kota Kinabalu is full of breathtaking destinations worth discovering.

Here are some of our top picks:

1. Take a picture with the famous ‘Bali Swing’ at Le One Kokol Elf

Image credit: @atiqahsanif

Located about a 45-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu, Le One Kokol Elf is nestled atop Kokol Hill in Menggatal, Sabah. Not only does it provide a breathtaking view of Kota Kinabalu city, it has become famous for its Insta-worthy picture spots.

The entrance fee gives you a full-day pass with a complimentary drink, so you can even stay ‘til sunset to take in the scenic views.

Opening Hours: 9am to 7.30pm

Entrance Fee:
For Malaysians
Adult: RM40
Children (3 to 12 years old): RM20
Children (below 3 years old): Free

For non-Malaysians
Adult: RM120
Children (3 to 12 years old): RM20
Children (below 3 years old): Free


2. Enjoy a glimpse of New Zealand at this dairy farm at Kundasang Valley

Image credit: I Love Borneo

On the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, Desa Dairy Farm in Kundasang looks exactly like a scene out of New Zealand’s green pastures. Besides the incredible view, you can get to feed adorable calves with bottled milk as well as try out popular dairy products like fresh milk, natural cheese, and gelato ice cream.

Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm
Entrance Fee: RM5 (Adult), RM4 (Child)


3. Go island hopping and snorkel in crystal, clear waters

Image credit: Get Your Guide

Known for its clear waters and beautiful beaches, Kota Kinabalu has many hidden gem islands worth discovering. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a 20-minute speedboat ride from Kota Kinabalu, is a cluster of islands offering a variety of dive and snorkeling spots.

These islands include Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, and Sulug Island. Some of these islands even have resorts and lots of fun activities for tourists.


4. Ride a zipline across the ocean at Sapi Island

Image credit: Jom Jalan

One of the less crowded islands is Sapi Island, which is actually connected to the popular Gaya Island during low tides. While there are many water sport activities available here, the coolest one is the Coral Flyer, a 235-metre-long zipline connecting both the islands together. Be sure to make a booking ahead of time to ensure you get a spot on the ride!

Opening Hours: 10am to 3.30pm
Ride Fee: RM68


5. Bring home local souvenirs from Gaya Street Sunday Market

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

After having a ton of fun exploring the outdoors, head over to Gaya Street Sunday Market to stock up on local souvenirs like crafts, clothes and antiques. It’s a tourist hotspot, so you may need to do a little haggling to arrive at a good deal. While you’re here, grab some of the local street food as well to fill up your tummy.

Opening Hours: 6am to 1pm


6. Experience ethnic Borneo life at Mari Mari Cultural Village

Image credit: Sabah Getaway

Get a full experience of Sabahan tribal culture at this village, situated about a 30-minute drive away from the city. You can experience first-hand how the villagers live, from their traditional homes to their culture, customs and even food. There is also interactive tribal dances and performances by the village folk, so don’t miss out on the fun!

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm


7. Try out tandem paragliding at Kokol Hill

Image credit: mysabah.com

For true adventure seekers, you have to try out tandem paragliding at Kokol Hill. About a 40-minute ride from the city, this thrilling activity brings you 800 metres above sea level to enjoy the amazing view of the skies, forests, and colourful Menggatal town below.

Ride Fee: RM300 (Malaysian), RM400 (non-Malaysian)


8. Chow down on some of Sabah’s freshest and tastiest seafood

Image credit: Tune Hotel

You’ve not been to Sabah until you’ve feasted on their fresh seafood - from juicy prawns and crabs, to all kinds of fish and shellfish. Here are a few of our top picks for good seafood in Kota Kinabalu:

Suang Tain Seafood Restaurant
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm

Welcome Seafood Restaurant
Opening Hours: 12pm to 12am

Gayang Seafood Restaurant
Opening Hours: 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm (Closed on Wednesday)


Ready to book your trip to Kota Kinabalu? Make sure to also book a car tour with Joyzride for the best travel experience ever!

Getting around Kota Kinabalu can be a hassle, since many of the destinations are quite a distance from the city. Thankfully, with Joyzride, you can book a day tour or multiple day private tour, and you’ll get a private chauffeur that will bring you around wherever you want to go.

Enjoy the flexibility of planning your day according to your schedule - you can also take as many stops and detours as you need. It’s all up to you with Joyzride, one of the best private car tour services in town! Whether you need a small car as a couple or a big 16-seater for the entire family, Joyzride has got you covered.

Book your personalized ground tour in Kota Kinabalu with Joyzride today!

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