Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shopping in Kota Kinabalu

There are several shopping centres in city centre, all within walking distance. Along the seaside, starting north from Suria Sabah Shopping Centre, we can move southward to Wisma Merdeka, then KK Plaza through Segama Complex. From KK Plaza, we just need to take a few hundred meters southward to Centre Point and Warisan Square, or move further eastward to reach Sunday Market at Gaya Road.

All the major shopping complexes in KK are located beside Tun Razak Road. Of course, magnitude wise, one by one, non are comparable to Megamall in Mid Valley or Sunway Pyramid at KL. But, if we take all of them together, plus the nice relaxing atmosphere with sea breeze and clean street, shopping at KK is indisputably a good and enjoyable experience.

First come first, Suria Sabah KK Shopping Centre. Uh, that's not a very interesting shopping centre yet, as most of the shoplots are not been occupied. The interesting parts of this shopping mall are Metrojaya and GSC Cinema. We really enjoyed our watching Narnia 3 at the cinema, and that's the best cinema in Kota Kinabalu. The cinema is on the 8th floor.

Walking down to Wisma Merdeka, the ground level has an egg-tart shop selling nice tart, but we cannot recall the name (grrr...). Then there are shops for clothes on first and second floors. There is an old-Chinese-kopitiam style food court on the 2nd floor of the shopping mall, serving nice rojak (mixed fruits with special dressing) and teh tarik. Just in case you like Coffee Bean, there is a Coffee Bean at the ground floor (we like Starbuck more when talk about coffee).

Wisma Merdeka on the outside (upper left), shops with nice clothes on sales (upper right), food stalls on the ground floor (lower left), and the food court on the 2nd floor.

KK Plaza is small. The focus is the underground floor, with Survey and Parkwell Supermarkets selling Tenom Coffee with fair price (Around RM6, USD 2 for a pack with 15 sachets of black coffee or 10 sachets of latte). We noticed that the supermarket is selling various types of alcoholic drinks as well.

Photo showing KK Plaza on the inside (left). Alcoholic drinks and pre-mixed Tenom Coffee are available in the supermarket at the underground floor of the shopping mall.

Then, Centre Point, that's the busiest shopping mall in KK. Many international franchises are available there. The one that offers a very good feel- Starbuck at Palm Square. Take a cup of well blended coffee at full aircond. Palm Square (4th floor of Centre Point) with the sunlight from the rooftop on a hot afternoon is a good way to set our mind free.

Centre Point from the opposite side of Tun Razak Road (upper left), and inside the mall (upper right). Palm Square on the 4th floor complemented with nice coffee from Starbuck.

Warisan Square is located just beside Centre Point. It is quiet, compare to its neighbour, with the first and second floors mostly vacanted. However, the best part of it- ground floor. There is a row of air-cond. street mall offering western food, with nice atmosphere. You might like to spend a few relaxing evening there (with another Starbuck facing seaside in the mall). There are some souvenir shops on the 1st and 2nd floors on Block B. Take a look.

Outside of Warisan Square (left) and the street mall with several food stalls.

Karamunsing is another shopping centre around KK, just a little bit further at Tuaran Road. It cannot be reached by foot (unless you know the shortcut). The shopping centre offers many choices on IT and electronic products. The new extended wing is now opened with many new shops selling clothes.

Btw, we don't include One Borneo and City Mall in our blog, as both of the shopping mall are far to reach from city area.

The best way to catch all the local products in a single round is by visiting the Sunday Market at Gaya Road. The Sunday Market, or called Pasar Tamu in local, is an open market covering 400 meters, starts from the street after the city council building and ends at Sabah Tourism Board. You can find various type of local products, pearls, seashells, rattan products, wooden decors, pets, fish, fruits, Tenom Coffee, Sabah Tea, etc. We will not let go any chance to visit the market when we are in KK.

The archway marks the location of the city council at Tugu Road. Gaya street is located just beside the city council.

The entrance of the Sunday market with another archway beside Agro Bank.

"Python charmer" at the entrance of the market.

Pets are available for sale. Why don't you just get a cute one for youself?

Excellent souvenirs with great price (10-20% cheaper than major shopping complexes). Rattan products and pearls are really unique products here.

Local fruits and vegetables- ferns (upper left), Tenom pamelo (upper right), Beaufort lime (lower left) and jackfruit. Our recommendation, you should try Beaufort lime and Tenom pamelo, as you won't be able to get them outside of Sabah. About the fern, or paku in local, you can try them in local restaurants.

Freshly roasted Tenom Coffee for sale. The coffee beans are roasted using red woods.

The fountain marks the halfway of the market. Many people like to take a short half-time rest here. There are several kopitiam (Chinese style coffee house) along the street. You can stop at anyone of them for a rest as well.

The market starts as early as 5 am. Well, we don't have to beat the market by waking up at 4 am, as the market is open until 12 pm. Anyway, 8 to 8:30 am might be a good time to start our exploration, to avoid hot and sweating weather. An umbrella might not be a good idea, due to the massive crowd there. Do take care of your own belongings as well. One to two hours might be sufficient for us to make a round trip.

Photo taken at Gaya Street Pasar Tamu (Gaya Street Market) around 8 a.m. with large crowd moving around the main street. The stall right behind us put a lot of local fruit trees on sales.

Btw, there is another pasar tamu at Donggongon. However the market is smaller with less variety of things than Gaya Street Sunday Market. The only good thing about pasar tamu at Donggongon is we can get a lot of fresh local fruits and vegetables there. Photo shows the local pumpkins (upper left) and durians (lower left) available in the market. Donggongon market is far away from city centre and not favorable to tourists, but it attracts the surrounding locals.

If you wish to stay in KK and save some expenses on accomodation, here are some hotels which have excellent location with medium charges.

[Shopping in KK] [Hotels in KK] [All Our Destinations]


  1. The egg tart shop in Wisma Merdeka is closed. We couldn't find it anymore.

  2. Suria Shopping Centre is gaining more attention as more shops are opened. In our recent visit, almost all the shoplots are occupied. It might be a good place for shopping now!
    Despite poorly planned, the indoor parking space was ample with reasonable rate- RM2.50 for first three hours and RM0.50 for subsequent hour on weekdays. For weekends, same rate applied for first three and RM1.00 for subsequent hour.