Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

We collected some information about hotels across Kota Kinabalu city area in Dec 2010.

Those hotels have excellent accessibility to most major attractions: Warisan Kampung Air Food Court (Shuang Tian Seafood Centre is one of shop there), Kampung Air Sunday Market (Pasar Tamu), Jesselton Point (Jetty to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park), and shopping centres such as Warisan Square, Centre Point, Merdeka Square, Sinsuran, and Segama. Our another focus- middle room rates.

We found some confusion about the real street address with the one that shown on google map. We decided to take the real street address as our reference. The information at respective hotels' webpage should be taken as final.

* represents promotion rates.

Room Rate:
Single RM108; Double RM138; Superior Twin RM158

9 and 10, Jln. Pasar Baru, Kampung Air.


Free Breakfast, Air-cond, Satellite TV, IDD phone, Free Wifi connection, etc.

Located just around 100 m away from Centre Point, Warisan Square, and seaside. Has a nice clean lobby.

Hotel Traveller
No official Wesite. Please visit Tripadvisor for more info.

Room Rate:
Single Queen RM68-75; Double RM85; Family 3P RM89; Family 4P RM99.

27 and 28, Jln. Tugu, Kampung Air.


Air-cond, Satellite TV, Wifi Connection (not sure it's free or not), etc.

Remark: This hotel really looks good on the outside. The lobby is clean. The inside, however, have two different extreme comments from reviewers @ tripadvisor.

Room Rate:
Courtroom RM200; Superior RM220; Deluxe RM255

Ground Floor, Block D Warisan Square, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens


Aircond, internet access (not sure it's free or not), in room safe.

This hotel has excellent location, inside Warisan Square, few steps away from Centre Point and seaside. However, with the room rates above RM200, we might be able to get a better room from better hotels around KK.

Room Rate:
Deluxe RM208/*RM158

Same row, same building with Imperial International Hotel.



Excellent location, cheaper than Imperial International Hotel.

Room Rate:
Superior RM250/*RM148; Superior Deluxe RM270/*168; Deluxe RM320/*RM188

Lot 21, First Floor, Block A, Warisan Square, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens (Same row, same building with Imperial International Hotel.)


Excellent location

Room Rate:
Standard RM150; Deluxe RM 170; Superior RM180; Family RM230

23, Jln. Haji Saman.


Air-cond, Satellite TV.

This hotel is located just opposite of Wisma Merdeka- one of the major shopping complexes in Kota Kinabalu. It is very near to the new built Suria shopping centre, Jesselton Point, and Kampung Air Sunday Market. The ground floor, Little Italy- the best Italian food you can get in KK.

Hotel Full Hua

Room Rate:
Superior Double RM80-90; Twin RM90; Family RM120

Jln. Tugu, Kampung Air


Air-cond, TV, free Wifi connection, satellite TV, etc.

It is a "typical-China-man-hotel". Located in the heart of the city.

Room Rate:
Single RM68; Twin RM78; Deluxe Double RM78; Family RM98.

No. 12, Jalan Pasar Baru, Kampung Air (opposite Centre Point).


Air-cond, Free Wifi connection, etc.

This hotel is located at the heart of the city, less than 5 minutes walk to the seaside, opposite of Centre Point, and 15 minutes from many other attractions. Has a brand new look, lobby at 2nd floor.

Please note that we have never stayed in these hotels before. We listed these hotel simply because of their attractive rates vs. their location.

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]

Food Around Kota Kinabalu

KK is never lack of nice food. A buffet dinner at Promenade might be one of them. The buffet was nice, western, eastern, local, Japanese style, BBQ etc. However, we got some negative feedbacks from our friends, saying the quality of the food there was compromised. Well, advice for all, take a look first at the site and let your intuition free for a wise decision.

Another one before the locals' roll into our list- Little Italy. Located on the ground floor of Capital Hotel opposite Merdeka Shopping Complex. Little Italy serves nice food in Italian style. Well, might because of the uniqueness of food, so did the price (really expensive, at least for Malaysian, with RM 35++ per person per meal).

Buffet dinner at Promenade Hotel with Betty's sisters, from left Katty (youngest), Betty, Jenny, and Nancy (younger). It is one of the best venue for buffet in KK. Promenade Hotel is located adjacent to the coast line of KK township. Our last visit for buffet dinner was in December 2008.

Nice environment in Little Italy. We visited the restaurant twice, the latest was in December 2009, when this photo was taken with full Chrismas gears.

If we visit KK, the best food that we shall not miss is the local seafood. The seafood, great varieties, good restaurants with good locations, and most of them are low in price (comparatively). Can you imagine, in Nov 2009, crabs with RM 40 per Kg in West Malaysia was sold with RM 8 per Kg in the restaurant there (RM8.50 per Kg on Dec 2010)? Sweet sour prawn with chilli was RM 15 per Kg, that's cheaper than the frozen prawn sold in Hypermarket!

We went to several places to try the seafood, including Sri Mutiara at Kampung Air Food Court (Formerly known as Asia City Food Centre or Sedco Complex). Sri Mutiara is easier to access from city center. Located at Asia City, it just takes about 5 minutes walk from Centre Point.

Supertanker and Welcome Restaurant at Grand Industrial Phase 2, off Bundusan Road, Penampang are a distance away from city area, where you might need somebody to drive you there. We tried a new opening seafood restaurant at Asia City Complex (cannot recall the name for now) recently, and our conclusion, all the chefs really know how to cook!

Fresh seafood in front of the Sri Mutiara, ready to be picked personally. Crabs with RM 8 per Kg, lobster, RM 15, and fish with attractive prices.

Photo taken in front of one of the restaurant. We went to Sri Mutiara Restaurant (nearer to my side @ Asia City) rather than Twin Sky, as the price at Twin Sky was a little bit higher that night. The price for seafood might be varied from time to time, from one restaurant to another. So, always keep in mind to check for the price before we step into any of the seafood restaurant.

Seafood @ Sri Mutiara Restaurant, Asia City, KK. Asia City is just 5 minutes away of Centre Point by foot.

Other places for nice food in Kota Kinabalu, we tried nice laksa (curry flavoured noodle with some special spices), kolok noodle, wantan noodle at some kopitiam around KK (especially around Kampung Air area). Few of them, average, and many of them, nice.

Taking Sarawak's noodles in Sabah? Taste was ok, but not quite similar to those in Sarawak. On the right, kolok mee (top) and laksa (bottom). In Malaysia, mee means noodle. In KK, we could always take a sit in kopitiams (coffee shops) at take a sip of kopi-O (coffee with sugar) with noodles. There are many kopitiams in KK. The one showed in the photo is at Kampung Air (Kedai Kopi Kinabalu).

Oh, just a personal advice from us, don't touch the japanese food in KK. We tried two of them, one on the very top floor of Centre Point offered very attractive "low cost" food, while another one in Asia City Complex, expensive.

One of the Japanese Restaurant at Asia City Complex, offered expensive but not so tasty food. The sashimi showed on top right cost RM 18++. Expensive!!! And the taste, no much different from Sushi King. So, why not Sushi King (cheaper indeed)?

A view inside the Japanese restaurant.

So, our personal opinion, we should concentrate on local food, especially the seafood in KK. Well, that's about the food. How about shopping in Kota Kinabalu?

Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Sabah

Run by Sabah Wildlife Department, Lok Kawi is an amusing park, with well tended animals and happy visitors. The park covers an area of 280 acres of land with more than 100 species of animals. Attached to the park is a botanical garden set up by Sabah Forestry Department.

The wildlife park is 25 km away from Kota Kinabalu City Centre. The best way to visit the park is by joining local tour. Taking taxi or rent a car might be a good option as well. The road access to the park is well maintained.

This is the third time we went to the park, and, it's getting better. We really like the animals there, they simply looked happy with abundant food in front of them.

If you ask how to define "happy"? We would like to relate "happy" to "active". Many animals were active in their exhibits during our visit. Borneo pygmy elephants that were showing their talents simply like they were on "Lok Kawi Idol's Show", sun bears, climbing, Malayan tigers, deers, ostrich, cassowary, as well as the otters that moving around, and ever swinging Orang Utans and Gibbons.

A deer-on-a-bath (upper left), Borneo pygmy elephant was trying to move as close to the visitors as possible (upper right), baby orang utan saying "hi" (lower left), and a naughty sun bear was trying to turn around at the corner of a climbing toy.

"Would they ever stop swinging?" That's the question that you might ask the gibbons (upper left). Otters family have a nice pool to swim, as well as plenty of grassland to rest after a tiring swim (upper right). Banteng (lower right) and Ankole laid peacefully under the shades of trees and huts, looking at each others, like saying, "hey dude, see, we are so popular over here...."

Never forget, the silent hunter in stripes. They will only be super electrified by food. So, don't miss the great show on the tiger's feeding time at 2:05 pm.

Proboscis, the species of monkey that only available in Borneo, are really well fed in the park (left). Ringtail Lemurs of Madagascar beside the Proboscis keep talking to each other.

A thumb up to the aviary, as well as the exhibits for the serval, sun bear, malayan tiger, gibbon, and otter. The reptile house is quite small. However, it is clean and well maintained. The canteen is small with little choice of food that is just enough for a light snack.

Ticket counter (upper left) and canteen (upper right) of the park. Almost all the exhibits have their own roofed observation platform (lower left). The observation platform for serval is really unique.

Reptile house (left) and the entrance of the aviary (right).

Our photo inside the aviary.

Many species of birds available in the aviary.

Betty and her sister, Katty at the elephants' exhibit.

The botanical garden located at the end of the wildlife park. The garden was not so organized. Shaded by the forest canopy, the plants there were not thriving. The only better part was the fernarium. The ferns were well grown during our visit.

The garden assigned for ferns.

Our advice, apply some mosquito repellent before you visit the park. Try your best to be early, to avoid stinging sunlight. Sufficient water supply, hat, and sport shoes guarantee a more comfort visit.

The park opens 9:30 am - 5:30 pm everyday. Entrance fee for adult and visitors below 18 years old are RM10 and RM5 respectively for Malaysian. For non-Malaysian are RM20 and RM10 respectively. Entrance is free for senior citizen above 60 and handicapped visitors.

Please plan your visit as the animal shows are on 11 am and 3:15 pm. The animal feeding sessions span from 10:20 am to 2:35 pm, not to miss is the feeding of Malayan Tigers at 2:05 pm.

As a full round of the park might takes few hours, a light snack at the canteen might be a good idea. On the way back from the park, you can spare some time on Sabah State Museum (will take around 1 hour 30 minutes for a complete tour) and get your feet wet at Tanjung Aru beach on your way back to your hotel. A dinner at Tanjung Aru is a good idea.

After the close touch with the nature, let's go back to city centre for the food around KK.

[Kota Kinabalu] [Lok Kawi Wildlife Park] [Food around KK]

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu (KK) or Api-Api, capital of Sabah, is Betty's hometown. KK formerly known as Jesselton, was established by British North Borneo Company. The city, is a good escape for a relaxing holiday- beautiful beaches with great panorama, first class hotels (of course we stay in our own house), shopping centers with ongoing deals and bargains, clean streets, and nice food all fall unto one city. Stressed and need a relieve? The sea breeze sweeping the city 24 hours per day, free of charge is simply refreshing. The beaches, long coast-line at the edge of the city, nature beauty sites such as Tuanku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and Lok Kawi Wildlife Park will surely cure a ladened soul.

Tanjung Aru Beach, one of the most beautiful seaside around KK. There are some food stalls along the beach.

KK is a clean and well planned city. It is a hub to many other places around, such as Mount Kinabalu, TAR Park, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, and inland townships. KK now is a safer place (compares to around many years ago), as strict government policy has diminished the number of illegal immigrants.

A walk down to well known Gaya Street from Tugu Road, you will see few rows of shoplots with many budget hotels and food outlets (upper left), then a small well embellished garden in front of the high court building (upper right), an arch in front of the city council (lower right), and lastly, Malaysia Memorial Park at the entrance of Gaya Street.

Jesselton Hotel, fountains, Sabah Tourism Board, and Borneo Backpackers are the landmarks that we can see around Gaya Street.

Tun Razak Road, one of the main roads in KK city centre, a block away from seaside (left). The road to Promenade Hotel and Marina Condo is just a few steps away from seaside, which is located on the right side of the photo. Most of the roads in KK city is completed with alleys for pedestrian.

Beauty of nature is not the only thing that makes KK a glittering star, we need to add in nice food, shopping centres, rich culture, and a wide range of hotels. We travel to KK quite frequently (at least once a year). So, our sharing might be more focussed on some of the places of interest in KK.

After our last visit to KK during Dec 2010, we would like to bring to you Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, food around Kota Kinabalu, shopping in Kota Kinabalu, and some of the medium hotels around the city area.

Please click here and we will bring you to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.