This suggested itinerary comprises of a 5 day 4 nights tour to the rustic town of Kota Kinabalu. The capital of the beautiful Sabah state, the journey takes you to see the historical, tropical as well as exciting part of this urban town. Famous for its exciting cultural background and exotic nature, this is truly a destination you do not want to miss.
- Klias Wetland River Cruise
- Rasa Ria Orang Utan Reserve
- Yayasan Sabah Tower
- Floating Mosque
- Poh Toh Tze Temple
- Handicraft Market
- Seafood Market
- Signal Hill
- Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
- Mari Mari Cultural Village
- Kipandi Butterfly Park
- Rafflesia Information Centre
- Mahua Waterfall
- Filipino Market
- Monsopiad Cultural Village
Day 1: Arrival – Klias Wetland
Arrive in the magnificent town of Kota Kinabalu in the early hours of the morning. Take in the sights, sound and beauty of the urban metropolis, and proceed to the hotel for check in. The rest of the morning is free-and-easy.
After lunch, proceed to the country-side town of Kota Klias, located 120 kilometres south from the hustle and bustle of the state capital Kota Kinabalu. The town is a distinct contrast from the busy city centre. The journey will brings one across scenic views of local settlements and villages, vast fields of greenery and a glimpse at the quiet, laidback countryside of Sabah. Upon arrival, unwind from the long journey with prepared high tea session of simple local munchies and refreshments, then head on out for the river cruise. Board the boat and embark on a journey of wildlife discovery, adventure seeking and enjoyment. As the raft cruises along the mangrove forests of the Klias Wetlands Reserve river banks, take the opportunity to see various kinds of Sabahan wildlife. Witness the wonderful and rare array of mammals like the long tail macaques, silver languor monkeys, proboscis monkey and exotic birds like eagles and the elusive Kingfisher. As darkness embraces you, stay very still and begin to see the magical and luminous flickering of magic dust fill the sky – nature’s light, the fireflies. Watch it dance and decorate the river banks, and be amazed by this lovely spectacle that only nature can produce. On a good day, one can even spot the nocturnal animals such as the fruit bat and the flying fox. Pack adequately with mosquito repellent and binoculars for a more entertaining and safe trip.
Once the cruise ends, head back to the jetty for a wholesome and delicious dinner – poultry, beef and meats marinated with sauce and spices, steamed hot rice, cooked potatoes and an array of steaming hot vegetables to fill your platter. Once you’ve had you dinner, take the transfer back to Kota Kinabalu town and return to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 2: Rasa Ria Orang Utan Reserve – KK City Tour
After a hearty breakfast, start the day by meeting the tour guide at the hotel lobby for pick-up. A transfer is arranged to the Rasa Ria Resort, which is approximately 50 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu. Once arrived, proceed for registration. After that, be seated at the Nature Resort Club, whom will showcase a short video presentation on the Orang Utan Reserve.
Once done, an employee of the club will kindly guide the tour through a simple briefing, and introduction of the vicinity, in which the tour then moves on for a walk along nature’s path. Visitors are given the opportunity to get up close and personal with Borneo’s most prized and favorite animal – the Orang Utan. This is a wonderful opportunity to understand and observe the feeding behaviors and see the Orang Utan in its natural habitat. Visitors can also take pictures with these fascinating creatures. The Orang Utan are ranked as some of the most intellectual creatures in the primate family, and are able to utilize complicated tools, build and construct their own homes (a nest made out of leaves, twig and branches) and have sophisticated communication and breeding calls. They also have a rather reddish-brown appearance, which is different from the darker-toned brown and black relatives like apes and gorillas.
In the afternoon, proceed to visit the Yayasan Sabah Tower, the tallest building in Kota Kinabalu. Formally known as Menara Tun Mustapha or the Sabah Foundation Building, this 30 storey circular glass marvel of architecture was built in 1977. It towers above the city of Kota Kinabalu at 122 meters across the Sabah skyline, and is one of the few hanging type structures in the world. Then, head over to Likas, to see the Floating Mosque, one of the few unique floating Islamic houses of worship in Malaysia. The structure in itself is a sight to behold, as the perfect symphony of sea and light reflects its pearl white shadow onto the surrounding man-made lagoon. The mosque is also the largest in Kota Kinabalu, with a prayer hall that can accommodate up to 12,000 people.
The next attraction in your travel itinerary should be the Poh Toh Tze Temple. The magnificent Buddhist temple is popular to many of the local Chinese worshippers, with its vividly carved rooftops imbued with elegant Eastern culture, as well as the pillars and walls that have a distinct Chinese flavor. Inside the compounds lay 10 large statues of dainties – including the Goddess of Mercy who welcomes all who enters the temple. After the temple tour ends, make your way to the Handicraft Market, where you can get great bargains at the selection of stalls selling interesting and skilfully crafted items, from bags to jewellery to artistic works of art. The market itself is housed within a wooden structure, with unique pointed arches that juts out of its main building. This is a perfect place to get mementos and gifts for your loved ones. Another market included in the tour is the Seafood Market, where one can find an array of fresh seafood for sale at discounted prices. Situated only next to the jetty, one can still see the fresh catches of the day being unloaded, and hives of people flocking to purchases the best of the best. Give a go at haggling, or simply indulge in the pleasure of seeing the interesting and lively catches that are brought to shore.
After that, proceed onwards to Signal Hill – a hilltop point which gives you a birds’ eye view of the panoramic Kota Kinabalu city skyline, its vast surrounding greenery and exotic tropical islands. The hill is the highest point in Kota Kinabalu, and is also a perfect spot to enjoy sunset. Right after, proceed for a sumptuous dinner in the town of Kota Kinabalu and enjoy the sights and sounds as dusk approaches.
After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
|Floating Mosque||Rasa Ria Orang Utan Reserve|
Day 3: Lok Kawi Wildlife Park – Mari Mari Cultural Village
After breakfast, head over to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, a vast forest reserve along the Penampang-Papar road. It includes a vast land of 280 acres, which are split into the Botanical and Zoological component. On the zoological component, visitors can see the many rare and near-extinct animals in their natural habitat, like the Proboscis monkey and Orang Utan, the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Malayan Tigers and numerous types of deer species. Get up close with these wonderful creatures and enjoy the scenery of the tropical rainforest at the same time. The botanical component, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to embrace one’s adventurous side, and take a journey of discovery along a 1.4 kilometre paved trail that features the famed pitcher plant and other types of flora. Along the path, gaze upon the spectacular disterocarp trees that grow in abundance in the area.
Moving on, proceed to the Mari Mari Cultural Village, which is approximately 25 minutes away. Enjoy the scenic view of vast greenery and blue painted skies as you hit the road. Once the tour approaches village entrance, be welcomed by the sight of ancient Borneo architecture, and take a step back in time of days of old. Be dazzled by the authentic wooden towers, distinct wooden houses and structures decorated by nature. Take the opportunity to experience the different lifestyles of different indigenous tribes of Sabah. Blend in and see the culture like it really is. The houses here are all built by generations of Sabah native tribesmen, and are different in terms of style and design, each representing their own tribe. You can also visit the replica huts and see the daily routines of the olden Borneo natives come to life. Have a go at blowpipe making, fire-starting, and understand tribal tattoos to learn the mythical meanings behind each symbol. Also get a chance to see how the locals make vests out of tree husks, and also experience the traditional dance atop the ‘Lataran’ or traditional woven trampoline like floor. Also not forgetting are the various Sabahan delicacies that one will get to try, like the Montoku or rice wine, steamed rice and fish as well as vegetables cooked using bamboo shoots. Embrace the warm hospitality and partake in the cultural performances by the tribe representatives.
After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
|Mari Mari Cultural Village||Lok Kawi Wildlife Park|
Day 4: Kipandi Butterfly Park – Rafflesia Information Centre – Mahua Waterfall – Filipino Market
Start the day with a wholesome breakfast, and begin the day with a meet at the hotel lobby. Proceed for a transfer to the district of Tambunan, which has the densest Dusun population in all of Borneo. Embark on a ride along the scenic Crocker Range, with its winding roads and vast decorated greenery. Take a moment to escape the life of the city and enjoy the serene country side, its fresh air and the clear blue sky.
The first stop is the Kipandi Butterfly Park. Feel the sounds of nature and be greeted by the sweet chirping of birds and the cascading music of the insects. Upon entrance of the farm, enjoy a journey of exploration and be up close and personal with the graceful fluttering butterflies of all shapes and sized. Be awed by the majestic and rare Rajah Brooks, and mesmerized by the alluring Golden Birdwings. Take a moment to visit the Insect Museum as well as the Native Plants Collection Park, and see the vast collection of preserved bugs as well as endangered species of orchids and the famed pitcher plant.
After that, proceed to the Rafflesia Information Centre to see the famed and pride of Malaysia, the Rafflesia. Register at the reception and be led by the friendly local guide, who will take the tour along the rainforest trails to see the real life Rafflesia up close. Coined as the largest flower in the world, its surface diameter is 100 centimetres and is one of the rare carnivorous plants in the region. Moving on, enjoy a packed lunch at a nature hut down by the intersection of the forest reserve, and feel the cool forest air, as the sight, sounds and the calmness of the forest accompanies your simple meal.
Once you’ve had your fill, proceed onwards to the Mahua Waterfall in the town of Tambunan, an hour’s drive away from the park. Take a short 500 metre hike across the dense forest trails and you will be greeted by the breathtaking view of the waterfall. Have a chilling dip in the clear waters, relax by the shores and enjoy the slow cascading falls.
For dinner and a good bargain, a trip to the Filipino Market which offers a huge variety of cheap food is a must. The famous market is known to sell items like coconuts, noodles and seafood; handicrafts as well as souvenirs like fold out tables and rattan baskets. Above the din of haggling, take the opportunity to see the Sabah lifestyle at its core and watch how the locals go about their day to day routine. Shop at your own pace and be sure to purchase some dried seafood.
After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
Day 5: Monsopiad Cultural Village – Departure
After a hearty breakfast, the day starts with a rendezvous at the hotel lobby with the tour guide. After that, proceed for a transfer to the town of Penampung to visit the exclusive home of the Kadazan tribe – Monsopiad Cultural Village. The journey is approximately 20 minutes from Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival meet up with the local guide who will provide an introduction of the vicinity and offer welcome refreshments.
The tour will go through a series of Kadazan style folk-houses. Here, visit the mythical shrine-house of the Monsopiad descendents. Inside the house are 42 skulls – bones of the warrior’s foes that were slain in battle. It is a custom where the warrior keeps his enemy’s skulls as a memento and show of strength. Be mesmerized by the mysterious and enchanted Kadazan ancient cultures, and witness the 300 year old grandiose monolith that the Monsopiads planted. Take the chance to marvel at the original model of the common Kadazan native house, in which it is made solely using natural materials – solid palm tree wood for its body and bamboo for its roofs. There will also be a showcase of the cultural activities performed daily by the Kadazan tribe. Take your time to get to learn more about the native lifestyle, and taste the famous locally produced ‘Tuak’ or rice wine.
Proceed then to the theatre for a special Cultural Dance performance, showcases a myriad of cultural performances as local tribesmen and tribeswoman don their traditional costumes. This is truly a show not to be missed.
After that, pack up your belongings and head on home, taking along with you the beautiful memories of the lovely city of Kota Kinabalu.
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|Recommended Hotels in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah:|
|Gaya Centre Hotel (3 stars)|
|One of the most popular and highly rated hotel in the city centre.|
|Horizon Hotel Kota Kinabalu (4 stars)|
|Located in the city centre within walking distance to city attractions.|
|The Pacific Sutera (5 stars)|
|Suitable for family vacation with onsite golf course and kids club.|
|Hyatt Regency Kinabalu Hotel (5 stars)|
|Located near to the waterfront and major attractions in the city.|
|Related Sabah Tours & Packages
|Mari Mari Cultural Village Tour|
|Filipino Market & KK City Tour|
|Rasa Ria Orang Utan Encounter Tour|
|Klias Wetland River Cruise|
|Browse all tours in Sabah >>|