Itinerary Highlight:

The tour is a 5 day 4 night journey of amazement to the heart of the beautiful Sabah state – its capital, Kota Kinabalu. Feel the spirit of adventure fill the air through adrenaline pumping activities, breathtaking scenery, delicious food and an array of tranquil islands. Be dazzled by the hospitality of Sabahan and see the historical and cultural aspects of the different cities – from metropolitan to peaceful villages. Visit the highest Mountain in South East Asia – the Mt. Kinabalu and explore the exotic flora and fauna. Kota Kinabalu is truly a destination you do not want to miss.

Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival – Kota Kinabalu City Tour – Tanjung Aru Beach – Seafood Dinner

Arrive in the early morning at the Kota Kinabalu Airport (BKI). Gather luggage and shake of the tired feathers before proceeding to the entrance. Proceed for pickup from the airport terminal and head to the alluring town of Kota Kinabalu for breakfast.

After breakfast, proceed for a half day city tour to various landmarks of Kota Kinabalu.

The tour starts with the Yayasan Sabah Tower, the tallest building in the city of Kota Kinabalu. The structure, known as Menara Tun Mustapha or the Sabah Foundation Building, is a 30 storey circular glass marvel of architecture. Constructed in 1977, it towers 122 meters across the Sabah skyline, and is one of the few hanging type structures in the world. Visitors can marvel at the modern architecture and take breathtaking photos of the scenic view. 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. Visitors can also don a traditional Malays garment and see the various hallways, as well as take the opportunity to learn more about Islam.

After lunch, proceed towards the Poh Toh Tze Temple. The magnificent Buddhist temple is popular to many of the local Chinese worshipers, 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 Goodness of Mercy who welcomes all who enters the temple. After the temple tour ends, proceed to the Handicraft Market, where one can get great bargains at the selection of stalls selling interesting and skillfully crafted items, from bags to jewelry 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 one 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 a perfect spot to take a wonderful group photo and the excellent time visitors are having on the journey.

After that, head back to the hotel for check-in and for some quality relaxing time. Refresh and unwind from the busy morning.

In the evening, head on to the Tanjung Aru Beach. Stretching at over 2 kilometers long the serene beachfront of white sand and warm tropical sun makes it a wonderful setting for relaxation. Choose to take a brisk walk along the beach or bask under the warm rays of the sunlight. Feel the breeze caress your cheeks and listen to the rhythmic echoes as the waves hit the shores. As the sun begins to set into the sleepy ocean, watch the blue skies turn to a silhouette of faint darkness, with a luminous glow of orange, red and yellow that shines bright across the beach.

After the sunset, proceed to the Asia City Complex for a taste of the local seafood scene. Dig into fresh catches of fresh prawns, red snappers, squid and other amazing delicacies that will sure tingle your taste buds.

Head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest and the seafood dinner.

Floating Mosque Kota Kinabalu Sunset in Tanjung Aru Beach
floating mosque kota kinabalu Tanjung Aru Beach sunset

Day 2: Poring Hot Spring – Tagal Fish Spa – Desa Cattle Farm

After a hearty breakfast in the hotel, proceed to the district of Kundasang.

At the town of Tamparuli, visit the local food stalls for brunch. Here, have a taste of the renowned Mee Tuaran. The dish is known as the golden noodles of Sabah, a perfect combination of yellow egg-noodles cooked with delicious egg roll slices, roasted pork and vegetables, to give it that aromatic and tender flavor.

After the sumptuous brunch, continue your journey to the Poring Hot Spring. Opt to venture to the Treetop Canopy Walk. A brisk 20 minute walk takes one up a series of suspension bridges spread at the top of the tropical rainforest. These forests are home to the Menggaris Tree – also known as the King of the Forest. At 41 metres above the ground and spanning 157 metres in length, one can take in the sights and sounds of the Borneo jungle as they embrace the beauty of the wilderness. Moving on, immerse in the warm waters of Poring Hot Springs which are rich in sulphuric minerals. The natural spring water, which has a very positive and therapeutic effect stimulates the body and helps ease muscle aches and. The word ‘Poring’ originates from the Kadazandusun name for a tall bamboo plant that grows bountifully in that area.

Thereafter, proceed to Kampung Luanti for a fish massage or fish spa at the Tagal Fish Spa. The therapeutic method of fish feeding uses the special breed of Malaysian Mahseer that is trained by the village locals to feed on dead skin and rough pores. This special session has the ability to give visitors smoother and more vibrant skin, and is even more effective for those who suffer from psoriasis. After a recuperative session, proceed to the Desa Cattle Farm. The landmark is close to nature, situated near the Mesilau Nature Resort. Visitors can marvel at the vast fields of lush green vegetation and herds after herds of cattle roaming freely in search of green pastures. One can see the processes of dairy farms – including feeding, milking of cows at the ranch, as well as visit the calf pen to see the younglings. There are also fresh milk cartons on sale, together with throngs of trinkets, souvenirs and gifts at the gift store for memories.

After a full day of fruitful tour, proceed to a nearby restaurant for a sumptuous dinner. Take an early rest in the hotel after dinner.

Canopy walk at Poring Hot Spring Tagal Fish Spa
canopy walk at poring hot spring Tagal Fish Spa

Day 3: Kinabalu Park – Rumah Terbalik

At the break of dawn, rise and shine to the glorious sight of a sunrise at Mount Kota Kinabalu. Feel romance in the air, and savor the picturesque moment in awe. This is the best moment of the day to capture the beautiful view of Mount Kinabalu (in good weather).

After that, head to the dining hall for a hearty breakfast. Proceed to visit the Kinabalu Park after breakfast.

Enjoy the magnificent allure of Mount Kinabalu, the tallest peak in South East Asia, its towering peak high above the clouds. Arrive at the Kinabalu Park Headquarters, and take a quiet stroll along the natural trails of the Botanical Gardens, and feel the refreshing air caress your cheeks. Kinabalu Park is home to an estimated 4,500 species of flora and fauna – including 1,500 genre of orchids (77 of which are endemic to Kinabalu), 326 birds’ species, 290 different types of butterflies and around 100 different kinds of mammals. Then, take a tour to the Mountain Garden and Exhibition Hall. Here alternatives are given to explore the different trails around Kinabalu Park. A guided tour will lead one across a series of forest treks, in which they will be able to see the various kinds of plants cultivated within the garden grounds like the exclusive pitcher plant, various herbs and spices and medicinal flora. Before leaving, make a brief stop at the Park Headquarters Office to receive a World Heritage Site Certificate.

Mount Kinabalu summit

The summit of Mount Kinabalu from far

After visited the UNESCO World heritage inscribed Kinabalu Park, proceed to a nearby restaurant for a sumptuous lunch.

After lunch, head back onwards Tamparuli town to the unique architecture known as ‘Rumah Terbalik’ or the Upside Down House. The first of its kind in South East Asia, it is among the seven such reversed structures in the world, and commands a great deal of interest due to its distinct construction methods. Opened since early 2012, the house is literally flipped ‘up-side down’, including the furniture, appliances and wardrobes that hang in backward positions over one’s head. Feel the disorientation kick in, as the walls become floors and vice versa, and right in the garage is an upside down car as well! Visitors will surely be fascinated by the uniqueness of the landmark.

Rumah Terbalik
rumah terbalik rumah terbalik

After the visit to Rumah Terbalik, head back to the city of Kota Kinabalu. Be welcomed by the scenic views of quaint villages, serene lakes and waterfronts as the coach heads on.

Upon arrival at the hotel, freshen up and have the rest of the day on free-and-easy. Take a leisurely stroll by the waterfront, explore the resort or take a walk to the nearby town to see the streets come alive at night. See the many stalls selling trinkets, accessories, souvenirs and the like at the local night market, before proceeding for a delectable dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. After that, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Day 4: Jesselton Point Jetty – Sapi Island – Manukan Island

Wake up to a wholesome breakfast at the hotel, and freshen up for the next adventure.

Next, head on to the Jesselton Point Jetty. Home to an array of harbored vassals and ferries, the landmark is a fantastic sight to behold, showcasing an incorporation of colonial as well as modern architectural design. The platform is built on stilts upon the ocean, and is home to all kinds of water sport service providers, and is also a perfect place for visitors to hire a boat for island hopping and tour the remote and tranquil islands around the continent. Visitors can also find several restaurants by the sea that offers excellent food and service. Take a brisk walk along the wooden paneled platforms, as one takes in the serene scenery of the blue ocean and the crimson red sunset. Watch the anchored vessels, yachts, steam ships and cargo vessels docked by the bay, lazily floating by the currents of the ocean.

Take the next available boat out to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. You should visit some of the most beautiful cluster of islands – Sapi Island and Manukan Island. A chartered speed boat is arranged to take visitors to the islands, which boast pristine shallow waters, rich coral gardens and fine, white sandy beaches. Take a dip into the crystal clear blue ocean or laze under the tropical sun with a book in hand, while listening to the soft echoes as the wave hits the shore. For those who prefer to just relax and unwind, then kick back and chill along the sandy beach, and bask in the warm rays of the tropical sun. Gears can be rented for snorkeling and diving activities, which gives visitors a breathtaking view of the beauty of the underwater world.

Manukan Island

Visitors snorkeling near to the beach in Manukan Island

At noon, enjoy a sumptuous BBQ lunch on the islands at the designated dinner hall. Unwind and rest the tired soul.

After lunch, continues with more options to snorkel by the shorelines, or simply just watch the waves brush against the shoreline in complete serenity. One can also have a go for scuba diving, as well as opt to partake in the various sea sports activities provided on the island (includes banana boat, parasailing, jet skiing and more).

After a relaxing island tour for the day, pack up your belongings and gather at the jetty. The boat will bring the group safely back to Jesselton Point Jetty, and proceed for a transfer to the hotel. Refresh and relax, as the rest of the evening is at free-and-easy.

Day 5: Kiulu River Rafting – Mari Mari Cultural Village

Wake up to a hearty breakfast at the hotel dining hall before proceed for a transfer to Kiulu River for the adrenaline filled whitewater rafting.

The journey takes about 1.5 hour on road. Along the way, be accompanied by the serene countryside landscape of paddy fields, villages and nature.

Upon arrival, the River Guide will proceed with a briefing and demonstration on the tools, equipment and safety measures during rafting, and most importantly the guide will explain the different levels of river rapids to look out for. After that, proceed to collect the provided rafting gear – helmets, life jackets and paddles.

Begin the rafting activity, which comprises of a total 9km river course down Kiulu River, taking up to 1hr 30 minutes subject to the strength of the currents and river conditions. It is good for beginners as it is not too rapid, and is just enough for one to enjoy the thrills. Experience the sensation and adrenaline pumping as visitors maneuver across the bumpy riverbeds at high speeds through steep and shallow waters, before finally making it to the final point. Take the occasional breather and be mesmerized by the natural views of the surrounding tropical rainforest, as visitors cruise down the various points along the Kiulu River rapids – Body Rafting, The Wall Rapid and Holy Smoke Rapid.

After the rafting activity, change into dry clothes and proceed for a delectable lunch provided along the Kiulu River.

After lunch, proceed to visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village, which is approximately 25 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city centre. On arrival to the village, visitors will 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. One 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.

Bamboo dance in Mari Mari Cultural Village The host preparing local Sabahan delicacies
Mari Mari Cultural Village Mari Mari cultural village

At the end of the tour in Mari Mari Cultural Village, your holiday in Sabah ends with a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport, where visitors take their respective flights to home sweet home, taking along the sweet memories of the tour with them.

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