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8 places to explore within Kota Kinabalu

8 places to explore within Kota Kinabalu

After 3 years of not setting foot in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, we decided to go for a 2 weeks family trip.

Instead of visiting those heavily advertised recommended touristy attractions, we decided to explore, discover and check out places recommended by local instead.

How did we do this? By asking around of course!.

  1. Visit Tipsy Asi for that amazing sunset experience
Tipsy Asi

Since the weather is a little unpredictable during our time in Sabah, we went a little late to Tipsy Asi as it was drizzling earlier in the day.

Great for hangout!

Although we didn’t get to catch the beautiful evening sunset as suggested by many, we still manage to capture partial visuals of KK city at night – and it was beautiful!

The actual view is even more beautiful

Tipsy Asi was beautifully set up at the top of the hill. You will be intimidated at first as you drive up to the location where you need to drive through narrow and small inner roads as it is located in a village.

Nicely lit up here!

If you are going there at night, make sure to drive slowly as you go uphill as there are no street lights in the inner roads. You would also need to rely on your GPS and good car lights.

If you are unsure on how to get here, make sure you get your local host to drive you instead.

Great for group hangout!

Once you reached Tipsy, you will be wowed by the chillax ambience, entertaining music and array of drinks and menus to choose from.

Do try the Bambangan Pizza from M2 Kitchen at Tipsy Asi.

2. Check out Lorong Dewan for chillax places

There were some new café outlets within Jalan Gaya itself (notably one called, Moginum). that we neglected Lorong Dewan which was just opposite the street.

Catchy name for an outlet.

We kid you not, there were few gems to discover here! Back in those days there were hardly any hipsters place to hang out here. You can only find old printing shops.

Nook Cafe
Mammasita – Mexican cuisine
October Coffee
Inside October Coffee
Beautiful mural for a 70s inspired theme outlet
Crafts class in progress at Art Attic
Handmade cards
Beautiful bags

While you are at the location, do check out the Art Attic, October Coffee, Nook, Sharikat Biru Biru, El Centro and Mamasita (Mexican).

Little Sulap
Little Sulap
Yummy food from Little Sulap

Nevertheless, we went to Little Sulap for lunch and the food is still good as ever.

3. Eat Seafood at Welcome or Waterfront (opposite Promenade Hotel)

During our first night in Kota Kinabalu, we went to Welcome Seafood outlet near Asia City for a good seafood meal. And we would always come back to the outlet because the food is not only good and fresh but also reasonably priced too.

Since we wanted to check out other seafood outlets in Kota Kinabalu, we discovered yet another worthy place to check out!

Another seafood place worth to visit are the rows of shop at the Waterfront located just opposite the Promenade Hotel. You will be spoilt for choices here. Rows and rows of fishes, clams, prawns, lobsters, seaweed, you name it!

A word of advise, do check the prices and choices of sea produce (compare them from outlet to outlet) before settling which vendor to go for. During this trip, we decided to go to this outlet (Dayangku).

This grilled fish (Belawis fish) is a MUST try!

4. Check out the Night Market at Gaya Street/Near Promenade

Apart from the usual famous Gaya Street market on Sundays (8am – 1pm), new in the itinerary of must go places to visit in Kota Kinabalu will be the night markets .

Upcycle products from Gaya Street market – Little pouches made from sweets wrappers, plastics.
Beautiful crystal bracelets from Valiant Beads.

The night markets are only available from Friday to Sunday evenings (5pm – 12am) where there are many food stalls with mouthwatering food and drinks that you will be spoilt with choices.

Gaya Street Market
Huge avocados at one of the night market stalls!

There are TWO Night Markets in Kota Kinabalu. One is at Gaya Street and the other one is just nearby after the Promenade Hotel. Do get your local host to bring you here.

5. When you are in KK – must eat BORENOS!

My kind of chicken – BORENOS!
Chicken rice ala Borenos

This is not a paid advert. But honestly, when we first took that bite of Borenos, we will never look at KFC the same way again. You must have Borenos when you are in Kota Kinabalu.

6. Check out Salt X Paper

Located at the same row as Tong Hing Supermarket, check out the creative works of young artists at this quaint craft shop.

Salt X Pepper
Lovely prints!
Kitty sticker
Lovely handmade products
Cute pin from Salt X Pepper

7. Cool chillax at Tujou

If you love chilling out with good company – head on to Tujou at Bandaran Berjaya. The ground floor is for indoor casual dining whereas the 1st floor is mostly serving both alcohol and non alcohol drinks for those who wish to enjoy their company in open air.

Not for adults – for kids yes!
Lovely food from Tujou
Photos of Tujou’s visitors from all the world

8. Pretty Murals in town

Sabahans are creative. Check out some of the art works we have discovered.

Mural by Kenji Chai

Goodbye for now Kota Kinabalu. We will be back again – soon!

Thank you to our host Zera and Laila for bringing us around during our last few days stay in town.