From Mountains to Seas Here are the Best Things to do in Kota Kinabalu

things to do in kota kinabalu

There are places in the world that will not immediately strike you as beautiful. You have to immerse yourself in these kinds of places to appreciate its hidden charm. One such place is the coastal city of Kota Kinabalu, located in the state of Sabah in Malaysia.

It may not be instantly recognizable when you set foot on this place, but Kota Kinabalu has it all: from mountains to sunny beaches to friendly residents who have a very interesting culture. There are also things to do in Kota Kinabalu for everybody: food enthusiasts, trekkers, beach bums or just casual tourists who want to get a glimpse of Malaysian culture in this city rich in cultural and natural resources.

Things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Here are some suggested things to do in Kota Kinabalu, depending on your interests, with some tips on how best to enjoy these activities.

1. Conquer Mount Kinabalu

Conquering this 4,095-meter World Heritage Site is one of the most challenging things to do in Kota Kinabalu. The hike to the summit is said to be relatively easy, with some experienced hikers being able to reach it within a day. For those who are just new to hiking, it is suggested that the hike be scheduled for three days, to allow the body to acclimatize. Casual tourists can also to the botanical garden at the mountain’s base.

2. Witness cultural diversity at the Mari Mari Cultural Village

The best way to appreciate a place is to learn its ethnic culture. A visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village is therefore a worthwhile thing to do in Kota Kinabalu. This village is located at a forest area where five ethnic communities present in Sabah are showcased: the rice farmers of Dusun, the sea gypsies of Bajau, the fishermen of Lundayeh, the builders of Rungus and the hunters of Murut. Here you can learn about where they live and how they live, from their cooking practices to their traditional attires.

3. Get a glimpse of ancient history at the Sabah Museum

Another knowledge-filled thing to do in Kota Kinabalu, especially if you are a history buff, is to visit the Sabah Museum. This place provides a good introduction about Sabah’s ethnicities and environments, and is conveniently located at the heart of Kota Kinabalu. Expect to see traditional tribal dwellings and a rich collection of ancient artefacts.

4. Marvel at the beauty of the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

One of the things that should also be definitely included in your list of things to do in Kota Kinabalu is a visit to the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. It is one of the grandest structures in the city, and is particularly beautiful during sunsets. With a small manmade body of water at its back, it also creates an illusion that this is a floating mosque.

5. Get a bird’s eye view of the city at the Signal Hill Observatory

If you want a panoramic view of the city, then going to this area is perfect thing to do in Kota Kinabalu. It will just take 10 minutes to go up the stairs of this area, and you will be rewarded with majestic views of the city.

6. Island hop at the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

Of course, your list of things to do in Kota Kinabalu will not be complete without visiting the beautiful nearby islands. A good starting point is the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which is just a 15- to 30-minute boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. From here, you can hop to at least five other islands: Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug.

7. Appreciate religion at the Che Sui Khor Moral Uplifting Society

Also a rewarding thing to do in Kota Kinabalu is to visit the Che Sui Khor Moral Society. The centerpiece of this place is an 11-storey pagoda which shimmers in orange and green. The goal of this place is to showcase the best of what four different religions—Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam—have to offer.

8. Cruise down the Klias Wetlands River

This interesting thing to do in Kota Kinabalu will definitely appeal to nature lovers. Spend a relaxing afternoon cruising down the mangrove area of the Klias Wetlands River, where you can get a glimpse of unique fauna like the long tail macaques and the elusive Proboscis monkey.

9. Learn more about Islam at the Islamic Civilization Museum

If you’re having a slow afternoon, then strolling through the Islamic Civilization Museum can be an enriching thing to do in Kota Kinabalu. The museum has six galleries that offer insights on Muslim culture as well as Malaysian history.

10. Indulge in the multicultural local cuisine

Because of the city’s multiculturalism, a food trip is definitely a must-do thing in Kota Kinabalu. Indulge in a great mix of Malaysian and Chinese cuisines at the night markets. You can also get some good seafood at the SEDCO Square.

There are so many things to do in Kota Kinabalu. You just have to take your time and appreciate its hidden beauty, found from the mountains to the seas.

Feature Image Credit: Xiquinho Silva

Best Steamboat Restaurants in Cameron Highlands for Hot & Tasty Soup

It’s usually hot and humid in Malaysia, being situated just above the equator. Temperatures usually stay between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, with the sun shining down on the country, sometimes too strongly. Good thing there is high elevations in Malaysia with cool climate where you can go for some respite for this tropical weather. One such destination is Cameron Highlands, located just four to five hours by land from Kuala Lumpur.

Because the weather here is chilly, a trip to Cameron Highlands will not be complete without trying some Chinese steamboat. With the low temperature, it is comforting to sip some hot Chinese broth, where you can cook all sorts of things like noodles, meat and vegetables. There are a lot of steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands you can choose from to get your fix of this popular dish.

Steamboat Restaurants in Cameron Highlands

Here are some of the most popular steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands, with some details on the ambiance, the items on their menu and the prices for these food items.

1. Gonbei Steamboat Restaurant

Among the most well-known steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands is Gonbei. Visitors frequent this restaurant because of its ambiance, its quality service, and its wide array of fresh ingredients. This restaurant is open-walled, so you still get to feel the cool breeze and see the lush green trees in Cameron Highlands while sipping your hot steamboat soup. It gives you two options for the broth: Japanese vegetarian or Tom Kha Gai, which is composed of coconut milk, lemon grass, chili and chicken.

Gonbei Restaurant also gives guest a choice for proteins: meat (75 Malaysian Ringgit per person), seafood or mixed (100 Malaysian Ringgit per person). Vegetables such as carrots, celery, cabbage and lettuce are arranged in the restaurant buffet-style, giving you free options on which one to include in your soup. Noodles are presented in this manner as well. As a bonus, desserts are also provided to guests, including Cameron Highlands’ famous succulent strawberries.

Because of the popularity of this steamboat restaurant in Cameron Highlands, guests are advised to reserve tables first before going to the place.

Address: Cameron Highland, 39000 Brinchang, Pahang, Malaysia
Phone: +60 5-491 1100

2. May Flower Restaurant

This is also among the more popular steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands, primarily due to its affordability and the rich flavors of its food. For only 10 to 14 Malaysian Ringgit, you can already get a generous plate of good-tasting Asian food like fish curry, sambal petai and stir-fried prawns. Of course, the star of this restaurant remains to be its steamboat, which has two varieties of broth: Tom Yam or chicken broth. There are 21 items you can choose to include in your steamboat soup such as corn, mussels, crabsticks, clams, prawns and meat—all guaranteed fresh and flavorful. The ambiance in this steamboat restaurant in Cameron Highlands is more laidback, with simple plastic chairs and tables for customers.

Address: 22, Main Road, Tanah Rata, 39000, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Phone: +60 5-491 1793

3. Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant

This is one of the first steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands. Being among the pioneers of this cuisine, Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant sticks to the traditional way of cooking steamboat: over charcoal. Its popularity is also derived from the fact that it serves fresh vegetables for the steamboat, harvested straight from the organic farm maintained by the restaurant. Guests are given a choice between vegetarian or chicken soup, which costs 20 Malaysian Ringgit per person.

Because this is also another popular steamboat restaurant in Cameron Highlands, reservations should be made before going, as the place tends to be packed during peak hours, especially dinner time.

Address: 10, Bandar Baru Brinchang, 39100, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Phone: +60 5-491 4807

4. Mountain House Charcoal Steamboat Restaurant

This steamboat restaurant in Cameron Highlands is preferred by some customers over others in the area because of its quality service and affordability. For the price of 30 Malaysian Ringgit, two people can already feast on warm and delicious steamboat and have some drinks. The owner of this restaurant is very hands-on, ensuring that customers get their orders quick. The restaurant also offers two kinds of broth: normal and tom yum. You can also add other ingredients to your soup like eggs, vegetables, mushrooms, prawns, tofu and meatballs to make it more delicious.

Address: Cameron Highlands No.8, Jalan Besar, Brinchang, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-555 9788

5. You Hoo Restaurant

If you are looking for quality seafood, this is the steamboat restaurant in Cameron Highlands that you should visit. The tom yum steamboat soup is said to be a must-try. Add prawns, clams and some squid to your soup to give it a fresh taste of the sea. Service is also good, with the owner making sure that customers get their food quickly. Other seafood dishes offered by the restaurant are also worth trying.

Now that you know the best steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands, you can now enjoy some good soup when you visit this destination. You just have to pick the ingredients and flavors to your liking.

Shoppers’ Paradise. Here’s Your Ultimate Langkawi Duty Free Shopping Guide

Langkawi, an archipelago with 99 islands located on the west coast of Malaysia, is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, its crystal blue waters and its lush forests which serve as natural habitat for unique plants and animals. It is truly an island paradise ideal for those looking for an escape from the hassle and bustle of their busy lives.

Aside from its sights, Langkawi Island is also known for another thing: shopping. Since 1987, Langkawi has been given a duty free status, meaning that tourists can shop for goods at lower prices. This is the reason why visitors consider shopping at Langkawi duty free a must-do activity when going to this place. There are so many cheap products to choose from, including chocolates, alcoholic drinks, fragrances and even luggage.

Langkawi Duty Free Shopping Guide

Below is your ultimate Langkawi duty free shopping guide, with great recommendations on where to shop for different items on this island. These Langkawi duty free shops have chocolates with up to 40 percent off, alcoholic drinks with up to 12 percent off, and other items like cigarettes, perfumes, cosmetics and other household items.

1. The Zon Shopping Paradise

Located in Pantai Cenang, this is one of the most popular Langkawi duty free shopping centers. Its location is very strategic, being within walking distance from popular tourists attractions like the Rice Garden Museum and the Underwater World Langkawi. Go here if you want to shop till you drop for the cheapest chocolates, liquor, tobacco and perfumes. This Langkawi duty free shopping center also has good offers if you’re looking for affordable cosmetics, clothes, jewelry and luggage. If you’re a frequent shopper, it’s advisable to get the Zon Community Card, which you can have for a minimum purchase of 200 Malaysian Ringgits or $45. This card will entitle you to discounts and rewards exclusively for members.

2. Teow Soon Huat Duty-Free Shopping

Another Langkawi duty free shopping center frequented by tourists is this massive mall located in the Padang Matsirat area. The choices here are quite overwhelming, with around 60 outlets, 12 eateries and a supermarket all in the three floors of this shopping complex. At the ground level, you will find different wines, liquors and beers from different parts of the world, all for affordable prices. Imported chocolates are also really cheap. There are also specially-prized household items, clothes, luggage and bags. Be on the lookout for items given daily discounts, which can go as low as 70% off the original price.

3. Cenang Mall

If you’re looking for a Langkawi duty free shopping mall that looks more upscale and provides a more comfortable experience, then this is the place for you. This two-storey shopping center, which can be found along Beach Street, has several local retail outlets with good options for items, particularly food and clothing. The tax-free shop for liquor is located at the first floor, and there are also several restaurants from which you can choose from.

4. Jetty Point Complex

Visitors who go to or leave this island via cruise ships, ferry or boat will find this to be a convenient Langkawi duty free shopping center, because this is found at the same harbor will passengers board or disembark. Tourists usually stop here for last-minute shopping for goods. The department store located here has a good selection of clothes, fragrances, liquor and cigarettes. There are also smaller stalls located on the ground floor selling affordable jewelry, watches, chocolates and souvenirs.

5. Atma Alam Batik Art Village

If you want to take home with you something with a local touch, then this is the Langkawi duty free store for you. You can find here beautiful batik items of clothing. Aside from being a store, this place also has a showroom and a workshop for those who want to appreciate the art of the batik even more.

Langkawi is not just an island paradise; it is a shoppers’ paradise too. These are only some of the Langkawi duty free stores you can choose from when you visit this beautiful destination. Get your bargaining skills ready and prepare to shop till you drop using this Langkawi duty free shopping guide.