Kota Kinabalu, the capitol of Sabah, is easy to explore in one day. Unlike Kuching, which is about half it’s size, not everything here is within walking distance. In fact, most of the sights listed here are located a fair distance from each other.
We explored the sights of KK with a tour guide, which helped us get from one sight to another easily and in comfort.
Visit Kota Kinabalu in 24 Hours
The Atkinson Clock Tower and Signal Hill
Signall hill was the location from where the above city photo was taken. This hill offers some of the best views of the city and the South China Sea. Part way up the hill, is the Atkinson Clock Tower. The tower itself, is not much to look at, but it’s the historical significance which makes this tower special. The clock tower, is one of only three buildings which survived the Japanese bombing during World War 2.
The Most Beautiful Mosque in Borneo
The Kota Kinabalu city mosque, also known as the “floating mosque” was once known as the most beautiful mosque in Malaysia. Our guide told us that it has since been upstaged by the mosque in Kota Terragannu, but it is still well loved as the most beautiful mosque in Borneo.
Non Muslims can visit during non – prayer times and as long as you are dressed respectively. I decided to not enter the mosque, but instead walked around the outside of it taking photos. The man made lagoon in which the floating mosque is located makes for a great setting for photos.
Puh Toh Tze Buddhist Temple
Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy stands guard over this temple. Ten smaller dieties line the steps as you ascend to the temple. You are free to wander around the temple, which contains three Buddha statues, as long as you are quiet and respectful of other worshippers.
The Sabah Museum
The Sabah Museum was my favourite spot in Kota Kinabalu. I love learning about history and culture, and the Sabah museum has great displays about the history, culture, flora and fauna of Sabah. The museum is open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM and costs 15 ringgits for non Malaysian visitors.
My favourite section of the museum was without a doubt the cultural and ethnography exhibit. Here you can learn about the different tribes of Sabah, some of their most interesting habits – I’m talking head hunting here, and how the people would go about their daily life. I loved the hands on musical instrument exhibit. In a glass sound proof room you can watch demonstrations of traditional instruments being played, and then pick up the each instrument and try your hand it it yourself.
Another great exhibit traced the time line of Sabah and highlighted some of their most exciting archaeological discoveries made. I loved the reconstruction of a burial cave, complete with an excavated and intricately carved coffin which was found in a very similar cave somewhere in Sabah.