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Kota Kinabalu Hotels

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Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu Hotels

Borneo's Kota Kinabalu might be seen by most as not much more than a place to rest a weary head after a day/week exploring its nearby tropical islands, trekking lush rainforests or climbing the mighty Mount Kinabalu, but this Malay city's got a few surprises up its selves. Wander around the walkable city centre with your eyes firmly open and you'll see fascinating museums, rowdy restaurants where the smell of Chinese and Malaysian food wafts out of open doors and a fair few buzzing bars. There's also more malls here than you can shake a shopping bag at.

Things to see

To get to grips with the city and Borneo's history, the Sabah State Museum is must visit. Surrounded by lush green grounds, its striking red and white roof houses a raft of exhibitions showcasing everything from local archaeological finds and tribal artefacts to remains – don't miss the huge whale skeleton. Within the complex there's also a Heritage Village where you can potter past traditional bamboo houses and a Chinese farmhouse among others, all of which sit surrounded by a lily-pad lake. Next door, the Science & Education Centre will entertain and inform while the Sabah Art Gallery's impressive shows will delight the eyes. Glistening under the sun, the Sabah State Mosque's gold decorated dome is a real gem which can be seen sparkling all around. The largest mosque in the Sabah region, it's a unique mix of contemporary design and Islamic architecture. Just 10 minutes from the core of the city, Tanjung Aru Beach's fine sands lure locals and visitors alike, especially come evening as the deep amber sun slips behind the sparkling ocean setting the whole sky ablaze in red. Sip sweet coconut and sugarcane juice in the beach bars here or enjoy chicken satay or freshly netted seafood al fresco. Just off the city's shoreline, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a collection of 5 islands, is not to be missed. Here you can walk under shady Mangroves, snorkel in crystal clear waters watching colourful corals waft and fish darting, or simply chill out on a sandy beach with the fresh smell of pine trees drifting in the air.

Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

There's a good variety of hotels in Kota Kinabalu to suit every need and budget. At the higher end of the scale, you can expect sprawling resort hotels overlooking the ocean and offering health clubs, lagoon-like outdoor pools and onsite restaurants as well as well-appointed guestrooms. Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa is one of the best options for luxury hotel seekers. Mid-range options are plentiful offering guests a more than comfortable stay in a guestroom with WiFi, minibar and flat-screen television. For those on a budget, cheap hotels can be found in the city centre, although you will find your budget will go further slightly further out. Hotel Five 2 is a budget hotel, located at the city centre.

Where to stay

Most of the hotels in Kota Kinabalu sit along or near to the coast so you'll never be too far from the sight of waves gentry crashing against the shoreline. Stay in the city centre to be close to buzzing bars and restaurants or for a slightly quieter base, choose a hotel near Tanjung Aru Beach. For real seclusion, you can stay on Gaya Island, part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, where you'll be able to spot wildlife from your balcony and explore unspoilt corals mere moments from your hotel room.

How to get to Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu International Airport is the second busiest in Malaysia and welcomes a raft of flights from around the globe daily. Located 7 kilometres from the city centre the journey to your hotel will be pretty swift, whether you choose the airport shuttle to the downtown area, hop in a taxi or catch a minibus. You can even walk in an hour or so if you're not pushed for time or carrying too much luggage. Walking is one of the best ways to explore the city.