The capital of Sabah boasts stunning vistas and quaint towns, which can easily be enjoyed all within a day
Most people travel to Kota Kinabalu to soak in its vast natural beauty, in which the capital city of Sabah is in no short supply off. Offering travellers the options of pristine beaches, long and wide rivers as well as the famed Mount Kinabalu, the East Malaysian city also has an abundant variety of short excursions for travellers. Most of which can be done within a day if pressed for time.
Located some 190km north of Kota Kinabalu, the town of Kudat is easily accessible by car and takes approximately three hours to reach. The town is famously known for the Rungus Longhouse, which is run by the largest ethnic group in the area. The longhouse has been attracting visitors for years, many of whom come to experience the cultural heritage of the Rungus community. Also located in the district of Kudat is Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, which is the northernmost tip of Borneo. Visitors to Kudat can opt to enhance their Sabah visit by staying a night at the Rungus Longhouse or TSM Merrimas Villa, which is located just a few metres away from the landmark Tip of Borneo monument.
Located less than 50km from Kota Kinabalu, the sleepy town of Kiulu is a white water rafting hotspot thanks to its long and winding Kiulu River. Although the river is hardly challenging as it’s rated at Grade 1 and 2, Kiulu is nevertheless a decent place to go to kick back and be one with nature. Rafting distances range between 7km to 15km depending on water levels and once you’ve had your fill, there are also a few notable places to visit nearby such as the Tuaran Crocodile Farm and Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) located just a stone’s throw away.
Many visitors pass the town of Kundasang on their way to Mount Kinabalu National Park, but the town is not without its charms and attractions. Offering breath-taking scenery and cool weather, Kundasang is well worth the stopover, even more so as there’s plenty to see in the area. The Kundasang War Memorial will undoubtedly appeal to history buffs whilst the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm and Sabah Tea Plantation will provide an educational as well as relaxing reprieve after the long drive of 90 or more kilometres.
Despite being roughly 100 kilometres away from Kota Kinabalu, many visitors to Sabah make it a point to stomach the near-three-hour drive for the sole reason of seeing the majestic Mount Kinabalu up close. The area offers several nature trails for visitors to explore and it’s also the highest point accessible to automobiles. For golfers, the Mesilau is also home to the Mount Kinabalu Golf Club, which at 1500 metres is the highest golf course in Sabah.