Compare Cheap Flights from Sydney to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
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Need to know
Kota Kinabalu, also known as KK, can be found on the island of Borneo. The capital of the Sabah province of Malaysia, most travellers use the capital as a base for exploring the wider province, which is known for its sprawling jungles and beautiful beaches.
Kota Kinabalu has a humid equatorial climate and is known for its spectacular sunsets. The coastal city is a great spot to watch the sun set over white sands at one of its many beachfront spots such as Tanjung Aru beach or the Segama waterfront. Head to the Signal Hill Observatory Tower for stunning views of the the city and ocean views that stretch to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Surrounded by rainforest, one of the best views can be seen from the top of Bukit Padang, a popular hiking spot with panoramic vistas of the region.
Kota Kinabalu is renowned for its vibrant markets and delicious street food. The Central Market sells fresh everything, from exotic fruit and vegetables to meat and poultry, while the Filipino Market is a great place to pick up seasonal produce and local delicacies. You can also check out the nearby Handicraft Market, where you can find mementos and souvenirs for friends and family. Visit the Night Market for a lively, festival atmosphere with a brilliant multicultural mix of stalls stocked with items such as pearl and crystal jewellery and handcrafted trinkets.
There’s an amazing array of Chinese and Malaysian regional cuisines on offer throughout the city, as well as Filipino and, of course, traditional Sabah cuisine. Sample flavoursome dishes such as hivana, a ceviche-like snack, and tuaran mee, springy fried noodles with sliced meat and vegetables.
In the city most things are within walking distance, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the harbour and market area and work from there. Hiring a car is a good travel option if you want to travel to a number of destinations across the city as you are in control of your trip and the pace at which you explore. Hiring a car also means you can avoid spending money on local taxis. Taxis are available throughout the city, however, they do not run on meters and it can be hard to gauge how much the journey should cost. Minivans also operate from several stops including Padang Merdeka Bus Station and Wawasan Plaza.
The state of Sabah is nicknamed, ‘the land below the wind’ referring to its sheltered position just south of the monsoon and typhoon belt. The temperature does not change much throughout the year, however, the city is affected by two monsoons seasons each year from April to May and September to October. The best time to visit Kota Kinabalu is during the dry season from January to March.
Travellers should be aware the city has a high heat and humidity rate throughout the year which can take some getting used to, with temperatures staying between lows of 23 and highs of 33 degrees.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport
The main airport for international travellers is Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Located around 8 km from the city centre it is the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Flights make their way to Kota Kinabalu from a number of destinations, including Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore. Flights to Kota Kinabalu depart from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and travel via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.