To say that Kota Kinabalu is paradise is an under statement! With its clear blue waters, filled with exotic tropical fish and beautiful coral reefs, all set against a backdrop of lush green tropical rainforests, you will indeed feel you are in heaven. Located approximately 7 north of the equator, the climate here is a hot 29 year round with heavy rain falling mostly in the afternoons, and only then for short periods.
Tanjung Aru Beach
Kota Kinabalu, often referred to locally as KK, is the capital of the Sabah region of East Malaysia, which is located on the northeast coast of the Island of Borneo. The country of Malaysia is made up of the Peninsula of Malaysia and East Malaysia, with the South China Sea separating them. The Peninsula of Malaysia is comprised of eleven states and two federal territories, namely Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya while East Malaysia, is home to the two states of Sabah and Sarawak, and one federal territory, namely Labuan.
Kota Kinabalu has a population of just over 900,000 and is one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia. It is a popular destination due to its varied tourist attractions, warm climate, and commercial interests. We want you to experience first hand the friendliness of the people of Sabah, a diverse tapestry of cultural influences, dating back thousands of years. Kota Kinabalu is an area steeped in tradition and history. A rich culture drawing from the ancient civilizations of China and India along with an indigenous Malay population of various ethnic communities, have evolved into the Malaysian people as we know them today. A city filled with the colour and vibrancy of tradition, where cultures come together, where old and new unite in a flurry of spirit and energy.
Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu but it has undergone several name changes over the years:
Originally known as Api-Api, and once located on the largest of five islands off the northeast coast, Pulau Gaya, inhabited by the Bajau people, the town was used as a trading station for the British North Borneo Company who were establishing British colonies throughout the region.
But after coming under siege by the fearsome Mat Salleh, a famous freedom fighter, the town was relocated to the mainland where it could be easier defended and where the still existent harbour and railway terminus could be created giving trade missions greater access to faraway posts.
It eventually became known as Jesselton in the late 1800's after Sir Charles Jesselton, the Vice president of the British North Borneo Company. In January 1942, the Japanese invaded North Borneo. A ferocious war was fought in which over 100,000 Japanese lost their lives. The Australian Army joined with the British Forces to oust the Japanese and they finally surrendered in1945. It wasn't until 1968 when it became known as Kota Kinabalu and did not receive its full status as a city until as recently as 2000 from the Malaysian government.
Nowadays, Kota Kinabalu is highly regarded as an important financial, economic and tourism centre boasting top class deluxe hotels and a healthy international export industry. Most of the Federal Government of Malaysia's state agencies and departments are also located in Kota Kinabalu. A modern infrastructure proves its resilience to past oppressions and yet its ability to hold on to the traditions and cultural heritage prove the strength of character of its people.
Visitor attractions are wide and varied and will appeal to people of all ages. While our beautiful beaches might allure the sun lovers, adventure seekers will also find endless options of things to see and do, from island hopping (Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Sulug and Pulau Mamutik), deep sea diving and snorkeling, to climbing the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, which measuring 4,095 metres above sea level is the highest in Borneo.
Whatever your inclination, take it easy in Sabah or take it on in Sabah!