If you wish to go shopping in Kota Kinabalu, you are in the right place for the right thing. Kota Kinabalu is the shopping Mecca of Sabah, this part of Malaysia. Sabah is the second biggest Malaysian state, and its most happening, popular and commercialized city is none other than its capital city, Kota Kinabalu (or KK for short).
There are six major KK shopping malls that are usually crowded with foreign and local shoppers. They are 1Borneo, Centrepoint, Kompleks Karamunsing, KK Plaza, Wisma Merdeka and Wawasan Plaza. They are open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day.
Constructed only in 2008, 1Borneo is KK’s newest mall located on Sulaman Street away from the city center, which is why it offers free shuttle to and from downtown. The mall’s complete name is 1Borneo Hypermall, which is an appropriate name because it is the largest shopping mall in Sabah and practically has everything that a visitor needs or could think of: clothes, fabrics, electronic gadgets, jewelries, household items, and groceries, among others. Prices are fixed but they are very reasonable. Inside the mall are cafés, restaurants, movie houses, bookstores, boutiques, entertainment bars, kiddie centers, and practically all the reasons that one might go downtown. But what really sets 1Borneo apart are the four hotels within the mall: Tune Hotel (most affordable), Courtyard Hotel, Grand Borneo Hotel, and Novotel (most expensive). Novotel has a huge ballroom, five conference rooms, swimming pool and children’s club. 1Borneo is definitely a first-class, upscale mall that could rival the best in the world.
The second largest shopping stop is Centrepoint, a 4-acre complex located in the heart of KK adjacent to the regional bus terminal. It offers a wide array of beauty items, fashion accessories, jewelries, and clothing lines including popular branded products such as Calvin Klein, Dockers, Guess, Timberland, and U2, to name a few. This most popular mall within the city (since 1Borneo is outside the city) has a training center, karaoke bar, movie theaters, Games World, restaurants, and cafés.
Third largest is Kompleks Karamunsing or Karamunsing Complex located on Crest Megaway. This often-crowded shopping complex is well known for its authentic handicrafts, artworks and souvenir items located on the third floor. The cheapest computer hardware, accessories and gadgets are also found here, which is why the mall is always jam-packed with young people and computer enthusiasts. Another crowd pleaser are the VCD and DVD shops, selling original and bootleg copies.
The three other malls are KK Plaza (known for selling the cheapest and newest cell phone models) opposite the fish and central markets, Wisma Merdeka (known for its wide variety of branded sports watches) located on Jalan Tun Razak, and Wawasan Plaza (popular for its jewelry and bargain factory-priced items) on Wisma San Hin.
In addition to these top-class shopping malls, tourists might want to visit and experience the Sunday flea market on Gaya Street. Every Sunday, traffic closes on this street to give way to a row of shops selling batik sarongs, antiques, toys, fruits, flowers, and souvenir items, just to mention a few. Anyone shopping in Kota Kinabalu must visit this age-old street market fair that opens every Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Gaya Street is walking distance away from any point in the city.