Kota Kinabalu (KK) is beautifully located between the South China Sea and lush forest hills that lead to the mighty Mount Kinabalu. KK features a wonderful mixture of speedy modernization and Mother Nature’s treasures. As the capital city of Sabah, KK is the most industrialized city this part of Malaysia, as it is also home to the most inviting beaches and dive sites in Asia. Surrounded by so many attractive water areas, the city’s leading entertainment and dining center is the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, situated near the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market.
A walk along the waterfront is an exciting stroll through rows of shops, restaurants, cafés, pubs, dance clubs, karaoke bars, and entertainment centers that are sure to engage both locals and tourists through the night until the early hours of the morning. The Waterfront is regarded as the best venue for casual fun and a memorable night out with friends and family. There are also local open-air markets and air-conditioned malls offering all kinds of inexpensive commodities such as electronic gadgets, handicrafts, apparels, batiks, fabrics, food, and souvenir items, among so many others. There’s practically anything and everything one might think of under the sun. The area is very popular among tourists also because it is just a short walk to a number of budget and upscale hotels, such as Le Meridien, Promenade and Hyatt Kinabalu.
The nearby Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market, also known as the Filipino Market near Wawasan Plaza, is known to sell cheap pearls, local handicrafts, and crystals. Also a top draw is an array of souvenir items such as wood carvings, “Sabah” or “KK” T-shirts, wooden statues, keychains, batiks, rattan handicrafts, mats, broaches, Islamic calligraphy and beautifully designed sarongs. This market, however, is a misnomer since not all items are locally made in KK. Many of the handicrafts are actually from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Korea, and some are even from far-away Austria.
KK’s Waterfront comes alive in the afternoons as workers and local businessmen set up their stores and stalls. As the sun sets, the whole area comes alive. People come here for a fun night of partying, dining, and socializing. The place is bustling with people – tourists, locals, and expats, just wanting to have a great dining experience by the sea. Some of the leading food joints are Kohinoor, serving Indian dishes indoor or alfresco seating, and which is most popular for its original Chicken Cheese Tandoori Tikka; Cock and Bull Bistro, a 3-time Best Entertainment Outlet Award winner; Shamrock Irish Bar, which is popular for its ice-cold beers and fine outdoor dining; Oregan Café, serving a variety of local delicacies but popularly known for its wide selection of wines; Harbor Café, serving authentic Malay dishes; and Port View Seafood Village, one of the finest seafood restaurants in KK serving freshly cooked clams, crabs, lobsters, prawns and different kinds of fish.
The capital city is tiny, only 3-km long and 1-km wide; Kota Kinabalu Waterfront is difficult to miss. Hotels and resorts have free shuttle services going to the Waterfront. Also, there are taxis running around KK 24/7, and for many leading hotels, the Waterfront is just a short distance away, perfect for a leisurely stroll.