With two days in Kota Kinabalu, it’s possible to explore both the city and the nearby marine park, and to venture further afield to Mt. Kinabalu National Park. Here are a few ways to make the most of two days.
Day 1: Mountains or Wildlife
Morning: In order to make the most of your time and skip the hassle of planning, opt for a day trip to either Kinabalu National Park—where you’ll explore via trails and a treetop canopy walk— or Sandakan Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the largest orangutan conservation center in the world.
Afternoon: If you’re at Kinabalu National Park, enjoy a local lunch before heading to Poring Hot Springs for a therapeutic soak. Those in Sandakan can explore the town or head to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre or the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
Night: Back in Kota Kinabalu, enjoy dinner while watching a cultural show or dance performance—book a package that includes round-trip hotel transfers for the best value. Alternatively, enjoy fresh seafood at Kota Kinabalu Fish Market on the waterfront.
Day 2: Islands, City, and Culture
Morning: Spend some time exploring the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which comprises five islands; half-day trips typically cover one or two of the islands, and give you time to relax on the beach, swim, snorkel, or scuba dive. Upgrade to zip from one island to another on the Coral Flyer Zipline.
Afternoon: Spend the afternoon exploring the highlights of Kota Kinabalu, such as the City Mosque, Sabah State Museum, and Signal Hill on a panoramic bus tour. Alternatively, head out of town to the Mari Mari Cultural Village to learn about the five main traditional groups of Sabah. Visit a longhouse, try local delicacies, or watch different cultural demonstrations.
Night: For your final evening, watch the sunset from Tanjung Aru Beach or charter a luxury yacht or catamaran and enjoy a sunset or dinner cruise, complete with live entertainment or a firefly show. Afterwards, go shopping and pick up souvenirs at one of the night markets.