Sunday, July 1, 2012

Backpacking Kota Kinabalu: Exploring the City Center


We arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport at around 6 in the evening and after all the immigration process, we got out at around 7 pm hailing a cab that would take us to our inn. We figured not to waste the day and so, we went out at night to find food and to explore Kota Kinabalu's City Center.


It was drizzling a bit but it didn't stop us from walking around. Guided by the few brochures that we got in the airport, we looked for places to even that late hours. Good thing, we are near the city center and everything that you need to see there is reachable by foot. And so, our late night exploring began.

We began our tour at the Atkinson Clock Tower. It is beautifully lit at night and it was near our place. It was built by Mary Edith Atkinson in 1905 in memory of her son Francis George Atkinson. It was formerly used as a navigation aid for ships. It is one of only three pre-World War II buildings to survive the war. You can actually go near it but since it was already dark, we only took some (blurry) photos of it.

Atkinson Clock Tower 
a less blurry shot (but with rain drops on the lens :P)

Another site to see is the City Hall where there is an arch of Kota Kinabalu. We took photos here and lingered on to the place. The area is lined with government establishments. there is also a park nearby and a lot of food establishments where you can dine and eat.

City Hall
The Archway of Kota Kinabalu
City Park

Near the City Hall, you can find the Malaysian Monument where it looks like a small park. Across it is a long stretch of street where there are lots of food establishments and shops. This is the center of the town. We went here to eat and there are a lot of choices. We tried a bar in the middle of the street called BB Cafe and it is quite expensive there, but the food was good and service was nice. The people hang out there to drink and unwind.

Malaysia Monument

Archway to the food establishments and shops

At the end of Jalan Gaya is the Tourism Board of Sabah. We stayed at the convenient store in front of it eating some dessert. It was an old building converted into a government office. Here, you can ask for the best way to go around town. We didn't get to go there in the morning since we're crunch of time but I am sure the people there are very accommodating for tourists like us.

Along Jalan Gaya

Sabah Tourism Board Building

As we turned the corner, we found a big mall that has a lot of branded stores. It was almost closing but we still have time to go and see the stores inside. The Suria Sabah Metrojaya mall is on of the many shopping malls around. It is quite new and there are some vacant stalls inside. They have a lot of branded clothing shops there and it is very tempting  to look around. Unfortunately, it is almost closing so we just went back to town and walk around.

Suria Sabah mall

large entrance of the mall

inside the mall, almost closing time

In the morning, we went to Jesselton Point to reserve tickets for the ferry going to Labuan Island. It is located at the edge of the town but you can go there. It is just a 10-15 minute walk from the town center. The port is quite big and they have a lot of trips going to different parts of Kota Kinabalu.

Jesselton Point

The boats going to different destinations

Another place you can go to here is the Australian Place. It is near Atkinson Clock Tower, just a few minutes walk. There are a lot of accommodations here if you are looking for cheap but nice place to stay. It is just a small street at the center of town. I realized that our inn is very near this place before we left Kota Kinabalu. You can check this place out for cheap accommodations and yummy food places.

Australian Place

Everything seems different in the morning and we get to see all the things we saw at night. It was nice seeing the city in its city lights because it has a different beauty. It was nice going there and to have explore the town even for a while. And also, even if it was a bit raining. If ever you'd plan an itinerary in this place, it would be easy as most of the nice spots are located in the City Center. You can get around even on a half day and enjoy the place more.

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