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How to Spend 3 Days in Kota Kinabalu

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How to Spend 3 Days in Kota Kinabalu
With three days in Kota Kinabalu, you can enjoy most of the highlights in the area, including the beaches and islands, wildlife, culture, and outdoor recreation. Here are a few ways to make the most of your 3-day journey.
 
Day 1: Island Hop, Culture, and City Views
The beach is a top draw at Sabah and Kota Kinabalu, and a favorite place to experience it is Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, made up of five islands. Take the day, or part of it, to explore one, two, or all five islands. Hang out on the beach, or go swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. For a new angle, head to Padang Point on Gaya Island and take the Coral Flyer Zipline across to Sapi Island. Most tours include lunch, either on the beach or boat.
 
After lunch, head to shore and spend the afternoon either exploring the highlights of Kota Kinabalu, such as the City Mosque and Sabah State Museum, or Mari Mari Cultural Village, where you can learn about the five main traditional groups of Sabah. Afterwards, enjoy dinner in town or head to the Kokol hills and enjoy panoramic views over Kota Kinabalu along with dinner.
 
Day 2: The Great Outdoors
Here’s your chance to enjoy nature. Those who plan to climb Mt. Kinabalu will do so over the next two days and spend the night on the mountain. Even if you don’t plan on summiting, can still walk the trails around Kinabalu National Park, including a 100-foot-high (30-meter) canopy walk. Afterwards, soak in the natural Poring Hot Spring. Alternatively, head to Tambunan to spend the day quad biking, or go white-water rafting and ziplining along the Kiliu River. 

Return to Kota Kinabalu and watch the sunset from Tanjung Aru Beach. Afterwards, enjoy a fresh seafood dinner along the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront, also great for after dinner drinks and entertainment. You can also have dinner while watching a cultural show or dance performance.
 
Day 3: Wildlife Spotting
Wildlife is another big attraction in the region. Spend the day appreciating the rainforest, orangutans, and sun bears, with stops at the Sandakan Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, and Rainforest Discovery Centre.
 
Alternatively, spend the morning at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park just outside of Kota Kinabalu. In the afternoon, head to Klias Wetlands or Tamau River and enjoy a river cruise while looking for wildlife, such as proboscis monkeys, macaque, crocodiles, and fireflies. Another option is to spend your last evening on a dinner cruise, watching the sun set on a luxury yacht or catamaran. Afterwards, shop for any final souvenirs at one of the many night markets in town, or have parting drinks along the Kota Kinabalu waterfront.
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12 Tours and Activities | All Kota Kinabalu Tours

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Klias Wildlife Safari River Cruise from Kota Kinabalu

Klias Wildlife Safari River Cruise from Kota Kinabalu

star-4.5
Get up close to some of Malaysia’s diverse wildlife without looking through a cage on this river cruise package in the Klias Wetlands. Spend the afternoon drifting through this vibrant mangrove forest, looking out for proboscis monkeys, macaques, crocodiles, monitor lizards and much more. Once the sun goes down, head out again to see the fireflies light up the riverside on this unique combo of afternoon and after-dark cruises.
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  • 5 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$57.70
From
$57.70
Taking safety measures

Private Full Day Sepilok Orang Utan, Bornean Sun Bear and Rainforest Discovery Center Tour

Private Full Day Sepilok Orang Utan, Bornean Sun Bear and Rainforest Discovery Center Tour

star-4.5
During this full day eco-tour, journey into the super-diverse Bornean rainforest near Sepilok, home to thousands of species of plants and animals. Visit three conservation centres in the area to learn how local people are fighting to preserve Borneo’s natural environment and return native fauna to their natural habitats. This private tour offers a chance to get up close with Borneo’s unique wildlife away from the crowds of a zoo or wildlife park.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$102.57
Price varies by group size
From
$102.57
Price varies by group size

White Water Rafting and Zipline Adventure Day tour

White Water Rafting and Zipline Adventure Day tour

star-4.5
If you’re looking to satisfy an appetite for adventure then look no further than this white-water rafting and zipline tour from Kota Kinabalu, the ideal choice for thrill seekers. No previous white-water rafting experience is necessary to tackle Class III-IV rapids of the Kulu River as you’ll have a guide on hand at all times. Plus, included hotel pickup and drop-off, and lunch make for a hassle-free experience tat requires no advance planning.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$76.93
From
$76.93

Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring with Lunch from Kota Kinabalu

Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring with Lunch from Kota Kinabalu

star-3.5
Venture into the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mt Kinabaly and hike across Kinabalu Park in this incredible full-day tour that includes hot springs, rolling hills, epic scenery and birds-eye-views from atop forest canopies. Your expert local guide will take you through some of Malaysia’s most picturesque countryside and point out indigenous flora and fauna along the way. Enjoy a savory local lunch and a relaxing dip in the Poring Hot Springs on this memorable day trip.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.22
From
$79.22
Taking safety measures

Kota Kinabalu City and Nature Tour

Kota Kinabalu City and Nature Tour

star-2.5
Explore both the popular highlights and some lesser-known spots of Kota Kinabalu city on this small-group day tour. A highlight is the unusual Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, a floating temple surrounded by a lagoon. Visit a produce market selling everything from seafood to flowers, and ask your guide for local food recommendations for lunch. Plus, you'll get the best views of  Kota Kinabalu Crocker Range National Park from a viewpoint.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.00
From
$75.00

Kota Kinabalu City Dinner Cruise by North Borneo Cruises

Kota Kinabalu City Dinner Cruise by North Borneo Cruises

star-5
Dine and dance under the stars on a Kota Kinabalu cruise that includes live music and a buffet of international cuisine. The boat’s open upper deck gives panoramic views of the Kota Kinabalu skyline as the city lights up after dark, and since this dinner cruise features door-to-door transfers from hotels in Kota Kinabalu, you can enjoy an evening out without the hassle of finding late-night transport.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$51.93
From
$51.93

Countryside Dinner with Panoramic View in Kota Kinabalu

Countryside Dinner with Panoramic View in Kota Kinabalu

Even if left-side driving is not for you, enjoy an evening in the cool of Kokol Hill and admire the city lights by night on this elegant dinner tour. Soak up views of Kota Kinabalu and a typical Dusun village as you ascend to 2,625 feet (800 meters) above sea level, then feast on hot pot (steamboat) cuisine in a hilltop restaurant. Enjoy a spectacular sunset along the way.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$81.03
From
$81.03

Kota Kinabalu by Night with Dinner

Kota Kinabalu by Night with Dinner

star-3.5
Soak up the electric atmosphere of Kota Kinabula by night on this 3-hour evening tour, including hotel pick-up. Browse the bustling night market, then enjoy a magnificent view over the illuminated city from the observation deck of Signal Hill. Finally, tuck into a sumptuous dinner of typical Malaysian dishes, accompanied by traditional Malay music and dance.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.04
From
$60.04
Taking safety measures

The Coral Flyer Zipline Adventure at Marine Park from Kota Kinabalu

The Coral Flyer Zipline Adventure at Marine Park from Kota Kinabalu

star-4
Soar on a zipline that connects two picture-perfect tropical islands on a 6-hour adventure trip from Kota Kinabalu to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. The Coral Flyer Zipline is the world’s longest island-to-island zipline, and gives you aerial views of clear water, white sand beaches, and coastal trees. This small group tour is limited to 7 participants for a personalized experience, and includes lunch, national park fees, boat transport, and hotel pickup and drop-off in Kota Kinabalu.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$136.42
From
$136.42
Taking safety measures

Tamau River and Fireflies Cruise in Kota Kinabalu

Tamau River and Fireflies Cruise in Kota Kinabalu

See native Malaysian wildlife in its natural environment on this exciting day trip along the Tamau River in Kota Kinabalu. Your knowledgeable guide will tell you about the different kinds of animals and birds you’ll see on the way. In the evening, experience the magic of fireflies. This family-friendly day trip is a convenient way to get out into nature in Malaysia.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$66.67
From
$66.67

Half-Day Mari Mari Cultural Village Tour from Kota Kinabalu

Half-Day Mari Mari Cultural Village Tour from Kota Kinabalu

star-4.5
Explore Borneo's indigenous cultures on a half-day trip from Kota Kinabalu to Mari Mari Cultural Village, which features traditional houses, crafts, and bushcraft recreated by members of each tribe in Sabah. You'll see local people making blowpipes and kindling bamboo fires, then learn the symbolism behind Sabah's long tradition of tattooing. With pickup and drop-off at hotels in Kota Kinabalu, this tour includes entrance fees and lunch.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$74.36
Price varies by group size
From
$74.36
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Kota Kinabalu Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner

Kota Kinabalu Sunset Cruise with Buffet Dinner

Conclude your Kota Kinabalu adventure with a dazzling evening out at sea. Hop onto a spacious custom-built catamaran and get in touch with Sabah’s coastal charisma. Sail pass surrounding islands and into the famous Kota Kinabalu sunset. Includes guided narrations of historical & architectural landmarks that dot the coastline. - Evening cruise from Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea - Chance to see Sabah's sunset & landmarks from the water - Laid-back & relaxed tour aboard a luxurious custom sailboat - Sights of Gaya Island in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park - Postcard-perfect views of Likas Bay in the soft moonlight
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$122.00
Price varies by group size
From
$122.00
Price varies by group size