Our main purpose of going to Kota Kinabalu is to celebrate our 1st Anniversary at the beach. I would describe this place as the “road less traveled” since we don’t hear a lot of Filipinos going there. And being the curious me, I did a lot of research. We didn’t really plan much during our stay there because we just want to relax since our last our of the country trip was jam-packed. Read more of our Taiwan adventure here.

We booked  our tickets from AirAsia. Round trip airfare was about Php4,200 per person since we booked it a month before. But you can get it for as low as Php2,000 if there’s seatsale.

Off we go! One hour and 30 minutes from Manila, Philippines to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.🇲🇾

Kota Kinabalu view from the plane.

Immigration Entry Procedure

Enchanged our Pesos to Ringgit at the airport before heading to our hotel. 1 Malaysian Ringgit = 10 Philippine Pesos

We booked at Crown Borneo Hotel at Tanjung Aru. Our hotel is just 5 minutes away from the airport. Pretty decent with free transfers from and to the airport, breakfast for two and WiFi.

We had our lunch at KFC, about 2 minutes walk from our hotel. Fact: KFC at Kota Kinabalu doesn’t have fork. You have to use your hands when eating chicken. 

Also, this is an interesting branch. Read below.

We spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping as we came from graveyard shift then straight to the airport. We bought dinner at the grocery in front of our hotel.

There are some similarities with our words, like this one.

The next day, we woke up early to have breakfast since it will be island hopping day for us! Our hotel’s cafe was really cozy.

During our stay in KK, we always booked Uber to go places. It is way cheaper than a taxi. For example, a 6MYR Uber ride is equivalent to 30MYR taxi. Also, cars in KK are right hand drive.

I also turned on my data roaming from Smart Postpaid Surf Abroad so I can use Google for best places to go to and book Uber. It was Php550 per day.

We booked an Uber going to Jesselton Point for our island hopping adventure. This is where you’ll buy the tickets for the boat, rent snorkeling gears and water activities. Two islands is 33MYR per person, snorkeling gear is 10MYR.

Travel tip: Snorkeling gears are cheaper here but water activities are cheaper in the island.

Waiting area

One thing that you shouldn’t miss in Kota Kinabalu is riding one of these boats. I swear it was heart pumping, scary, and funny at the same time! The drivers were like in a boat race, I think the speed was more than 100 kph above the water! I felt like I was in a rollercoaster!😱 If you’re going to Manukan/Sapi/Mamutik Island, be prepared!😂

Look at us and my hair!😂

And after 15-20 minutes crazy boat ride, we’ve arrived at Manukan Island.☀️🌴

Once you arrive, Malaysians/Filipinos will offer you water activities. It was a Filipino who offered us parasailing for 140MYR two people, at the port they sell it for 180MYR. So, we did it.

At first, I was chilling and enjoying the ride as some Koreans did the parasailing first.

And then we’re next. Just look at the different emotions of my face. I love traveling but I’m afraid of heights. Lol. But Kaeser was patient and cheering me up.😂

I was scared especially when we’re super high already, but it was fun. It was my second time to do parasailing, first was in Bali, Indonesia.

Now, it’s time to chill. You have to pay the entrance fee first. We paid 10MYR each. This is already good for all the islands.

Beware of jellyfish. We saw a kid got stung by a jellyfish and won’t stop crying. Good thing there was a first aid person there.

We did a little bit of snorkeling and just enjoyed the beach.

Thank you Zalora for my cute two piece swimmies.👙

There’s a resort that looks really nice, I didn’t get to see the name though. We took advantage of the background.😊

This reminder is cute haha!😂

Lockers are available at 10MYR incase you want security of your belongings while swimming or snorkeling. There’s a mini grocery and canteen, we had lunch there.

If you’re not adventurous with food like Kaeser, go with the basic. Fried hotdog and egg. I tried this chicken dish that I can’t explain how it tastes like.😂

Around 1:00 PM, our boat fetched us to go to Mamutik Island. Just 5 minutes away from Manukan Island.

I had to change my swimmies just because I want to wear my personalized onesie from Georgina Sasha.☺️

It’s super comfy and I love the color.💖

Played with the sand and thought of my kids. I can’t wait for their passports to be delivered so we can all travel outside of the country together.✈️👩🏻👦🏻👦🏻

Did some snorkeling too.

And chill.

Around 4:00 PM, it started to rain. Boo! We had to fix our things and wait for the boat. Kaeser was chatting with some Filipinos there.

Thank you to Lazada for our tripod so we can take photos together.

The boat ride going back was worst. It was so fast plus the rain was hitting our face. Good thing I didn’t shower at Mamutik Island because I anticipated that I’ll get wet going home. Booked an Uber again going back to our hotel to shower before dinner.

We waited for the rain to stop. Then, we went to Segama Waterfront where you can take a photo with the “I ❤️ KK” sign.

I ❤️ KK. Kern and Kyle. Also, Kaeser Kenniston.☺️

And sunset

Strolled around the area until we reached the Night Market. It was like dampa in the Philippines where you buy fresh seafoods and they will cook it. Look at these Tiger Prawns!😱

One staff was a Filipina who helped us with our orders. Kaeser, being very friendly, chatted with her as well.

While waiting for food. Snap a selfie!

And our dinner: Buttered Tiger Prawns, fried squid, seaweeds and fried rice. Omg!

He’s definitely enjoying it

We need to stroll around the area to burn what we ate. Haha!

And then, we ended up going to a mall by walking. This is the Oceanus Waterfront Mall. And guys! Please remember that this mall has a lot of items on sale! Waaaah! Bring extra money. I was tempted to buy.😱

These colorful luggages are to die for! At 50% off! I’ve been looking for this pink luggage in Taiwan and Manila, and found it here! From 560MYR, I got it for 280MYR which is about Php3,000.

I was a happy kid! I can definitely use this on my next travels. Thanks to Kaeser for convincing me that I need it. Lol!😂

That’s how we ended the day! Uber going back to the hotel and rest.

Third day! Breakfast then city tour.

First stop, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. Still booked an Uber all throughout the day.

Take note of the dress code if you want to enter the Mosque.

Next is Sabah State Mosque. It is one of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Sabah is none other than the State Mosque. With its majestic dome and stunning gold inlay motifs, the mosque sits a stone’s throw away from the city centre. It is a unique combination of prevailing Islamic architecture and contemporary design.🕌

I tried playing with the pigeons outside the Mosque.🐧🐧🐧

And then we went to Gaya Street (Sunday Market), somewhat like Divisoria in Manila. There are variety of things that you can buy. But it was so hot! Make sure to bring a fan or umbrella.

We bought souvenirs here because it’s cheaper compared to malls. We met a Filipina from Zamboanga and bought magnets and keychains from her.

It was already lunchtime, so we went to Imago KK Time Square. I believe it’s the newest mall in Kota Kinabalu.

KFC for lunch. 

And since it’s a mall, it’s a shopping place.

Fortunately we didn’t buy anything there! But took some touristy photos.

Our Uber ride for only 6MYR.

We actually did mall hopping!😂 Next is Suria Sabah Shopping Mall.

LOVE is everywhere❤️

We saw some Malaysians performing inside the mall.

Mango was on sale, the usual 50MYR top was only 20MYR. So I bought one for myself and Kaeser bought for his mom and sister.

So, went back to Oceanus Waterfront Mall since shoes and sports stuff were on sale. I bought Kern a big varsity bag for 135MYR, the price of that bag in Manila is around Php5,000. And since it’s our anniversary, we exchanged gifts.😊 We got our Nike shoes half the price here compared to Manila. Yay!😎 (Getting ready to go back to the gym)

Went back to leave our shopping bags in the hotel. And went to Tanjung Aru Beach to experience the popular sunset. 🌅

There’s a gelato truck at the entrance to the beach

The sunset did not disappoint! It looks like a cotton candy sky! Pinkish purple color. So beautiful!😍

Can’t get enough of the sunset! I’ve never seen a sunset like this before. 

It rained again, so we stayed there for a while and ordered fruit shakes for 8MYR. You can also eat there.

We were dead tired of all the walking and shopping! Time to sleep, flight tomorrow.😴

Last day! Woke up early to pack our bags. Breakfast was spicy Korean noodles! We’ve been watching Goblin so I feel like I’m turning Korean. Lol!😂

Arrived at Kota Kinabalu airport at 9:30 AM. 11:30 AM flight was delayed so we stayed at Starbucks. 18MYR for a tall frappe. Free one hour WiFi at the airport.

Bye KK, that was fun!😎

Saw these cute Korean kids in the plane.☺️

Other places to visit and things to do in Kota Kinabalu:

  • Climb Mount Kinabalu (Php 18,000-20,000)
  • Mari Mari Cultural Village
  • Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring
  • Sandakan Orangutan Trail
  • Scuba Dive
  • Rafting at Kiulu or Padas
  • Kinabatangan River Cruise
  • Day Tour at Shangri-La  Tanjung Aru Resort (Php 1,500)


Note that I didn’t include the souvenirs and personal shopping in the expenses. The amount is in Philippine Peso.KK Expenses

KK Itinerary

That was our 4 days and 3 nights Anniversary trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. For more of my adventures, please check out Althea’s Adventures. Happy travels!😎

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