Kota Kinabalu is home to diverse flora and fauna, and wonderful scenery. There are numerous activities for all tastes and preferences, plus many beautiful beaches for relaxing in the sun.
While the city itself is widely recognized as a tourist hub and a base for further exploration around the island, Kota Kinabalu is home to a number of interesting attractions. One of the best places to start is with a visit to the Atkinson Clock Tower. Built in memory of Francis George Atkinson, the first district officer of the area once known as Jesselton, the pretty clock tower is a nod to a significant colonial past. Further up the hill from where the clock tower is located, you will encounter the Signal Hill Observatory. The platform here offers the finest view across the city and the ocean.
The varied range of temples and places of worship in Kota Kinabalu symbolize the diverse population in Malaysia. Among the mosques, Hindu temples, churches and Chinese temples are some beautiful examples of authentic architecture. The Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of the largest in Sabah, while the Sabah State Mosque boasts a dome and minaret decorated in real gold. Pah Toh Tze Chinese Temple presents a whole other ideology in itself and is very beautiful.
Diversity is also embedded in the cuisine on offer across the city. Chinese, Malay, Javanese and European influences are found here, and one of the best ways to get a rounded impression of these flavors is by heading to a kedai kopi, a simple buffet-style eatery. Among the most popular dishes to try are wan tan mee, koay teow and laksa.
It is easy to embrace the notion of action and adventure when on a Kota Kinabalu cruise. Water sports are popular in the area surrounding the city, with superb diving and snorkeling trips widely available. Pulau Manukan beach offers some of the best underwater adventure, though others would be forgiven for just wanting to soak up the sunshine on the soft sand.