You may wonder if there are any Free Things to do in Kota Kinabalu Sabah and let me tell you - Yes there are! So you are in luck. While most travelers visiting Sabah for the first time would most likely visit Kota Kinabalu or KK in short, before going out to Mount Kinabalu Park, Desa Farm, Padas River for Water Rafting or even the Klias Wetlands River Cruise, there are a number of free things that you can do here as most of those places require a half day tour.
Lets start the ball rolling based on your free and easy stay in KK for first timers or even for those that may have been here before, this information could be a little extra helpful in your travels around Kota Kinabalu city.
Exploring Gaya Street
While Gaya Street is one of the most popular spots to explore on foot, there are numerous shops which date back many years giving visitors that nostalgic feeling. All sorts of business can be found here from traditional barbers, grocery shops, goldsmiths, traditional coffee shops and the modern restaurants and cafes apart from the general convenience stores and banks here.
As there are many hotels found around here, a beautiful heritage hotel is also located here called the Jesselton Hotel which hosts some amazing history too. For the tourist, the Sabah Tourism Board's office is housed in one of the old colonial buildings here too.
However, the best time to explore Gaya Street is on Sunday when they have the Gaya Street Sunday Market which starts as early as 6am till about noon. Loads of traders fill up the main street selling all sorts of wares, clothes, flowers, food, souvenirs and even pets. I would highly recommend visiting Gaya Street on a Sunday Morning. After exploring, give one of the old coffee shops a try, especially the coffee and dim sum or noodles.
Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market
Formerly known as the Filipino Market, this is hands down one of the most visited places in KK. The Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market offers visitors a very unique experience, unlike other commercial markets, this place is filled with all sorts of nick-knacks and more importantly, the famous Sabah Pearls. Rows and rows of stall create a maze to explore where at each turn, you will discover something related to Sabah.
It's free to walk around inside, unless you buy something and the recommended time to visit here in before lunch time. For the first time visitor, you can visit anytime in the day but late in the afternoons, it can get pretty hot and humid inside here.
Just next door is also the KK Fruit Market and also the Salt Fish Market, all of which are equally interesting to visit. Plus if you are up for getting some dried seafood, this is the mother of all places and don't forget to bargain.
One of the most popular places in Kota Kinabalu is the KK Waterfront and this is your destination for leisure, food, entertainment and also to catch that amazing KK Sunset. Here, rows of restaurants, bars and pubs line the waterfront offering outdoor seating while catching the beautiful sea views.
The new KK Waterfront 2 has also recently opened where you can find the Oceanus Mall, various clubs, bistros, cafes and also the newly opened Hard Rock Cafe Kota Kinabalu. (Which opened on 1st April 2015). One can easily spend a good 1-2 hours walking around the KK Waterfront and it is recommended to come here just before sunset at 5.30pm. Note the sun sets around 6.00pm in Sabah.
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