Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu is an exciting cruise destination.  Often overlooked due to the amount of amazing ports of call within the region, when you arrive, you will be surprised with just how spectacular this place really is.  This is the gateway to mysterious Malaysian Borneo.  Malaysia is a truly incredible place and comprises two states in Northern Borneo known as Sabah and Sarawak along with the former Malaya peninsula.  Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah.

There is a diverse cultural mix here now as Kota Kinabalu is extremely different in the modern day to its previous self.  Once known as Jesseltown, this location underwent a dramatic reformation following World War II.  Since then the port of call has gone on to become a cosmopolitan city of Malays, Indonesians, Indians, Chinese and Filipinos.  There is so much to see and do here that the choices really are endless.  This can be said of a lot of places but Kota Kinabalu’s excursion options are truly amazing.  Learn the art of the blowpipe and practice your skills at Monospiad Cultural Village, take in the mangrove swamps to marvel at the incredible flora and fauna of Borneo or simply relax the day away at one of the many enchanting beach settings at the nearby resort of Tanjung Aru. 

One of the most popular attractions here is the awe inspiring Mount Kinabalu.  Located within the impressive Kinabalu National Park, this tremendous sight towers 13,500 feet and is a must when visiting the area.  The National Park itself is a great place to visit and offers the chance to take in the rich flora and fauna here including rare orchids and the sights of many deer, monkeys and other beautiful wildlife. 

Heading into the town, many excursions will offer an overview of the exciting attractions here.  Major landmarks include the superb State and City Mosques as well as the highest building in the city, the Tun Mustapha Tower.  The State Mosque features 216 feet high minarets.  To discover a different style of architecture, there is also the chance to visit the Heritage Village offering a great insight into the local methods, traditions and architectural styles of North Borneo.  Here you will get up close and meet some of the tribes to see their unique housing and local materials such as bamboo and Nipa leaves used to create their homes.  The headhunting practice here is renowned all over the world, something highly intriguing and well worth discovering more about when visiting this port of call.  A visit to the Heritage Village allows passengers to learn more about the native houses and the skull hut.  This longstanding bygone tradition of Borneo’s natives is designed to test a person’s manhood.  The House of Skills displays over 40 skull trophy’s, dating back over 300 years and designed to pay homage to the testifying valour of the great warrior Kadazan hero, Monsopiad. 

Other exciting sightseeing attractions include the majestic Sabah Museum for the opportunity to admire the colourful garments, handcrafted items and musical instruments developed through the ages.  Alternatively you can again gain first-hand experience of the local lifestyle with a visit to the water village.

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