My family and I went on a trip to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah, recently.

As soon as we arrived, we rented a car to immediately make our way to Kundasang, where we stayed the night.

Before leaving the city, though, we visited the Sabah Museum, which had a display of a massive Bryde’s whale skeleton. Apart from that, there were also other interesting natural history and cultural exhibits, including items from the famous North Borneo Railway.

Later, on our way to Kundasang, we stopped at Tamparuli to visit something called the Upside Down House. (It is literally what it is – a house built upside down, with its interiors also flipped the other way.)

At Pekan Nabalu, we searched for some durian and other local fruits. The observation tower that used to be there is no longer in service due to a broken staircase – surely the authorities could repair that?

The last leg of our trip up to Kundasang was challenging as it rained heavily and was very misty. Fortunately, we arrived at our hotel safely.

In the morning, we went to the town for breakfast. We tried one of Sabah’s signature dishes – the Tuaran mee. After a filling meal, we took off for the Desa Dairy Farm which is essentially a local version of New Zealand!


The writer and his wife, daughter and father-in-law at the now iconic ‘I Love KK’ structure in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

There were Holstein-Friesian cows on the farm, as well as goats that visitors can pet and help feed. We bought some fresh milk and gelato to try.

The farm is a good place to be if you’re looking to take gorgeous pictures. With Mount Kinabalu in the background, the view is so picturesque.

After that, we made our way back to KK but not before stopping by the Tamparuli bridge for lunch. This reminded me of the popular Sabah song, Jambatan Tamparuli.

In KK, we dropped off our rented car and went to the beach again – this time via Grab – in hopes of catching the sunset. To my dismay, the sunset was not as enchanting as I had anticipated.

On Sunday morning, we went to the fish market and was surprised by the abundance of fresh seafood being sold. The cockles were huge! We bought some dried seafood at a nearby shop and walked to the Gaya Street Sunday market to check out the scene. Lunch was at a popular laksa restaurant; I thought the laksa tasted more like curry, though.

We also took some time to visit the Filipino market, which is located near the city’s waterfront. This is the market to go to for souvenirs. There, we tried a dish called melo-melo, which are giant sea snails. It was chewy but tasted interesting; it was also inexpensive.

Speaking of inexpensive seafood, our dinner of fish, crabs, prawns, lala and vegetables at a popular seafood restaurant did not even cost us RM140 (for four people)! We went back to the same place the next evening to have more.


Pulau Sapi is about 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu by boat.

We also went to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to see pygmy elephants, orangutans and the Proboscis monkeys, all of which are signature species from Borneo. We took a Grab there – thankfully, the driver agreed to wait for us (for a small fee) or we might have problems getting back.

On our last day, we managed to get to the Borneo Reef World, a large “reef activity” pontoon docked in between two islands where visitors can take part in activities like sea-walking and snorkelling. We also visited their undersea observatory, but because the weather wasn’t great, we couldn’t see many of the sea creatures.

After lunch at the pontoon, we hopped on a boat and went to Sapi Island for a short while, before quickly heading back to our rented apartment and making our way to the airport.

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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