May 15, 2009 / 3:54 AM / 10 years ago

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to explore Kota Kinabalu, a seaside city that also boasts a tropical jungle and an impressive mountain park nearby?

A view of Mount Kinabalu located in Kinabalu National Park, March 27, 2009. REUTERS/Ajay Kamalakaran

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most from a short stay in the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state, on the island of Borneo.


7 a.m. - Start off with a typical local breakfast of spicy nasi lemak, a dish featuring rice, small dried anchovies, peanuts, hard boiled egg and hot sambal sauce, at the famous Sri Yakim Cafe in downtown. For those seeking less fiery fare, treat yourself to peanut-filled pancakes at the equally renowned Pancake King nearby. Stay cool with fresh fruit juices.

8 a.m. - A three-hour drive through the lush green Sabahan countryside gets you to the Mount Kinabalu National Park. The park, which is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site has an impressive collection of flora and fauna. Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095 meters (13,430 ft) above sea level, is the highest mountain between New Guinea and the Himalayas.

2 p.m. - A walk in the Bornean jungle can work up quite an appetite. Enjoy a pan-Asian lunch at the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa’s Tinompok restaurant.

4 p.m. - Still in the mood for adventure? Head down the Canopy Walkway. This series of hanging bridges that are suspended from trees are not for the faint at heart, but at 40 meters (131 ft) above the jungle, the views are fantastic.

5 p.m. - Time to soak away all the day’s adventures at Poring Hot Springs, which date back to the days when the island was under Japanese occupation. Let the sulphurous water relax your tired body.

8 p.m. - Back in the town of Kota Kinabalu, the party scene kicks off at the Waterfront Esplanade Complex. The row of pubs, clubs and restaurants overlooking the port serve everything from Singapore-made beer to Russian vodka. Irish pubs are high on the popularity charts.


8 a.m. - Step back into history with a traditional English breakfast at the Jesselton Hotel, with its colonial ambience. The oldest hotel in the city has been serving bacon and eggs, porridge, kippers and toast and jam, since the 1950s.

10 a.m. - Walk to the foot of Signal Hill, where the Atkinson Clock Tower still stands. The tower was one of the few structures that survived the 1945 Allied bombing of the city. Further up the hill is the observation pavilion, providing views of the clear blue sea.

12 p.m. - The downtown Filipino Market is a shopper’s paradise and just about anything from Sabahan souvenirs to clothes to Filipino pearls is available here. Make sure you bargain hard.

2 p.m. - Taste the fresh catch off the island’s waters at lunch at the Grand Port View Seafood Restaurant. Fresh crabs prepared with Chinese rice wine seem to be a favorite among the patrons, and the stir-fried garoupa is also a treat.

4 p.m. - No trip to Kota Kinabalu is complete without a visit to the Monsopiad cultural village, on the outskirts of the city. The village was set up in tribute to the Kadazan warrior and headhunter Monsopiad and is operated by his direct descendants. The living museum showcases the history, culture and traditions of the Kadazanadusun, Sabah’s largest ethnic group.

7 p.m. - Back in Kota Kinabalu, join the daily evening pilgrimage to the pubs on the waterfront and party the night away.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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