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11 Exciting Day Trips from Kota Kinabalu 2024

Kota Kinabalu, the gateway to the Land Below the Wind, is not just a place with vibrant city life but also offers a wide range of outdoor activities and day trip options. From kayaking in scenic rivers and enjoying the stunning sunset to immersing yourself in arts and exploring the unique culture, our top day trips offer a unique and exciting experience at all times of the year. Get your adrenaline pumping with thrilling activities or relax and take in the natural beauty of the wilderness thanks to all the exhilarating day trip selections for everyone to enjoy.   

Pack your bags and join us on an adventure exploring the best day trips from Kota Kinabalu!  

River Cruise in Sabah  

River cruising in Sabah is a popular way to experience the diverse wildlife, lush rainforests, and traditional river boat ride. Visitors can take a day trip on one of the many river cruises, such as Klias Wildlife Safari River Cruise, Kawa Kawa River Cruise, and The Little Kinabatangan River Cruise, to enjoy the sights and sounds of the surrounding wilderness. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to spot a wide range of wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, long-tail macaques, and rare species of birds, so ready your binoculars or cameras to catch sightings of these animals! 

Book your river cruise adventure with Klias Wildlife Safari River Cruise, Kawa Kawa River Cruise, and The Little Kinabatangan River Cruise. 

Hiking Trails

Kota Kinabalu is a hotspot for hiking enthusiasts, featuring trails like Maragang Hill and St. Veronica’s Hill. These two trails offer a moderate to challenging difficulty, and have a  distinctive view of Mount Kinabalu surrounded by green landscape. These popular hiking spots attract hikers of all levels, ideal for catching sunrise or enjoying panoramic views of sunsets.

Book your Maragang Hill hike and St Veronica’s Hill hike now!

Stand-Up Paddle Adventure 

Savour a breathtaking sunset like never before with Stand-Up Paddling at Tanjung Aru Beach! Paddle across the beautiful sea and dive into the crystal clear waters for a snorkelling adventure among the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life that leave you in awe. Then, set out to the nearby coral magic island for a front-row seat to Sabah's world-renowned sunset view.  

This activity is perfect for both beginners and experienced paddlers—if you have not tried this before, a guide will be there for you along the way to ensure you will have the best time of your life! 

Book Sunset Stand-Up Paddling here!

Taralamas River Canyon Hiking Ranau

Taralamas River Canyon in Ranau is renowned for its rugged beauty, offering a mix of thrilling water activities and serene landscapes. Perfect for adventure-seekers, it allows you to hike through nature trails and walk across rivers, discovering unique geological formations and crystal stones along the way. The two unique canyon trails—the 6 km Standard Loop trail and the 8 km Sadoron trail—attract both thrill-seekers and nature lovers, making it a distinct destination for exploring untouched natural environments.

Book Taralamas River Canyon here!

Shangri-La Rasa Ria Nature Hike & Massage Treatments

Explore the tropical landscape of Shangri-La Rasa Ria through a guided nature hike showcasing the area’s abundant wildlife and scenic beauty. After the energizing hike, unwind with a massage treatment of your choice – body massage or foot massage –, specially designed to relieve tired muscles and promote deep relaxation. This unique combination of hiking and massage treatment is ideal for rejuvenating both body and mind, all within the serene setting of Shangri-La Rasa Ria.

Body massage or foot massage, choice is yours!

North Borneo Cruises  

Get ready for an unforgettable evening with North Borneo Cruises! 

Indulge in a 2-hour cruise, serving a delicious international buffet dinner and live band entertainment, while taking in the breathtaking views of the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park islands or the sparkling city night lights. Choose from two sessions, the Sunset Dinner Cruise or the KK Night Dinner Cruise, for an exciting experience across the South China Sea. Create cherished moments with your family, friends or colleagues as you go on an extraordinary journey with North Borneo Cruises!  

Book North Borneo Cruises here!

Surf Discovery at Tuaran

Ride the waves and discover the thrill of surfing with Surf Discovery at Sabandar Beach, Tuaran as you stand up on the board, glide on the water, and catch that perfect wave! 

Familiarise yourself with surfing equipment and the correct technique as the experts guide you on the basics of surfing—you will be riding the waves in no time! Experience Surf Discovery with your family or friends and make a splash, as the lessons are tailored to your surfing knowledge and confidence level. 

Book Surf Discovery here!

Indoor Golf Simulation Centre  

Get your golf game on point at Sabah's first-ever Indoor Golf Simulation Centre! Play on some of the world's most famous golf courses as you improve your swing and fine-tune your skills, all in the comfort of an indoor setting, whether to escape from the heat of the sun or have a game of golf on a rainy day.  

With various game modes and options available, the Indoor Golf Simulation Centre is perfect for everyone, from avid golfers looking to improve their game to families and friends looking for a new and exciting activity together.  

Book Indoor Golf Simulation Centre here!

Train Ride to Papar

Take a heritage train tour to Papar and explore Sabah's rich history through beautiful landscapes. Travel past local villages and lush paddy fields to experience a nostalgic atmosphere. Appreciate the region's tradition and its past on this train ride and create an unforgettable journey through time!

Book your classic steam train or modern train ticket today!

Le' One Kokol Elf  

Kokol Elf, located 45 minutes from Kota Kinabalu at Kokol Hill, is the perfect spot to escape the hectic city life. One of the best things about Kokol Elf is its stunning panoramic view, which overlooks the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu, the majestic Mount Kinabalu and the dazzling sunset over the South China Sea.  

Whether you are lounging on the swing, nest, or hanging cocoon chair, you will get to take in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding area. And with so many Instagram-worthy spots, it's the perfect place to capture memories and share them with your friends and family.  

Book Le’ One Kokol Elf here!

Kayaking in Sabah 

Take in Sabah's breathtaking scenery and natural beauty as you explore the mangroves of the Tembara River on a river kayak or sea kayaking in Tanjung Aru and Tuaran. One of the most exciting parts of kayaking is seeing the magnificent Mount Kinabalu in the glorious morning lights or basking in the sunset glow—either one will definitely make you fall in love deeper with the mountain. Explore Sabah's stunning scenery by kayaking, one of the top day trip activities in Kota Kinabalu.  

Book your sunset kayaking in Tembara, Tanjung Aru, and Tuaran.

Click here to discover endless excitement in Kota Kinabalu!