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Your Perfect 5 Days 4 Nights Kota Kinabalu Itinerary

Are you dreaming of the perfect holiday in the Land Below the Wind? If so, you're in luck! We’re excited to share with you the ultimate 5 Days 4 Nights itinerary for Kota Kinabalu. From cultural immersion at Mari Mari Cultural Village to breathtaking mountain views at Kinabalu Park, this day-to-day guide will inspire your adventure. Let’s get started! 

Getting to the city center from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)

Kota Kinabalu has only one airport and you will land at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). There are a few options that will get you Kota Kinabalu center from here: 

By Taxi/Grab/Maxim

This is the most convenient transportation option that can easily take you to the Kota Kinabalu city center. It’s also a hassle-free way that takes you straight to your accommodation, avoiding language barriers and any potential misunderstandings with the driver.  

By Private Charter

Another way of reaching the city center or getting around Kota Kinabalu is by opting for a private charter with a personal driver. With experienced drivers, you can relax and enjoy the journey in air-conditioned bliss with clean and well-maintained vehicles. 

By Car Rental

Get to Kota Kinabalu center at your own pase by renting a car! Drive down scenic coastal roads, enjoy the greenery surrounding the city or discover hidden gems at your own whim. Rent a car and travel hassle-free around the city.

Book your vehicle here!

Day 1: Free and Easy  

Start your Kota Kinabalu trip easy breezy! After landing, head to your hotel and enjoy its cozy ambiance. Relax with a dip in the pool or sip some coffee on the balcony before continuing the rest of your day. 

If you arrive in Kota Kinabalu in the morning, feel free to take a Grab or rent a car to visit some of the city's landmarks, such as the Filipino Market, Tun Mustapha Tower, Sabah Floating Mosque, and Tanjung Aru Beach.  

Need some recommendations for things to do in the evening? Check out North Borneo Cruises Sunset Dinner Cruise! This is a 2-hour luxurious cruise that sails during golden hour as you pass Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park islands and the city waterfront while indulging in a buffet dinner. If you fancy a night cruise session, KK City Waterfront Night Cruise is the ideal activity!  

Alternatively, if you’re looking to experience an exquisite dining experience, check out Mi Omakase - an authentic Japanese restaurant with personalized menus crafted by skilled chefs, or savor local flavors at Oitom - Sabah's first fine dining restaurant! 

Check out other evening activities here!

Day 2: Kundasang and Kinabalu Park Excursion  

Escape the city on the second day and head over to Kinabalu UNESCO Global Geopark. Get your cameras ready and witness the majestic Mount Kinabalu - the highest peak in Southeast Asia. You can also visit Desa Cattle Dairy Farm while you’re in Kundasang. Be sure to try delicious milk, ice cream, and cheese, all made from farm-fresh ingredients!

Head over to Poring Hot Spring for a leisure stroll on canopy walks and soak in a natural spring that offers plenty of health benefits!

Tips: Visit Spring Garden Kundasang to avoid peak season crowds and enjoy a tranquil walk at this secret garden! For a fun family trip, do visit a rabbit farm that is perfect for the little ones. Add some adventure thrills and go for an ATV and paragliding experience while you’re in Kundasang!

Check out more Kundasang attractions here!

Day 3: Nature & Wildlife Escapade 

Get your morning started by going for a guided nature hike at Rasa Ria Reserve. Keep an eye out to spot a variety of exotic birds and wildlife. After your hike, unwind with a relaxing body massage to relieve tired muscles, and rejuvenate your energy for the remaining days of your trip. If you’re short on time, squeeze in a 30-minute foot massage after your hike! 

Fancy a sunrise hike? Check out St. Veronica Hill, where you’ll get an excellent view of Mount Kinabalu painted against a misty backdrop!

Continue your journey with an exciting adventure - Mengkabong Twilight River Cruise and Fireflies Watching! As you cruise along the river, you will also get a chance to see wildlife, such as monkeys and crocodiles, along the riverbanks on your eco-adventure through the lush landscapes. 

You may also check out Tembara River Cruise and Fireflies Watching as an alternative! 

Book other wildlife tours here!

Day 4: Island Hopping Adventure

You’ve seen the highlands of Sabah, now it’s time for your island escapade! Opt for an island hopping trip to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP), located just 20 minutes away from the city center! Enjoy some watersport at Mamutik or Manukan islands including parasailing, banana boat, sea walking, and snorkeling to have an experience you will never forget! If you’re planning to just chill and relax on the island, you can book your hassle-free boat transfer HERE!  

Seeking a private island getaway further from Kota Kinabalu? Check out Ara Dinawan! You can book a day trip to this private island or enjoy a glamping retreat for a truly tropical experience. 

You might want to book this too!

Day 5: Bonus Activities

Looking to extend your trip or having a late-night flight out of Kota Kinabalu? Don't waste those precious hours waiting at the airport! Consider a visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village in the morning where you can immerse yourself in the rich traditions and diverse ethnicities of Sabah through traditional houses, demonstrations, and cultural dance performances.

Alternatively, tantalize your taste buds with some local favorites cafe snacks! Explore the vibrant alleway and head to one of the many cafes in Lorong Dewan. Here’s a handy guide to 5 Restaurants & Cafes to Try at Lorong Dewan, Kota Kinabalu

Check out other activities here!

Summary

Kota Kinabalu's highlights are yours to explore in just a couple of days, but a 5-day itinerary uncovers the full potential of this exciting city. Whether you crave relaxation or an adrenaline rush, Kota Kinabalu offers something for everyone.

If you're keen to continue your journey in Sabah, you may read our guide on Sandakan and Danum Valley to extend your adventure!