How to get the best out of Sabah with limited time and a tight budget.
For those new to Sabah, Sabah is the northern Malaysian state of the island of Borneo.
This is the capital of Sabah and also the starting point of our journey. Better known amongst the locals as KK.
Take a walk from the Marlin Statue to the KK Central Market. All sorts of fresh seafood are displayed and ready to be cooked for you at the onsite restaurants. We tried this out and can definitely recommend the seafood. As you keep on walking, you will eventually find the extremely noisy and busy Filipino market. I got a bit anxious and claustrophobic in here, but it was great to experience the true culture.
If you are not in the mood for local, just keep on going, you will reach the beautiful KK Waterfront with a variety of upmarket restaurants to pick and choose from. Enjoy the view with a lovely sundowner.
The Gaya Street Sunday market is not to be missed but it is only open until 13h00 so go early. Here you will find a lot of cheap buys and good food.
Budget Accommodation in KK:
- Hotel Tourist – great location, close to Gaya Street and within walking distance to the waterfront.
- Switz Paradise hotel – set in an old shopping mall, but clean and close to the waterfront.
2. Mount Kinabalu
Visit the highest mountain in Malaysia with a height of 4,095 metres! For the more adventurous, this is most definitely a mountain to be hiked. It is quite a challenge and also a great achievement getting to the top. NOT suitable for kids, but don’t let this stop you. Rent a car and travel to this breathtaking mountain. Stay over and get up EARLY to see the mountain in all her glory. From about 10am she starts hiding herself behind the mist setting in. Take jackets as it gets quite chilly at night. Go for a morning hike in the jungle on the several trails around the base of the mountain. Watch our vlog for more!
Budget accommodation around Mount Kinabalu:
- Crystal Hill – our room had a balcony with the most amazing view of Mount Kinabalu.
On your way back from Mount Kinabalu, do a road trip to Kokol. Set on a hilltop with the most amazing views of the city of Kota Kinabalu and Mount Kinabalu at the same time!
Mid Range Accommodation in Kokol:
- Kokol Haven Resort – set on a hilltop with the most spectacular views. They have the best pizza in the whole of Malaysia!!
4. Kinabatangan River
Take a bus from KK and travel to the beautiful rainforest set next to Malaysia’s longest river, Kinabatangan river. Stay in a cabin in the woods amongst the pygmy elephants, orangutan’s and proboscis monkeys. Go for a guided night walk in the forest and fall asleep with the sounds of the jungle. Take a river cruise and see the proboscis monkeys fall from branch to branch. Watch the flying lizards being airborne! We would recommend this trip for nature lovers and adventure seekers. No hot showers ladies! Watch our vlog on our time here.
- Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp – they can set up a packaged deal for you according to your liking. Several activities to choose from and a guide included during your stay. The food was fantastic and we learned a lot about Sabah’s wildlife from our very informative guide. Our kids loved the rainforest, it is super safe for kids and we encountered no snakes 🙂
We really enjoyed our stay in Sabah, we were welcomed with open arms and we learned so much about the culture and the food. We would definitely recommend visiting Sabah with kids. There are so many more places to explore in and around Sabah, but unfortunately time did not permit.
This article contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of our affiliate links we may receive a small commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you.