vkeong’s Trip to Kota Kinabalu – Sabah

Yeah I just returned from a 3 days 2 nights trip to Kota Kinabalu! It was my first visit to Sabah and what a fun and gastronomic experience it was! Had some pretty new and unforgettable experiences that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
The lovely food blogger couple of KampungBoyCityGal.com went on the trip with us too and man did we eat a lot of seafood lol. Like always, this is only a summary of our trip and more detailed posts will be done later.


We flew to Kota Kinabalu from KLIA with MAS, the journey took about two and a half hours.

segama waterfront

Reached Kota Kinabalu at 11.30am and took a cab to our budget hotel – Lavender Lodge at Kampung Ayer. I didn’t expect traveling by taxi in KK to be so expensive, with flat rates of at least RM20 per trip (even it’s a short one!) And if you’re wondering, this place is called Warisan Square Segama Waterfront behind Hyatt hotel.


Doing what food bloggers would do first, hunt for food! First stop Wiya Chicken Rice, where the rice is served in a pyramid shape lol.


Second stop, Yee Fung Ngau Chap (which tasted like Bak Kut Teh more) and Laksa.


Third stop, Roti Kahwin at Fook Yuen Kopitiam, which is basically just fluffy white bread with butter and kaya. Fook Yuen is like the Sabah’s version of Old Town Kopitiam, serving all sorts of toasts and drinks.
Expect to find lotsa marriage drinks in this coffee shop, from Kopi Kahwin Teh C to Susu Kahwin.


Visited the Filipino wet market, where all sorts of seafood is sold here BBQ style. There are also many, and I mean REALLY many BBQ chicken wing stalls around.


Then it was dinner time, seafood! We took a long walk from our hotel to Ocean Seafood Restaurant, a famous restaurant for tourists. Here you get to see A LOT of live seafood in tanks, it was a real eye opener!


Had 1kg of Kim Hiong Crabs (Kam Heong Crabs) and some other seafood that cost us… RM250! After that we went to stroll in Sutera Harbour Resort and along Tanjung Aru Beach. That ended our first day in Kota Kinabalu.


The next day, SL and I went to Sungai Padas for White Water Rafting, while KampungBoyCityGal went to the National Park. I did one of the craziest things in my life at Sungai Padas – body rafting, which was jumping into the river’s rapid and let the current take you.
I don’t know about you but it was definitely crazy for me because I can’t swim! Yeah I drank quite a lot of the ‘chocolate’ river water too lol. When the activity ended it was already 8.30pm, time for dinner! This time we took the hotel owner’s suggestion and went to Luyang Restaurant for their famous crabs. Visit my photoblog for a bigger photo.


But we were too late and all the prawns, clams and shellfish were sold out. So, we had a second round of seafood (lobster!) at the food court just opposite our hotel.


The third and also our last day, we had Mee Goreng Tuaran for breakfast before going to the Sunday Market at Gaya Street. It was niceeeeeeee.


The original Mee Tuaran, kolo mee style served with fish cakes and roasted pork.


The Sunday Market at Gaya Street is a must visit for all visitors to Kota Kinabalu. Very colorful and you can find a lot of unexpected stuff sold here.


Like puppies..


Cats. And other pets like rabbits, hamsters, fish and tortoise.


If you are looking to buy souvenirs, this is perhaps the best place. Key chains like these are selling at RM10 every five or six.



Kota Kinabalu’s skies are clear and especially blue, super nice.


Went to Jesselton Point (passenger ferry terminal) to purchase our Island Hopping package. Remember to bargain for everything from food to goods to trips!


Took a speedboat to two islands of our choice: Manukan and Mamutik Island at RM25 per pax, we paid RM12 each for the snorkeling gears.


The jetty of Manukan Island. Although both islands we went are already heavily commercialized with resorts, the beauty still remains.


Do you know you can even parasail all the way from the jetty to Manukan Island?


You can either bring your own bread or purchase it at the counter to feed the fish at the jetty.


Me and SL snorkeling hehe.


Did some funny stunts while we were there as well. That’s me being flying-kicked by KampungBoy lol.


Mamutik Island is a much smaller island but the snorkeling spot here is much nicer compared to Manukan with more types of fish and corals to be seen. I swear I saw a tiny shark here! Too bad it started to rain afterward (look at the dark clouds)


When we reached our hotel it was already 5pm and we only had one hour for dinner before going to the airport. So we had our dinner at Sri Melaka, a Nyonya Restaurant well known for being reasonable price and serves dishes fast. This is ‘Sabah Choy’ aka Sabah Vegetable cooked with sambal belacan. If you ever visit Sabah this vegetable (tastes like kangkung but with a crunchier stem) is a must try.

Overall, I think we only explored like 5% or less of what Sabah has to offer and a second trip will be planned for sure. On the downside, KK’s food is not exactly cheap with the price comparable even to KL’s. And although seafood restaurants are abundance, the cheap ones patronized by the locals are just too far to reach on foot. And did I mention that the taxi drivers in KK do not switch on the meter?

(Visited 231 times, 5 visits today)

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Comments 42

  1. cariso

    Wow! From Sarawak now jumping to Sabah liao! Hey, I did body rafting too during WWR at Gopeng and finally understand how a ‘drowning’ experience is. One time try is enough for me! :) Tat Sabah Choy is the same as the ‘paku pakis’ (I couldn’t recall the exact name) at Sarawak right?

    cariso’s last blog post..Sakae Teppanyaki @ Autocity

    vk: I don’t think they are the same variety, they have different look and texture.. in Sarawak the paku pakis is called Mirin.. this one is called Sabah Choy lor

  2. iamthewitch

    I went to Padas River before too! OMG the train ride was terrible! It was so cramped and hot and every few minutes we had to bang into each other. Was it still the same when you went there? :)

    iamthewitch’s last blog post..My maiden F1 experience at Sepang

    vk: We didn’t take the train haha, we had our rafting guide pushed us to the destination by sitting on wooden planks fitted on railway tracks

  3. lingzie

    lovely lovely photos!!! i love the photo of you being flying kicked! lol
    and the puppies and the kittens so cute…. and mee tuaran!!! i love that! looks like a very fun trip. cant wait for more posts!

    lingzie’s last blog post..Apple Crumbled Cheesecake Recipe

    vk: LOL you love to see me get flying kicked eh :P

  4. Thomas

    I wish I was there. The photos look fantastic and I like the flying-kick! lol
    By the way, how much did it cost for such a trip? I’m planning to go somewhere this May.

    Thomas’s last blog post..Some Things Just Doesn’t Work

    vk: Hi Thomas.. the return air fare for MAS we took cost RM1066, because we got it at the last minute. If you are early, the fare would cost much much cheaper. For accommodation, budget hotels cost RM60-70 per night. Water rafting costs RM210 per pax, and Island Hopping ranges from RM30-50 depending on the number of islands you are visiting. Food wise, hawker food generally cost RM5-7 while be prepared to spend at least RM100 for 4 pax in seafood restaurants (cheap dish only) If you are willing to take a cab, you can travel to Luyang or Gayang for much cheaper seafood, but the cabs are not cheap either

  5. Jonathan Tan

    In reply to Thomas,

    I actually just checked MAS fares to KK in May, and if you book now, you can easily get RM124 (RM186 w/ tax) one way. If you’re going later in the month like 17th onwards… can even get as low as RM62 (RM98 w/ tax)

    Darn good deals for 5-star! But better book fast la ;)

    Jonathan Tan’s last blog post..Pillow talks

  6. Big Boys Oven

    wow that seriously interesting trip! Should have contacted some foodie in KK, that would be a great help, true there is a lot of great food in KK but need to drive! :)

    Big Boys Oven’s last blog post..

  7. Jensen

    Great to know you are happy with your food journey in my hometown.
    By the way, the second pic is actually behind of Hyatt Hotel = )
    Warisan Square is the place far side of Api Api Centre ^^

    vk: Oops, sorry for that, correction in progress lol

  8. Jensen

    no prob bro = ) just lending a helping hand…
    it’s really good to see nice pictures taken… reminds me a lot of my hometown since i havnt back for 2 years.
    Those who are thinking of going Sabah, might as well try the jungle tracking in Danum Valley or even the cool beach resorts at Karambunai. The water sports were fun = )

  9. miku

    me so sad coz i been to KK last yr…din tasted any seafood…:x
    coz all my fren are SDA…..^^lll

    u go there makan2 onli ah?

  10. miku

    aiyaya, jus saw u also wen to play rafting n snorkeling…lol

    lasttime my rafting trip not nice since water is kinda clam….
    snorkeling pulak…bit bite by small fish with sharp teeth….ftw!!!
    n get kinda terrible sun burn…^^llll

  11. jasmine

    Wow..nice picture. all these seafood remind me of my 3 years school life in sabah.Actually food serve in ocean seafood is quite expensive le! Can go try it at a restaurant called ‘Luyang’.With rm 250, you can try alot of seafood dishes already..hehe…If got time drop by sandakan ,can try to taste on their local seafood mee.They serve a big big prawn with cheap price! =)

    vk: Ooh I did try Luyang loh :) But when we went there all the prawns,clams,shellfish were finished.. and it was only 9pm! So we settled for crabs, fish and some noodles instead. The noodles were AWESOME! And the spicy sour crab photo you see is actually from Luyang lor

  12. J2Kfm

    wah … what a trip. I’ve always been waiting for another chance to explore KK, Sabah. previous trip was OK, sans the seafood and mountain-climbing.

    snorkeling and island-hopping was good, as long as the weather’s good. still remember RM15 got us everything, boat trips, snorkeling at 3 isles.

  13. Cilut

    I couldn’t help it but to pin-point that the “fish cakes” on the Tuaran mee is not fish, it’s pork, or commonly known to the KK’s hakka people as “chun gen” (egg roll). Only Sabah has it served in such way, and the best comes from a small town called Tenom.

    Ocean is an expensive place to dine. On longer trips next time, try driving around yourselves. Gayang seafood and Salut seafood (in the outskirt of KK) are some places locals bring their friends to for seafood.

    The ‘Sabah Choy’ is not only available in Sabah. It’s simply sweet potato’s leaves (the hakka calls it ‘fan su miau’).

    Feel free to disagree :-)

    vk: hey, thanks for the clarification.. actually I didn’t know they were pork because I didn’t taste it.. but it looked like fish cakes to me so…. Anyway, we do know that Ocean Seafood is expensive :) The main reason we went there is to look at the aquarium tanks with live seafood in it.. yeah like you said, we were in for a short trip so we didn’t have to rent a car to go to the restaurants outside KK town. About the Sabah Choy.. I don’t know about you but it certainly didn’t taste like ‘fan shu miu’ to me.. maybe our ‘fan shu miu’ here is different? Ours are not so crunchy haha

    1. KK gal

      hahahaha “fan su miu” is fan su miu and “kangkung choy” is kangkung choy no such thing as sabah choy. LOL as for i know…the picture shown was kangkung choy. btw Vkeong, next time u go to KK again. try to visit Bukit Padang (by car 15 minutes) on saturday-friday except sunday from 12pm- 5 or 6pm cant remember clearly. it’s a famous park where below the parking space at tat time got few stall sale special food where KL cant find 1. like chu cheong fun (totally diferent case) , ABC (totally diferent case), sotong kangkung (extremely not the case) i mean the look, taste N style not like KL. above the car park at nite, there’s a restaurant serve seafood too call Putra/Puteri restaurant. at nite on certain day they hav local dancing show. About the “fish cake” LOL it’s specially from “hakka loong chuen people”. if u hav the chance of going to tenom town not to forget to stop by at their biggest market at town. the only town/place serve chuen guen in Beef style and it’s only there they have at whole sabah. imagine my dad can drive 4 hours car just to take it as breakfast start engine from 4am. becoz late they sale out duh~

  14. sakaigirl

    uuu..nice seafood! i wana go sabah! start saving now,haha! I think the place you went to eat crab is over-priced, but nvm, i bet u enjoyed every drip of the gravy^^

    vk: Yaloh.. most of the seafood restaurants in KK town is overpriced one.. coz is tourist spot. The other places like Luyang/Gayang/Salut should be more reasonable

    1. daphne

      don’t have to go so far in Luyang…just go to Welcome Seafood Restaurant, it is really Cheap and Delicious…same standard as the Ocean (it caters to tourist, hence very expensive). We local Sabahan would go to Welcome and enjoy seafood at a very reasonable price. It is just next to Cititel Hotel, easy to locate (Plaza Asia City) and it is in town itself.

  15. shasha

    actually the sabah choy is not fan shu miu, it is sayur manis, in chinese know as ‘shu ze cai’

    i noticed that most of the restaurants you visited were mostly more commercialised (esp to tourists) but not the best price wise or taste. if u do make another visit, do find someone from kk (must have car!) to bring you around. although kk is not accessible by public transport, most restaurants are about 10 or less mins drive away.

    vk: Yeah, that’s true.. we didn’t have any friends to ferry us around in cars.. sigh. We had to walk all the way to the restaurants from our hotel

  16. Pingback: vkeong’s Trip to Kota Kinabalu Day 1 | Malaysia Food Blog, Malaysia Travel Blog

  17. Pingback: Kota Kinabalu Trip Day 2 Part 1 - Whitewater Rafting at Padas River | Malaysia Food Blog, Malaysia Travel Blog

  18. Y u n i z a

    hello! im from singapore and would be visiting KK soon.. wanted to ask you what are the best places to visit while im there?? which hotel is good and issit safe to go for the snorkelling trips??

    hope you can help, thank u so much!

    1. Anonymous

      Y u n i z a:

      hello! im from singapore and would be visiting KK soon.. wanted to ask you what are the best places to visit while im there?? which hotel is good and issit safe to go for the snorkelling trips??
      hope you can help, thank u so much!

  19. xandra

    Sabah seafood are not all expensive. The locals always go to Gaya Seafood Restaurant. Just ask the taxi driver to bring you to Gaya Sports in Inanam and the restaurant is next to it. Also many special noodles around Damai & Lintas area…but you have to take taxi there.

  20. daphne

    Glad you enjoyed your trip in Sabah. The next time on your itinerary, you should include Welcome Seafood Restaurant (located at Asia City, next to Cititel Hotel)…Absolutely CHEAP and VERY VERY DELICIOUS!! It is the cheapest seafood that you can find in town. And yes, Food in Sabah are exorbitantly overpriced. I am a Sabahan, so we definitely feel the pain and YES…the cab will never use meter and charge as what they like. We’ve been complaining a lot about this but no action taken.

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