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The city of Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah, a land of unbelievable natural beauty and quirky creatures you won't find anywhere else.
Kota Kinabalu - or KK as it’s affectionate called by locals - is the capital city of the state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, the world’s third largest island. The city was known as Jesselton while under British colonial rule from the late 1800s until 1963. It was renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1968, after the highest mountain in Borneo, Mount Kinabalu. Today, Kota Kinabalu is the largest city in Sabah and is the main gateway to the treasures of of Borneo. Sabah has a rich cultural heritage made up of over 32 ethnic groups, speaking over 50 languages and each with their own traditions, food and architectural styles.
Official language is Malay but English is widely understood
Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
The highest mountain in Borneo stands at 4,095 metres and has five different vegetation zones. The mountain overlooks Kinabalu Park, Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage site. Kinabalu Park was established in 1964 to protect Mount Kinabalu and its plant and animal life. The park has four climatic zones and has one of the richest collections of flora and fauna in the world.
To really appreciate the diversity of North Borneo, join a P&O Shore Tour to a cultural village and learn about the region’s tribes and traditions. You'll see their colourful costumes and local architecture, and you'll learn about how each tribe adapts to the living in Borneo, from cooking with bamboo and starting a fire without matches to using local plants to create a refreshing drink.
Among the unique inhabitants of Lok Kawi Wildlife Park are the Borneo pygmy elephant, proboscis monkey (one of only two places on the planet you can observe the peculiar long nose proboscis monkey, Orang Utan), Malayan tiger and different species of deer.
Your ship will berth at Berth 1~3 at the port of Kota Kinabalu.
The port is a 20-minute walk from the city centre, or you can catch a shuttle bus for a small fee.
There are limited taxis available outside the port gates. We recommended negotiating your taxi fare before embarking or confirming with the taxi driver that they will use their meter. Most taxis drivers prefer to do half day or full day charters, as they line up the night before for their slots.
Don’t miss the great local seafood, which is commonly cooked in butter sauce, sweet and sour sauce or steamed with garlic. You might also be tempted by the local laksa, which is topped with omelette strips, chicken strips and prawns. For a refreshing (and vitamin C-packed) drink, kit chai ping is made from calamansi fruit and is served with salted plums. You can sample the laksa and kit chai ping at Kedai Yee Fung in Gaya Street.
Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products and sandwiches to be taken off the ship however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed, subject to inspection.
For convenient retail therapy, Suria Sabah Shopping Mall is the closest shopping centre to the port and is open from 10am until 9pm. Sabah is famous for colourful manik Rungus beadwork, handwoven baskets and pearl necklaces. For these and other unique souvenirs, handicrafts, local fruits and spices, check out Kota Kinabalu Central Market or Borneo Trading Post, which is located along the waterfront. Please note: shopping in Kota Kinabalu is subject to 6% GST in shopping centres.
Kota Kinabalu has a tropical climate with humidity of up to 90%. The temperature rarely reaches above 33°C and seldom drops below 20°C. The wettest season in Kota Kinabalu is between October and February.
Automatic teller machines can provide currency to foreign cardholders. Most stores prefer cash in Malaysian Ringgit, however, if the item amount is substantial, stores may accept credit card with a surcharge. The most accepted credit card in Kota Kinabalu is MasterCard and Visa.
Public telephones are available throughout Kota Kinabalu. Mobile coverage is generally available as long as global roaming is selected prior to leaving home (where applicable). Free wi-fi is available on the third floor food court of Suria Sabah Shopping mall.
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, please wear comfortable flat-soled shoes, lightweight clothing and a hat. You are also advised to bring sunscreen and bottled water. Please dress conservatively by covering shoulders, knees, midriff and plunging necklines.
There are a range of Shore Tours available to really get the most out of your time at Kota Kinabalu. Shore Tours can be booked onboard at the Shore Tours desk and are subject to availability. Guests are required to meet at a specific location for each Shore Tour departure. Please refer to your Shore Tour ticket for the correct time and place.
Please dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully.