Kota Kinabalu

pa220480Beautiful scenery near old Jesselton Port in Kota Kinabalu

This is the first time I have visited Kota Kinabalu.  If not because of duty I would not set my foot on the eastern part of the country.  I was in Kota Kinabalu on 21 & 22 October 2008

Kota Kinabalu formerly known as Jesselton, is the capital of Sabah, a state in Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu is located on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo facing the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park on one side, and with Mount Kinabalu in the background. Kota Kinabalu sprawls for kilometers along the coast and towards inland. With an estimated population of 543,765 in the city and 700,000 in the urban area, it is the largest urban centre in Sabah and the sixth largest in Malaysia. 


pa210471View of Kota Kinabalu from the aeroplane 

pa2104721Another aerial view of Kota Kinabalu 

Kota Kinabalu traces its beginning to 1881, as a tiny British settlement on Pulau gaya, the biggest of five islands directly across the bay from present day KK City.  In 1897, Pahlawan Mat Saleh and his men faought and burnt the island settlement.  The Brisitis relocated to the mainland at Kampong Gantisan, a small fishing village.  In 1899, the British named the new settlement ‘Jesselton’ after Sir Charles Jessel, the Vice-Chairman of the British North Borneo Charted Company.

pa210473Beautiful underwater island and its clear water

pa210474View of Kota Kinabalu while the aeroplane approaching the airport 

pa210475Another view from the aeroplane

Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu, situated about 90 kilometres east-northeast of the city. The meaning and origin of the name Kinabalu is uncertain. One theory suggests it means “Chinese widow”, where Kina meaning “Chinese” (person) in Kadazandusun language, and balu meaning “widow” in Malay language.



pa220481Icon of Kota Kinabalu; Wisma Tun Mustapha formerly known as Yayasan Sabah Building

The city’s population today is a mixture of many different races and ethnicities. The city consists of mainly Kadazans, Chinese, Bajaus and Malays. Most of the Chinese people in the city are Hakkas and can be found mainly in the Luyang area. The area of Penampang is populated mainly by Kadazans, while the Bajaus mainly reside in Likas and Sembulan. The people of the city have lived peacefully side by side.  

pa220482New and beautiful building in Kota Kinabalu 

pa220486Another interesting facade view of a building in Jalan Pantai Kota Kinabalu 

pa220485In the city centre, Jalan Pantai 

pa220484New icon, Kota Kinabalu City Mosque at Likas Bay.  It is the biggest mosque in KK can accomodate between 9,000 to 10,000 people

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) serves the city of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, Malaysia. It is located about 8 km southwest of the city centre. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with over 4 million passenger movements in 2006 for domestic and international flights

In mid 2005, major renovation and extension of BKI worth RM1.4 billion that will see the present 2,988 m runway extended to 3,780 m and the size of the main airport Terminal 1 building (Terminal 1) increased from 34,000 m2 to 87,000 m2. The new airport terminal building will be able to accommodate four Boeing 747s, one Airbus A330, seven Boeing 737s, three Fokker 50s and three Dorniers at any one time. It will also have 12 jetways for passenger use. The old air traffic control tower which is attached to the main terminal building have been demolished and constructed as stand alone tower.  

pa210478Terminal 1 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport 

Terminal 1 is the main terminal of BKI. It is accessed via Jalan Putatan in Petagas nearby Kepayan. Currently its technical facilities includes 12 gates, 5 airbridges, and 4 baggage claim belts. It has the capacity of handling 2.5 million passenger annually. It also features duty-free shops, other shops, lounges, travel agents, restaurants, and many others. It’s massive renovation and expansion just completed recently 

pa220489View of boarding area at Terminal 1 KKIA

pa220490Interior view of Terminal 1 KKIA 

Terminal 2 used to be the original terminal building of the airport when it was first built. It is accessed via Jalan Mat Salleh in Tanjung Aru and is located on the other side of the runway from Terminal 1. Terminal 2 is really for charter and low cost carrier. Sometime, it is called LCCT. Terminal 2 has recently undergone a major renovation and extension and it re-opened on January 1, 2007 in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007. It was completed 27 months ahead of schedule. Although it is renovated to serve the low cost carriers, namely AirAsia, it is not a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) as that of Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s LCCT, as here, other full service airlines may utilize the terminal. It has 26 check-in counters for domestic and international flights and 6 parking bays for B737 and A320 aircraft as well as 7 luggage x-ray machines, a VIP room and 13 immigration counters. The terminal has the capacity to handle 3 million passengers annually. This airport was the second airport to have separation between normal carriers and low cost carrier

pa220491Looking to the aeroplane at parking apron from boarding area 



  1. hey!..i just got back from KK.i attend the official launch of the 1 Malaysia campaign at Putatan,Kota Kinabalu on the 9th.Aug.2009…

    i also can see the Malaysia Airlines A330-300 parked at the gate..it reminds me of my flight,MH 2616 bound for Kota Kinabalu on 8 Aug 2009… 9M-MKJ arrived gate A4 at KKIA and MH 2617 heading home to Kuala Lumpur on 10 Aug 2009…9M-MKS departed gate A4 of KKIA and arrived gate A10 at KLIA..

    i miss Kota Kinabalu so much!!.i don’t mind if i have to stay in KK for 4 years or longer!!!


  2. Dear Anggun

    Thank you for your good word and comment. Yes indeed those places mentioned by you are the must visit place, but I didnot have the opportunity to visit. I just covered very small part of KK.
    Thank you for visiting my blog.


  3. Assalamualaikum Pak Fathersez

    Yes true you should write something, as me did not have the opportunity to move around except between hotel and office. Nice place to visit, historic too.


  4. very nice description of KK. would be better to include prominent landmark within kk itself; like a must go Tanjung Aru beach. 🙂


  5. Pak,


    I just returned from KK. I don’t think even the Sabah folks know Sabah and KK like you do.

    Maybe your next trip you can write a bit about the sea villages like Tanjung Aru. And the Filipino market is also a must see.



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