The name Penampang came from an old village within the district. The name Penampang, means big rock in Kadazan language and the reason behind the name was that big rocks were easily found around the area long time ago. Early British explorer, John Whitehead who had explored North Borneo in the 1880s referred to this district as Patatan while Owen Rutter, a civil servant in North Borneo from 1910 to 1914 similarly referred to this area as Putatan.
Penampang is a small town within the West Coast Division of Sabah. It has become a suburb of Kota Kinabalu and is considered as part of Greater Kota Kinabalu area. Its population was estimated to be around 121,934 in 2010, with ethnic Kadazan as the majority. The main town of the district is Donggongon . Penampang district consists with several sub-districts namely Putatan and Lok Kawi, Telipok town including areas up to Kampung Likas, Taman Foh Sang and Taman Stephen. The people of Penampang generally speak Malay language with distinctive Sabahan creole. The Sabahan dialect in Penampang is largely influenced by the native Kadazan language especially among the Kadazandusun people. Among the Chinese population, the Hakka and Mandarin varieties are spoken with variable fluency with Cantonese among other speakers. English is widely spoken in Penampang and especially among the younger generation.
There are non-stop flights to Kota Kinabalu provided by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air. From the airport you may take taxi to Penampang.
If you are from Kota Kinabalu you can take bus to Penampang at Wawasan Bus Terminal or CIty Park bus stop in Kota Kinabalu City.
Visitors from Labuan, Indonesia and Philippines can arrive in Sabah by sea. From Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal you can take taxi or bus to Penampang.
Monsopiad cultural village is made up of many traditional buildings and a living museum. It is situated in the heartland of the Kadazandusun people. The traditional village houses here were built on the historical site where Monsopiad, the fearless warrior used to live and roam about two centuries ago. It has skull back from the headhunting era where all the 42 'trophies' of Monsopiad's are hung on display.
Petagas War memorial is dedicated to the sacrifice of the martyrs of Petagas War. It was built in remembrance of those who lost their lives defending Sabah during the Japanese occupation in World War II.
The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is located along the Penampang Papar old road and is fully developed by the Sabah Wildlife Department. Among the inhabitants of the zoo (zoological component) are the Borneo Pygmy elephants, Proboscis monkey, Malayan tiger, as well as some different species of deer. The botanical component, on the other hand offers visitors the opportunity to go jungle trekking along the botanical trail.
The cultural village is located at Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Hongkod Koisaan, Penampang which is about 15 minutes’ drive from Kota Kinabalu City. This cultural village is specially catered for the Kadazandusun tribes in Sabah. Guests will get to witness the ancestor’s lifestyle at their homes which are built exactly as it was years ago.
Dongonggon, considered the heart of Penampang, is the place to be every Thursday and Friday when the Tamu (market) takes place. Guest may shop fresh vegetables and local handicrafts.
Narada Hotel Kota Kinabalu is a 4-star hotel, strategically located only 10 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu International Airport. All guestrooms offer guests stylish and comfortable accommodation and ideal places to relax and unwind as it offers a diverse choice of leisure.
Putatan Platinum Hotel is a 3-star hotel, strategically located in the heart of Putatan Town and it just 8.2 km away from the scenic Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and 3 km away from Petagas War Memorial. The distance from Kota Kinabalu International Airport is only 5 km away.