Kota Kinabalu is famous for its Mount Kinabalu which is located and protected as Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site. Being the tallest mountain in the country with the height of 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu is also the highest peak in the Crocker Range of Borneo. Formerly known as Jesselton, the capital of the state of Sabah, Malaysia is Kota Kinabalu, commonly known as KK and is the capital of the Kota Kinabalu District as well as the West Coast Division of Sabah. The town has been inhabited as early as the 15th century, being placed under the rule of the Bruneian Empire before made a British colony and briefly occupied by Japan during World War II. Now as a part of the Malaysia Federation, Kota Kinabalu is one of the major industrial and commercial centers of East Malaysia, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is the main airport in East Malaysia and an important airport that serves as the main gateway to Kota Kinabalu and other areas in the West Coast of Sabah. Located in Kepayan and Tanjung Aru which is about 8 kilometers southwest of the city center, KKIA is the second busiest airport after Kuala Lumpur International Airport, catering to 8 million passengers manually. Owned by the Malaysian Government and operated by Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad, KKIA started as a military airport built by the Japanese army during World War II before being taken over and expanded over the years. KKIA has two major terminals where one is known as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, in which Terminal 2 was the original terminal building while Terminal 1 is a much newer terminal with increased capability to handle more passengers. It is the main hub for AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, MASWings and Malindo Air, while AirAsia and Silkair would provide a handful of trips into and from Singapore.
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The off-peak season is around March to April and September to November because of heavy rains. Peak season in Kota Kinabalu is June, August and July. If you plan your trip well, you can save your money because the price for hotels and flights during peak season will cost you a lot of money. The best time to visit Kota Kinabalu is around May to July because Kota Kinabalu will have settled weather as the entire country will go through a dry season, resulting in clear skies.
Kota Kinabalu in a similar fashion to Kuala Lumpur and nearby cities in the Southeast Asia region has a tropical rainforest climate which dry season is shorter, and rainfall usually is heavy throughout the year. Usually, it will be warm and sunny except when it is nearing the Northeast Monsoon season from October to March, in which it is normal to witness raining all day long. The temperature is humid and hot and is balanced when it rains, with annual precipitation of 2,400 millimeters on average. The average maximum temperature in Kota Kinabalu around 30 and 32 degree Celsius while the average minimum is around 22.9 and 24 degree Celsius. Kota Kinabalu experience monsoon seasons, which are the Northeast Monsoon from November to March and Southwest Monsoon from May to September.
In Kota Kinabalu, you can enjoy many festivals just like the locals would, which is a given because Malaysia is a multicultural country which consists of the cultures of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other indigenous groups of the North Borneo region. Chinese New Year and Thaipusam are celebrated joyfully here just like they do in the Peninsular Malaysia area. There is also the Hari Raya Aidilfitri, celebration done by Muslims after fasting for one month during Ramadan. Moving on, Sabah also observes National Day where all Malaysian citizens will celebrate this day for remembering the independence from British rule, as well as Malaysia Day which commemorates the formation of Malaysia Federation. Kalimaran Festival is a major celebration for the Murut people which is held in April, while Tadau Kaamatan is a harvest festival celebrated by the Kadazan-Dusuns.
1. Kinabalu Park – Among the earliest national parks in the country with a history of establishment since 1964, Kinabalu Park is also the first World Heritage Site in the country. Covering an area of 754 square kilometers surrounding the Mount of Kinabalu, in addition to adventure seekers wanting to take on the mountain, visitors can look forward to observe the variety of flora and fauna.
2. Kota Kinabalu Wetlands – Formerly known as Kota Kinabalu Bird Sanctuary, the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands are now expanded as a model wetland centre for conservation, education, recreation, tourism and research. However worry not, for bird lovers, the birds are still around, with almost 80 species of them being observed here by passionate bird watchers.
3. Sabah State Museum – Sabah State Museum is a 17-hectares museum complex that also comprises of state art gallery, botanic garden, zoo and heritage village all in one area. It has been established since 1965 with humble beginnings as a collection of efforts by Sabah Society before taken up by the state government.