Kota Kinabalu, or “KK”
Kota Kinabalu sunset
as it is popularly known, is a pleasant Borneo surprise, set between lush tropical hills and the South China Sea. It is the state capital of Sabah and a resort-city of exciting contrasts – vibrant, serene and hassle-free, with modern infrastructure and many attractions. Strategically situated less than three hours by air from East Asian capitals, KK has direct flights to/from major cities – Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Seri Begawan, Singapore, Manila, Cebu, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. KK was granted city status on 2 February 2000. It is the eastern hub and getway to Malaysia.
KK traces its beginnings 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, rebel Mat Salleh and his men fought and burnt the island settlement. The British relocated to the mainland at Kampung 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 Chartered Company.