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Kota Kinabalu Sightseeing - Seeing around Kota Kinabalu on foot

If you arrive early in Kota Kinabalu, take your sweet time to go for sightseeing. There are a lot of places for you to go around and buy some souvenirs. Here, I will give you the places that you should go around Kota Kinabalu.

Your travel to Sabah is not complete if you do not go to the places that I recommend here. And the good news is; all of the places that I mentioned here is in the city centre and just a walking distance from one another. Plan your schedule well and you will get the most out of your sightseeing.

Gaya Street and Sunday's Gaya Street Fair

Originally known as Bond Street, this is the main street of Kota Kinabalu. Fully rebuilt in 1950s and 1960s, the shophouses were used in the traditional way, with shops on the ground floor and residential units on the upper floors. Today, Gaya Street has the largest number of legal offices, banks and financial institutions of any street in Sabah. It also has many eateriesopen during the day and night.

Every Sunday morning, Gaya Street is closed to traffic for the Gaya Street Fair. For a small fee, traders set up stalls for the morning to sell almost anything - fruits and vegetables, fish, cut flowers & plants,puppies, rabbits, books, clothse, toys, souvenirs & handicrsfts, antiques, home-made local cakes & kuih-muih, food, the famous Tenom coffee and traditional medicine. There are also mobile health clinics offering minor check-ups and even politicians who set up desks to meet their constituents. It's amazing what you may find at the Gaya Street Fair.

Kota Kinabalu city center

Sabah Tourism Building

Situated at 51 Jalan Gaya, the building was constructed in 1916 to house the Printing Office and later the Treasury, Audit Office, Town Board, the District Office and the Attorney General's Office. It was one of the only three buildings still standing after Allied bombongs at the end of World War II. From the 1950s until September 1986 the Post Office occupied the building. Fully restored, it was gazetted as a heritage building and officially became the Sabah Tourism Building in January 1991 and now serves as a Tourist Information Centre.

If you plan to stay long in Sabah after climbing Mount Kinabalu, spare your time to go to this building. They have all the information about tourist spots in Sabah and you can plan your trip around with all the information provided. You will be amazed on the number of places that you can go and spend your trip in Sabah!


Australia Place

While in downtown Kota Kinabalu, do walk to Australia Place, where the Australian soldiers camped when they landed in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu old name) in 1945. This is now a quiet street of print shops, the downtown Police Station, two popular backpackers hostel and the Dewan Merdeka. Although times and landscapes have changed, old memories linger and the site continues to be known as Australia Place to some.

Atkinson Clock Tower

Building a British colonial empire in a faraway Borneo had its share of sifficulties and challanges. One of these was tropical diseases. The first District Officer of Jesselton, Francis George Atkinson, died of malaria at the young age of 28. His mother, Mary Edith Atkinson of England, built the Atkinson Clock Tower on Bukit Brace (Brace Hill) in 1905, in the memory of her son. While the original merbau wood used to build the Clock Tower has been replaced over the years, the building's overall structurehas been retained. As late as 1956, the lights of the Clock Tower were used as a navigation aid by local ships coming into port. However, the tower can no longer be seen from the sea due to the tall buildings. The Clock Tower was gazetted as a heritage building in 1983.

Filipino Market

Situated a bit further than the above places, Filipino Market is a huge souvenirs and local handicrafts centre in Kota Kinabalu. It has more than 100 sellers that is placed under one roof. The building is made of wood and situated very near to Kota Kinabalu wet and fish market. The place was well known to the Peninsular Malaysian traveler, which they usually go there to buy souvenirs, especially pearls, baeds and crystals. I know it because my mom do not want to go back to Peninsular without me bringing her to that place before she goes home! And, I do not know why, you will not find this place on any official travel brochures locally and internationally.

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