Introducing Kota Kinabalu
We realise you almost certainly didn't come to Sabah for the urban scene, but you have to book permits somewhere, you gotta sleep after climbing Mt Kinabalu/diving in Sipadan/exploring the jungle etc, and you need some place to connect to onward travel, and KK, as everyone calls it, is a good place (sometimes the only place) to do all of the above. The centre is walkable. The population is a spicy mix of expats, Chinese, indigenous Kadazan and of course, Malays. The food is good – surprisingly good, given you’re in Malaysia’s hinterlands. Nightlife is fun, a testament to Sabah’s laid-back approach to life; there aren't a lot of bars. The downside is out of control construction; KK desperately seems to want to answer the question, ‘How many empty malls can we build in one city?’ but past this one demerit, it’s hard not to love this town.