Welcome to Kota Belud


Once a year in October, Kota Belud hosts the famous Tamu Besar, the biggest market organised in Sabah. The highlight is a procession of fully caparisoned Bajau horsemen from the nearby villages, decked out, along with their steeds, in vivid, multicoloured satin 'armour' and embroidered barding. The best way to experience this commercial event is to come not expecting to buy anything – soak up the convivial, occasionally manic atmosphere, and enjoy a good meal at the lovely food stalls.


Top experiences in Kota Belud

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Kota Belud activities

$85 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Tamau River and Fireflies Cruise in Kota Kinabalu

Our driver will collect you from your hotel lobby in Kota Kinabalu city area around 2:30pm by an air-conditioned vehicle and depart to Tamau River. Travel north of Kota Kinabalu through the countryside for about 90 minutes to Tamau River in Kota Belud, a predominantly Bajau area. Then, embark on a 45 minutes boat ride as you enjoy scenes of village life such as children playing, fishermen returning home or buffaloes wallowing.  Look out birds such as kingfishers and egrets and monkeys such as the macaque and Proboscis monkey.  In the late evenings, possibilities of spotting the monkeys are higher as they settle down to rest for the day by river banks in the riparian forest canopy. After dinner, travel a further 20 km to Rampayan for another short 15 minutes cruise to witness nature's amazing light show.  Flickering fireflies glow in the dark, lighting up the mangrove fringe like Christmas trees and stars illuminate the night skies – a mesmerizing magical moment. Please note that seeing the fireflies is depending on weather condition and luck, you might even spot nocturnal animals like the flying fox and night bats. You will be transferred back to your hotel safely after an amazing experience.

$82 Day Trips & Excursions

Mantanani Island Discover Snorkeling from Kota Kinabalu

0715hrs                Pick up from the hotel and proceed for approximately 1½ hours drive to Kota Belud Jetty. Rice Fields, villagers and beautiful scenery can be seen along the way.0915hrs                Upon arrival at the jetty, you are required to read and sign the liability waiver form.0930hrs                Onboard and depart for about 45-minutes boat ride to Mantanani Island.1015hrs                As you arrive at our Palm Beach, a light refreshment at self-service.                              Then, onboard and proceed For Snorkeling Package – Swim / Snorkel at the house reef1200hrs                Back to our Palm Beach and a sumptuous BBQ lunch is served.1330hrs                For Snorkeling Package – Swim / Snorkel at the house reef / rest & relax at Palm Beach.1430hrs                Get ready and depart back to Kota Belud jetty.1515hrs                Arrive at the jetty.                              You may take shower and refresh yourself before return to Kota Kinabalu.1830hrs                Arrive at the hotel.

$99 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Kota Belud River Cruise from Kota Kinabalu

You will be picked up from your hotel lobby in Kota Kinabalu or other selected areas in the afternoon. Depart to Kota Belud, located around 75 miles (120 km) away, driving through a small town and paddy fields en route.Upon arrival at Tamau Jetty in Kota Belud, light refreshments (tea, coffee, and cakes) will be served. Then, board a boat and embark on a river cruise in search of the endangered proboscis monkeys of Borneo, easily identified by their long noses. Learn from your guide about their natural habitat  and look for other interesting mangrove inhabitants such as hornbills, kingfishers, and the elusive crocodile. Observe typical scenes of village life while you watch children playing, fishermen returning home, or buffaloes wallowing in the water.You'll return to the jetty for a 30-minute land transfer to the Nanamun River, optimally reached before sunset for excellent photo ops. Dig into a hearty dinner overlooking the river. When darkness sets in, embark on the boat again and head out to watch flickering fireflies lighting up the mangroves while stars illuminate the night sky.After the bioluminescent show, you will return to Kota Kinabalu and transfer to your selected hotel.

$65 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Tamau Kota Belud River Cruise from Kota Kinabalu

You will be picked up from your hotel lobby in Kota Kinabalu or other selected areas in the afternoon. Depart to Kota Belud, located around 75 miles (120 km) away, driving through a small town and paddy fields en route.Upon arrival at Tamau Jetty in Kota Belud, light refreshments (tea, coffee, and cakes) will be served. Then, board a boat and embark on a river cruise in search of the endangered proboscis monkeys of Borneo, easily identified by their long noses. Learn from your guide about their natural habitat  and look for other interesting mangrove inhabitants such as  kingfishers, and the water monitor lizard. Observe typical scenes of village life while you watch children playing, fishermen returning home, or buffaloes wallowing in the water.You'll return to the jetty for a 30-minute land transfer to the Nanamun River, optimally reached before sunset for excellent photo ops. Dig into a hearty dinner overlooking the river. When darkness sets in, embark on the boat again and head out to watch flickering fireflies lighting up the mangroves while stars illuminate the night sky.After the bioluminescent show, you will return to Kota Kinabalu and transfer to your selected hotel.

$1719.20 Classic

Highlights of Sabah & Mt Kinabalu

The natural splendour of Borneo’s Eastern Sabah region and towering peaks of Mt Kinabalu, all on one adventure? Where do I sign up?” Right here, friend. This incredible 11-day tour delivers ample time in Malaysia’s jungle playground (including a life-changing encounter with orangutans at a rehabilitation facility) before three days in the shadow of mighty Mt Kinabalu – the tallest peak in this part of the world – climaxing with a sunrise hike to the mountain’s peak. Prepare to be amazed.

$999.20 Classic

Borneo – East Sabah Adventure

Between its intriguing wildlife, skyscraper-height jungle canopies, and gorgeous coastlines teeming with tropical fish, this magical stretch of Borneo is positively bursting with stuff to see and do. This eight-day adventure promises to keep you busy; time spent marvelling at nature’s glory on Libaran Island, close encounters with orangutans at a rehabilitation centre, prowling the streets of Kota Kinabalu by night, and the otherworldly wonders of Borneo. Borneo has it all, and in East Sabah, it’s all close at hand.

Kota Belud in detail