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

$1700 Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Borneo Rainforest Tours

ItineraryDay 1: KOTA KINABALU – KUDAT LONGHOUSEStop At: Tip of Borneo, Kudat, SabahPicked up from the hotel and drive up to the North off Kota Kinabalu in a scenic 3 hours drives to Kudat, which is located in the Northern tip of Borneo where the South China Sea and Sulu Sea converge. The drives journey through some villages and paddy fields, eventually take us to a traditional longhouse at ‘Bavanggazo’ to enjoy a tantalizing local lunch. Next stop we will have a look at the gong making village and the ‘Gomizau Bee Farm’ for some honey tasting. We then proceed to ‘Simpang Mengayau’, a bafflingly paradise in sync with the harmony of beautiful sunny skies and blue seas to watch the beautiful sunset. Then return back to Bavanggazo Village where you will spend the night. Dinner and rest.Duration: 1 dayStop At: Kampung Gong Matunggong, Kudat, SabahWatch the gong-making by the local peopleDuration: 45 minutesStop At: Gombizau Honey Bee Farm, Kudat, SabahLearn the honey bee is process and harvestedDuration: 45 minutesMeals included: • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at a Traditional Longhouse (Twin Sharing)Day 2: LONGHOUSE – KOTA BELUD – MANTANANI ISLANDStop At: Mantanani Island, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu District, West Coast Division, SabahFollowing breakfast, transferred to the Kota Belud jetty for a 50 minutes boat ride to Mantanani. A stunning island with a beautiful white sandy beach for your down time in Borneo. You could opt to enjoy relaxing by the beach villa or take a boat out for snorkeling, as the island is well-known for its diverse marine life.Duration: 2 daysStop At: Mantanani Island, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu District, West Coast Division, SabahEnjoy snorkeling sessions off the boatDuration: 2 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Viva Mantanani Island (Twin Sharing, Villa)Day 3: MANTANANI ISLANDStop At: Mantanani Island, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu District, West Coast Division, SabahFree and easy to enjoy by the beach.Duration: 1 dayMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Viva Mantanani Island (Twin Sharing Villa)Day 4: MANTANANI – KOTA BELUD – KUNDASANGStop At: Kinabalu Park, SabahUpon arriving in Kota Belud, drive up the scenic Crocker Range perhaps a chance to view the different faces of Mount Kinabalu the highest point in Borneo Island, en route to your mountain lodge stay in Kundasang stop at the local native market where you will be amazed of the diverse types of bananas they have here. A must try is the ‘honey-pineapple’ which as to its name, with no explanation needed they are sweet and juicy. Check in upon arrival.Duration: 12 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Kinabalu Pine Resort, Kundasang (Twin Sharing)Day 5: CANOPY WALKWAY – KINABALU PARKStop At: Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve, Poring, Ranau, SabahAfter Breakfast, proceed on to take a walk in the sky at the Poring Canopy Walkway. Experience the bird’s eye view of the lush tropical rainforest of Ranau, with all the walking it will be just wonderful to have a nice soak in the open air hot tub of Poring Hot Spring. Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Mount Kinabalu Botanical Garden, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu District, West Coast Division, SabahAfter lunch depart to visit the Botanical Garden of Kinabalu Park, home to about 1,400 species of plants, fungi and animals endemic to Borneo.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Kundasang War Memorial, Kundasang, Ranau, SabahVisit the war memorial in KundasangDuration: 1 hourMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Kinabalu Pine Resort, Kundasang (Twin Sharing)Day 6: KUNDASANG – SANDAKANStop At: Sandakan Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sandakan, Sandakan Division, SabahFollowing breakfast, Leave the hilly Kinabalu and travel along the well-known ‘Sandakan Route’ where the POW of some British and Australian soldiers were forced to march from Sandakan to Ranau during World War II. After lunch visit the Rainforest Discover Centre, where you can explore the rainforest of Borneo along the 347 meters long sky bridge and discover the forest trails.Duration: 2 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Sepilok Lodges (Twin Sharing)Day 7: TURTLE ISLANDStop At: Turtle Island Park, Sandakan, Sandakan Division, SabahAfter Breakfast, depart to Sandakan jetty for Selingan island also known as turtle island. The journey by boat will take about 1 hour. Upon arrival check in and gear up for snorkeling by the beach area to spot a beautiful marine life. While waiting for dinner help yourself to watch the slideshow on the Selingan island and its turtle. After dinner, standby at the cafeteria and wait for the signal from the ranger before proceed in a small groups to the egg-laying site to see first hand the mother turtle laying eggs. Duration: 24 minutesMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Selingan Island (Twin Sharing)Day 8: TURTLE ISLAND - SEPILOK - KINABATANGANStop At: Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok, Sandakan Division, SabahFollowing breakfast, departs back to the mainland then proceed to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Watch the orang utan feeding session up and close, proceed to Sun Bear Conservation Centre to see world smallest bear in its natural environment. Duration: 3 hoursStop At: Kinabatangan Wildlife SanctuaryDepart for the Kinabatangan Flood-plain. Following lunch, check in and get ready for the late afternoon river cruise, in search for the wildlife along the river bank.Duration: 1 dayMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Myne Resort, Kinabatangan River (Twin Sharing)Day 9: KINABATANGAN RIVER LODGEStop At: Kinabatangan Wildlife SanctuaryWake up early in the morning. At 6 am depart for morning cruise and return back to the lodge for breakfast. Late morning, depart for a guide nature jungle walk to experience the riverine forest. Return to the lodge and freshen up. Lunch. In the afternoon, depart for a second cruise. In the evening after dinner, you may opt to join for an optional night walk.Duration: 1 dayMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Overnight at Myne Resort Kinabatangan River (Twin Sharing)Day 10: KINABATANGAN – GOMANTONG – PROBOSCIS LABUK BAYStop At: Gomantong Cave Sandakan, Sandakan, Sandakan Division, SabahCheck out after breakfast, journey towards Gomantong Cave, the house of millions of bats and swiftlets. Duration: 1 hourStop At: Agnes Newton Keith Home, Sandakan, Sandakan Division, SabahFollowing discover the historical city of Sandakan, to visit the Agnes Keith Museum, Sandakan memorial park. Duration: 2 hoursStop At: English Tea House and RestaurantEnjoy a lunch stop at the iconic English Tea House.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Sandakan, Sandakan Division, SabahAfter lunch, transfer to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary that offers another proboscis monkey observation spot for those who wants to have a closer look at these unique primate. The sanctuary is located at the center of the mangrove area near Samawang Village, Labuk Bay. Among the attractions of this center are the pig-tailed macaque, silver leaf monkey, oriental pied hornbill, otter and kingfisher. Return to your hotel or to the airport.Duration: 2 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • LunchNo accommodation included on this day.

$85 Kid Friendly

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.

$60 Outdoor Activities

Pandan Pandan Island Escapade

Pandan Island is encircled by fringing reefs which are largely intact. Just a stone's throw away from the mainland, be mesmerized by the variety of corals and marine life as you engulf in snorkeling at the island. You may stumble upon grouper, squids, baby barracudas and snappers. If lady luck is on your side, you may also be greeted by playful dolphins or mother turtles. The uninhabited fronting mainland offers the opportunity to hop to a few other hugely untouched beaches.Pandan Pandan Island is a ten-minute boat ride from the departure point of Usukan Cove Lodge located in Kota Belud, a district situated north of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. The journey from Kota Kinabalu to Usukan Cove Lodge will take you an hour and a half. You may sit back and relax throughout the journey and set your eyes upon rustic village landscape and paddy fields that welcome you along the way.

$82 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Mantanani Island Discover Snorkeling Tour from Kota Kinabalu

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Mantanani Island, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu District, West Coast Division, Sabah0715hrs                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.Duration: 6 hours

$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.