Rungus longhouse, KK, Sabah, Malaysia

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Sabah Museum

Kota Kinabalu

About 2km south of the city centre, this museum provides an introduction to Sabah's indigenous cultures, with displays focusing on the traditional attire, festivals, customs and crafts of the Dusun, Murut, Rungus, Bajau and other Sabah peoples. Upstairs are the centuries-old Chinese ceramics retrieved from the Jade Dragon wreck, circa AD 1300, in 2013.

Try your hand at playing traditional musical instruments and learn about past headhunting practices of the Murut and Kadazan-Dusun.

The adjoining Heritage Village has traditional tribal dwellings, including Kadazan bamboo houses and a Chinese farmhouse, all nicely set on a lily-pad lake.

Next door, the Science & Education Centre has an informative exhibition on the petroleum industry, from drilling to refining and processing.

Hold on to your ticket: it also includes entry to the nearby Museum of Islamic Civilisation.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kota Kinabalu attractions

1. Museum of Islamic Civilisation

0.26 MILES

This collection of historical objects from all over the Islamic world is very engaging. Look out for replica mosques from Melaka and Sandakan, ornate…

2. State Mosque


Sabah's State Mosque is a perfect example of contemporary Malay Muslim architecture: all modernist facade and geometric angles. The building is south of…

3. Sabah Art Gallery

0.87 MILES

The first 'green' building in Sabah has outdoor sculpture displays and hosts contemporary art exhibitions by the likes of Francis Cheong and Awang Fadilah…

4. Che Sui Khor Moral Uplifting Society

1.15 MILES

About four minutes' drive northeast of KK, this complex has an 11-storey pagoda that shimmers in orange and green. The society espouses believing in the…

5. Night Market

1.42 MILES

KK's Night Market is an unmissable immersion into local culture. It's authentic, bustling, aromatic and noisy. At the southwest end you will find stalls…

6. Central Market

1.56 MILES

The Central Market is a bustling spot for people watching, with locals going about their daily business as they shop for fresh produce.

7. Atkinson Clock Tower

1.56 MILES

The modest timepiece at the foot of Signal Hill is one of the only structures to survive the Allied bombing of Jesselton in 1945. It's a square, 15.7m…

8. Sunday Market

1.63 MILES

On Sundays a lively Chinese street fair takes over a section of Jln Gaya. It's vividly chaotic, with stalls cheek by jowl hawking batik sarongs, puppies…