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Vacation rentals in Kota Kinabalu

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Popular amenities for Kota Kinabalu vacation rentals

Stay near Kota Kinabalu's top sights

Jesselton Point58 locals recommend
Tanjung Aru Beach74 locals recommend
Filipino Market58 locals recommend
1 Borneo Mall6 locals recommend
Oceanus Waterfront Mall51 locals recommend
City Mall33 locals recommend

Quick stats about vacation rentals in Kota Kinabalu

  • Total rentals

    3.5K properties

  • Rentals with dedicated workspaces

    1.5K properties have a dedicated workspace

  • Rentals with a pool

    2.3K properties have a pool

  • Pet-friendly rentals

    70 properties allow pets

  • Family-friendly rentals

    1.9K properties are a good fit for families

  • Total number of reviews

    60K reviews

Your guide to Kota Kinabalu

All About Kota Kinabalu

Featuring stunning islands set in cerulean waters, a bustling coastline, and Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of the state of Sabah. Partly surrounded by rainforest, the town itself is home to vibrant markets, a modern boardwalk, and a waterfront mosque. Despite being a rapidly modernizing city, the past is preserved here through historical sites like the Petagas War Memorial Garden, which honors fallen resistors of Japanese occupation during WWII, and the Double Six Monument — a striking white arch that commemorates Sabah’s late Chief Minister. The city also houses several art galleries along with the Sabah Islamic Civilization Museum, where you’ll find intricate brass antiques under its five domes, and the Sabah State Museum, which is home to galleries focusing on archaeology and natural history. There are plenty of restaurants and bars offering a wide array of cuisines at the waterfront, where you can enjoy dinner with a spectacular view.

Just outside the city, you’ll find white-sand beaches leading to calm, clear water, hot springs where you can soak after a long day of hiking, and wetlands where you can take a river cruise through the mangrove forests. There are several unspoiled islands off Kota Kinabalu’s coast, and you can reach them by ferry or boat for a day of tranquil sunbathing and watersports.

Kota Kinabalu is also known as the gateway to Borneo, the third-largest island in the world that is almost entirely overrun by rainforest and features incredible biodiversity.

The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu has great hiking trails and stunning beaches, making this city attractive all year round. Given its tropical location, the weather in Kota Kinabalu remains hot and humid all year, and there is a chance of rain at any time, so always be prepared with an umbrella and be sure to pack proper shoes.

If you are an experienced hiker and want to have a better chance of spotting orangutans out in the wild, you should book a trip between March and October. This period also offers clear weather, blooming flowers, and minimal rainfall, creating a beautiful atmosphere for outdoor recreation.

Alternatively, if you are hoping to spend your days on the beach, renting a house in Kota Kinabalu anytime between April and December is ideal. During this time, the waterfront comes alive, with art and music festivals and cultural programs happening along the coast. Sabah’s Harvest Festival runs for the whole month of May with rice wine and traditional dances.

Top things to do in Kota Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia, stands over 13,000 feet tall at the center of Kinabalu National Park. A trek to the top of Mount Kinabalu is a two-day adventure with mountain accommodations along the way where you can stop for rest and food. From the summit, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts by exquisite views of the Sabah region.

Kinabalu Handicraft Market

Kinabalu’s Handicraft Market, located along the scenic waterfront, is a popular place to pick up handmade souvenirs and gifts. You’ll find signature items, such as sarongs, pearl jewelry, and traditional instruments like the sompoton alongside one-of-a-kind handmade gifts.

Tanjung Aru Beach

Between the peaceful pockets of Tanjung Aru Perdana Park and Prince Philip Park in the south of town, this 1.3-mile expanse of coastline is fringed by aru and palm trees. Bring a frisbee and join the locals in the late afternoon sun or grab some satay at a street food stall and watch kites and blue-naped parrots zig zag across the sky.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the weather in Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu has a tropical rainforest climate with significant rainfall throughout the year. Average temperatures range between 75°F to 90°F (24°C to 32°C). The driest months are typically February and March, while the wettest months are often November and December.

  • What are some of the best things to do in Kota Kinabalu?

    In Kota Kinabalu, you might enjoy hiking Mount Kinabalu, snorkeling at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, or exploring the local culture at the Sabah State Museum. Shopping at the Gaya Street Sunday Market and watching the sunset at Tanjung Aru Beach are also popular activities.

  • What is the best time of year to visit Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu is often busiest between May and July when the weather is most stable. During this period, the city hosts the Harvest Festival, a vibrant celebration of indigenous cultures with traditional music, dance, and food.

  • What are the best places to stay in Kota Kinabalu?

    For a lively atmosphere, consider staying in Kota Kinabalu City Centre, where you'll find a range of dining and shopping options. For a more relaxed setting, Tanjung Aru is often recommended, known for its beach and stunning sunsets. Likas is another popular area, particularly for those interested in local culture.

  • What are the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu?

    In Kota Kinabalu, you can explore the majestic Mount Kinabalu, wander through the green expanse of Kinabalu Park, or discover marine life at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The bustling Gaya Street Sunday Market and moving Sabah State Museum are also often recommended.

  • What are some hiking trails in Kota Kinabalu?

    Kota Kinabalu is a paradise for hikers. The most popular trail is to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. If you're looking for a less challenging but just as rewarding adventure, the trails at Kinabalu Park and the Rafflesia Forest Reserve are frequently suggested.

  • What are some family activities to do in Kota Kinabalu?

    Families visiting Kota Kinabalu often enjoy exploring the wonders of the marine park, visiting the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, spending the day at the Water World Theme Park or learning about Borneo's indigenous cultures at the Mari Mari Cultural Village.

  • What are some of the best day trip ideas in Kota Kinabalu?

    Day trips from Kota Kinabalu could include a visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village to learn about indigenous cultures, or a boat trip to the five islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Travelling to the Poring Hot Springs or Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is also frequently suggested.

  • Are there guesthouse rentals with a dedicated workspace in Kota Kinabalu?

    Yes! Work meets play with ease at over 10 guesthouse rentals in Kota Kinabalu featuring dedicated workspaces. Stay connected and productive in your home away from home.

  • How much does it cost to stay in serviced apartment rentals in Kota Kinabalu?

    Experience the best of Kota Kinabalu with our serviced apartment rentals, starting at about $10 per day, before taxes and fees. Embrace comfort and style while staying within your budget in your home away from home.

Destinations to explore

  1. Airbnb
  2. Malaysia
  3. Sabah
  4. Kota Kinabalu