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KOTA KINABALU TRAVEL GUIDE 2018 with a ₱5,000 DIY Itinerary and Budget

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018 DIY ITINERARY AND THINGS TO DO

Planning a trip to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia? Let me help you with this budget travel guide!


I've been to Kota Kinabalu twice. And I could say that it's a nice and lovely city. Kota Kinabalu or simply "KK" is a very laid-back and relaxed city in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, but it offers a lot of exciting adventures, history, culture, and good food!

In this Kota Kinabalu Budget Travel Guide 2018, I will give you useful information on how to plan your trip. This includes visa requirements, what to bring and travel essentials, how to get there, where to stay, things to do, tourist spots and attractions, sample DIY itinerary, budget, expenses and more!

Budget Travel Guide to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia



WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS KOTA KINABALU MALAYSIA TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG?


Okay, let's get started...


VISA REQUIREMENTS


Philippine passport holders don't need a visit to enter Malaysia. All you need is a passport with a validity of at least 6 months to enter Malaysia. Filipinos can stay in Malaysia for up to 30 days visa-free. For other nationalities, or if you plan to stay for more than 30 days, contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Malaysia in your country.

For transit visas, you may check with your airline in case you have connecting flights or if you're transing in Malaysia.



WHAT TO BRING AND TRAVEL ESSENTIALS


  • Light and Breathable Clothes - the weather in Kota Kinabalu is most of the time hot and humid. It is suggested that you wear light and breathable clothes. Also bring a light jacket or raincoat for the occasional rains.
  • Swimwear - island hopping is one of the most popular things to do when traveling to Kota Kinabalu. Be sure to bring your swimwear to fully enjoy the islands and the beaches of KK.
  • Clothes for visiting mosques - another popular activity in Kota Kinabalu is visiting the mosques. When packing your bags, be sure to have clothes appropriate in entering a mosque. For men, it is important to wear long trousers or pants, short-sleeved shirts are okay. Women should cover their hair and arms, ankle-length skirts or pants are required.
  • Universal Adapter Plug - for electricity, most establishments use 3-pin square plugs and sockets at 220–240 V. Don't forget to bring a universal adapter.
  • Comfortable Footwear - Kota Kinabalu is a very walkable city. If you chose to explore the city by foot, you will walk a lot. It is best to wear comfortable footwear.

HOW TO GET TO KOTA KINABALU?


Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) is the city's airport servicing flights to Kota Kinabalu coming from Manila and other ASEAN cities. BKI is Malaysia's 2nd busiest airport and is considered as the main gateway to the Borneo island.

Cheap Flights to Kota Kinabalu


From Manila, Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia Philippines have direct flights to Kota Kinabalu. Other airlines such as Malaysia Airlines also has flights from Manila to Kota Kinabalu with transit in Kuala Lumpur.

To give you an idea, here's a sample search on the Traveloka App for a flight from Manila to Kota Kinabalu. One-way fare could go as low as 2,500 to 2,900 per person from Manila to Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide DIY Itinerary

To search for cheap flights to Kota Kinabalu, I highly recommend booking via Traveloka.com - one of Southeast Asia's leading travel booking sites. I've been using it in my travels for more than 2 years now and I can assure you that you'll always get the best deals, promos and discounts on flights! Best of all, you could get more discounts by using their weekly promo codes. Always check the "On-Going Promos" tab on their website or in the app.

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR CHEAP FLIGHTS TO KOTA KINABALU

Traveloka App is available to download for free on Android and iOS devices. Download the Traveloka App now!

Brunei to Kota Kinabalu


You can also get to Kota Kinabalu from Brunei Darussalam via bus, ferry or plane. Here's a travel guide on how to get from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018 DIY ITINERARY AND THINGS TO DO

HOW TO GET TO KOTA KINABALU CITY CENTER FROM THE AIRPORT?


Getting to the city center from the airport is very easy, you could take a taxi or just use the Grab App and book a ride. During our trip, we just used Grab to get to our hostel in Kota Kinabalu City Center which costs around 12 MYR. If you want to take the bus, you can take the airport bus that leaves every hour for 5 MYR per person.

WHERE TO EXCHANGE CURRENCY?


Malaysia's currency is called Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Exchange rates are 1 MYR = 13.32 PHP = 0.25 USD.

This is one of the problems we had when we arrived in Kota Kinabalu. Since the arrival of our flight is very early in the morning (around 1:00 AM), money changers at the airport are still closed. But if you're arriving in day time, it won't be a problem. You could change money at the money changers found at the arrival hall of Kota Kinabalu Airport.

I suggest that you change only a few MYR and change the rest of your money when you arrive at the city center. There are many money changers at the Jesselton area, Gaya Street, and at the shopping malls where exchange rates are better compared to the airport.

You can change your USD to MYR or have your PHP changed directly to MYR.

Alternatively, you can also use the ATM machines at the airport to withdraw MYR from your account. Just be sure that you informed your bank that you will be withdrawing money from abroad so you won't have any problems. In my experience, the charge for every withdrawal using an international card in a local ATM in Kota Kinabalu is 160 pesos per transaction.

FIRST TIMERS GUIDE TO KOTA KINABALU MALAYSIA

HOW TO STAY CONNECTED IN KOTA KINABALU?


Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu, you can buy a local SIM card for you to stay connected to the internet during your travel. SIM card costs around 25 MYR for 8 GB of internet use valid for 7 days. Price depends on the package and on the local carrier you choose. If you've used up the 8GB allowance, you may reload at any convenience stores. It's 10 MYR for 1.5 GB.


HOW TO GET AROUND KOTA KINABALU?


It's cheap and easy. We usually just use the Grab App to get to anywhere around the city. Buses and taxis are also available.

The city is small and you can walk around to get to different destinations. It's a very walkable city, has nice sidewalks, and has proper pedestrian crossings. Just be careful when crossing the streets because they have right-hand drive vehicles and the lanes are different from the Philippines or from your home country. If you're not yet used to it, look left and right before crossing the street.


WHERE TO STAY IN KOTA KINABALU?


On our two previous visits to Kota Kinabalu, we stayed in a hotel and a hostel. If you want a hotel or hostel that is near to almost everything, I suggest that you choose an accommodation located in Jesselton area or Kota Kinabalu City Center.

With the help of the Traveloka App, we searched for a hotel that is within our budget and located at the city center. I use the Traveloka App because they often have the best rates and widest selection of hotels especially when traveling in Southeast Asia.

Here are the hotels we stayed at:

FAT RHINO HOSTELS IN KOTA KINABALU SABAH MALAYSIA

FAT RHINO HOSTEL


Address: No 120 Gaya Street, 1st Floor,, Kota Kinabalu City Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 88000
Room Rates per night (via Traveloka):
  • Mixed Dormitory Fan - ₱229.82 per person
  • Female Dormitory with Air Conditioning - ₱268.12 per person
  • Male Dormitory with Air Conditioning - ₱268.12 per person
  • Queen Bed with Aircon (common toilet and bath) - ₱766.06 for 2 persons
  • Ensuite Queen (with toilet and bath)- ₱919.27 for 2 persons

CLICK HERE TO CHECK ROOM AVAILABILITY AT FAT RHINO HOSTEL

NOTE: Staying at this hostel has its pros and cons.

PROs
  • Awesome location along Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu City Center.
  • It's near to all we need - restaurants, money changers, souvenir shops, convenience stores.
  • Near Jesselton Wharf - less than 1 kilometer away.
  • Value for money. Cheap and affordable room rates.

CONs
  • There is an open-air bar with live band downstairs and it's very noisy until 12 midnight.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE DIY ITINERARY

TUNE HOTEL - 1BORNEO


Address: Unit No. G-803, 1Borneo Hypermall, Jalan Sulaman, Kota Kinabalu City Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 88450
Room Rates per night (via Traveloka):
  • Double Room With Window - ₱1,306.12 for 2 persons
  • Double Room Without Window - ₱1,335.14 for 2 persons
  • Twin Room - ₱1,402.86 for 2 persons
  • Family Room, 2 Queen Beds - ₱2,418.73

CLICK HERE TO CHECK ROOM AVAILABILITY AT TUNE HOTEL

We chose this guesthouse for the following reasons:
  • It is located within a shopping mall - 1 Borneo
  • It's location is within the Kota Kinabalu City Center
  • It's near convenience stores, groceries, and restaurants
  • Impressive online reviews with a rating of 8.3 on the Traveloka App

Note: Room rates are subject to change and depend on the dates booked.

TOURISM TAX

Foreigners staying at any paid lodgings or hotels in Malaysia are required to pay 10 MYR (133.20 PHP / 2.50 USD) per night as tourism tax. Local tourists and permanent residents are exempted from paying the tax.


USEFUL MALAY PHRASES TO LEARN


Although most of the locals in Kota Kinabalu can speak and understand English, it's also good to know and learn some basic Malay words and phrases that you can use during your travel.
  • Good morning - Selamat pagi
  • Good afternoon - Selamat petang
  • Good evening - Selamat petang
  • Thank you - Terima kasih
  • Welcome - Selamat datang
  • I understand - Saya faham
  • I don't understand - Saya tidak faham
  • Yes - Ya
  • No - Tidak
  • How much? - Berapa harga?
  • That’s too expensive - Mahal sangat
  • Where is the toilet? - Di mana tandas?
  • Help! - Tolong!
  • Excuse me - Tumpang lalu
  • What's your name? - Siapa nama anda?
  • Have a nice day - Semoga hari anda baik sahaja

THINGS TO DO, TOURIST SPOTS AND ATTRACTIONS IN KOTA KINABALU


Here are the top best things to do and must-visit tourist spots and attractions in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I've also included some useful information, travel tips, and how to get there for easy reference.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE DIY ITINERARY

Enjoy the Beach of Sapi Island


One of the favorite islands among tourists, Sapi Island offers clean white sand beach off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. It is the second smallest island of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, along with other islands such as Manukan, Gaya, Mamutik, and Sulug. Boat ride takes just about 20 minutes from Jesselton Point Jetty to Sapi Island.

At Sapi Island, you could enjoy swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and many water activities. If there's one island you should visit, this has to be it. Sapi Island has one of the nicest beaches in this marine park!

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE DIY ITINERARY

Hop to Manukan Island


Manukan Island is the 2nd largest island in the Marine Park. It is also the most developed in terms of facilities. It has a resort, several restaurants, and cottages for visiting tourists. Also, water activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, and many more are available here.

TRAVEL TIP: For ease and convenience I highly recommend booking a Sapi and Manukan Island day tour and just enjoy the tour! With a hassle-free and all-in tour, all you need to do is relax and enjoy these two beautiful islands of Kota Kinabalu.

The joining tour package includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, English speaking guide, entrance fees to the islands, jetty/port fees, snorkeling equipment rental, BBQ fees and lunch, and round-trip boat transfers to and from the islands.

BOOK A SAPI AND MANUKAN ISLANDS DAY TOUR HERE!


TOP THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU SABAH MALAYSIA

Visit Kota Kinabalu City Mosque


Called as the "floating mosque," the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the 2nd main mosque in Kota Kinabalu, after the State Mosque in Sembulan. The mosque was officially opened in February 2000, following a proclamation of the city status of Kota Kinabalu. The mosque is partially surrounded by a man-made lagoon, which gives an illusion that it's floating in the water, that is why it is called the "floating mosque."

HOW TO GET THERE: Just take a Grab Car for around 5 MYR. If you're taking the bus, take Bus No. 5A.

ADMISSION: There are no fees charged to visitors.

TRAVEL TIP: Non-muslims can enter the mosque, except during prayer time. Just be sure to wear proper attire.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU SABAH MALAYSIA

Visit Sabah State Mosque


This is the largest mosque in Sabah. Officially opened in June 1977, it is considered to have one of the most outsanding architectures in Sabah combining Islamic and contemporary architectures.

HOW TO GET THERE: Located at Sembulan roundabout between Jalan Mat Salleh and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahmanust, to get there, you may take a Grab Car for around 5 MYR.

ADMISSION: There are no fees charged to visitors.

TRAVEL TIP: Non-muslims can enter the mosque, except during prayer time. Visitors are advised to adhere by the dress code when visiting places of worship.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU SABAH MALAYSIA

Enjoy the View of the City from Signal Observatory Hill


This is definitely one of the best spots to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu city's skyline and its faraway coast. Signal Hill is considered as the highest point in the city, you can enjoy a good cup of coffee or eat in one of the restaurants while enjoying the amazing view.

HOW TO GET THERE: Book a Grab Car or take a taxi going up to the hill. Grab car costs around 5 MYR if you're coming from the city center.

ADMISSION: Free

TRAVEL TIP: For me, the best time to visit is during sunset or at night time to enjoy the city lights.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Climb Atkinson Clock Tower


Built in 1902, the Atkinson Clock Tower is considered as the oldest standing structure in Kota Kinabalu (formerly known as Jesselton) that survived World War II. Dedicated to Francis George Atkinson (the first district official of Jesselton), it is located near Signal Hill and can be found along main road. Climbing it is easy, just take a short 1-minute climb by the stairs and you'll get to the clock tower.

HOW TO GET THERE: If you're staying at the city center, you can just walk along Jalan Padang near the State Park (Padang Merdeka). You'll find Atkinson Clock Tower on the left side of the park and across the road leading to Signal Hill.

ADMISSION: Free

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Learn about Kota Kinabalu at Sabah State Museum


This huge museum complex is composed of the main building which houses the History Gallery, Archaeology Gallery, Natural History Gallery, Ceramics, Textiles, and Ethnography exhibits, among many other exhibits. Other parts of the museum complex outside the main building includes the Locomotive Gallery, Heritage Village, Science and Technology Centre, Ethno-Botanical Garden, and the Islamic Civilization Museum.

One of the most interesting items inside the main building of the museum is the enormous skeletal remains of a whale that will greet you upon entering the museum. The textile gallery and the Ethnography exhibits are also quite interesting and are my favorites.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

HOW TO GET THERE: From the city center, take a taxi or Grab car for 5 MYR. If you want to take the bus, take Bus No. 13 and tell the driver to drop you at Jalan Kebajikan off Jalan Penampang, opposite the Secretariat Building. Then you could just walk towards Sabah State Museum. Bus fare is 1 MYR.

OPENING HOURS: Open daily from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM

ADMISSION FEES:
  • Malaysian Guests - 2.00 MYR
  • Non-Malaysian Guests - 15.00 MYR

For Malaysians:
  • Students in uniform, disabled (PWD) guests, senior citizens and taxi drivers are free admission.

TRAVEL TIP: The 15 MYR per person admission fee also includes a visit to the Locomotive Gallery, Heritage Village, Science and Technology Centre, Ethno-Botanical Garden, and the Islamic Civilization Museum.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Visit Locomotive Gallery at Sabah State Museum


After exploring the main building of the Sabah State Museum, you may proceed to the adjacent Locomotive Gallery where you'll find displays of old trains and some memorabilia of the railway system of Kota Kinabalu.

TOP BEST THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU MALAYSIA SABAH

Science and Technology Centre at Sabah State Museum


Next to the Locomotive Gallery is the Science and Technology Centre which houses the oil and gas exhibition, the broadcasting exhibition, and some interactive displays that kids will surely enjoy.

TOP BEST THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU MALAYSIA SABAH

Visit Islamic Civilization Museum at Sabah State Museum


By following the directional signs, you may walk for about 15 minutes to the Islamic Civilization Museum. It's an interesting museum that educates visitors about Islam. On display are collection of brass wear, swords and weapons, old Qurans, miniature mosques, and many more.

TRAVEL TIP: If you don't want to walk, you may book a Grab Car from the main building to Islamic Civilization Museum
for only 4 MYR.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

See the Heritage Village at Sabah State Museum


A short walk from the main building and by passing through a hanging bridge, you'll see the Heritage Village. It has different kinds of traditional houses that gives every visitor a feel of what the old villages are like. You can enter into the houses, just be careful as some of them are quite old.

Overall, the Sabah State Museum is definitely a must-visit when in Kota Kinabalu. Don't skip it if you have time and if you like learning about the culture, traditions, history, and the religion practiced in Kota Kinabalu. It's really worthy of the 15 MYR entrance fee you pay.

For more photos of Sabah State Museum, visit Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu: Visit Sabah State Museum

Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal

Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal


The Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal is also a must-visit not just because it is the jump-off point in exploring the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, but also it's an awesome hangout place for locals and tourists. With its many restaurants, you could sample here local and international dishes.

HOW TO GET THERE: If you're at the city center, you could just walk to the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal or take a taxi or Grab car for around 5 MYR.


Enjoy the Sunset at Kota Kinabalu Waterfront


This is a waterfront or a public park where many locals and tourists go, especially in the late afternoon to hangout and to watch the sunset by the esplanade. It's definitely one of the best spots in Kota Kinabalu to relax and have a good time. Restaurants, bars, and a hawker center also abound in this area. So, if you want to grab some beers to end the day or eat some fresh seafoods, this is the best place to be!

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Enjoy the Seafoods at Todak Waterfront Hawker Center


After enjoying the sunset, you could go to the adjacent Todak Waterfront Hawker Center to have dinner. It's like a market where you choose live and fresh seafoods and they will cook it for you.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Food Trip at Gaya Street


If you want to have a taste of some local Malaysian flavors, Gaya Street is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu. Aside from restaurants serving Malay and Halal dishes, there are also other restaurants here serving Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and Western cuisines. Just walk along the whole stretch of Gaya Street and I'm quite sure you'll find the best cuisine that will satisfy your taste buds.

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018

Souvenir Shopping


For souvenirs, I also recommend Gaya Street. Here you'll find many souvenir shops selling different items and local delicacies that you could bring back home to your family and friends.

OTHER POPULAR ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS IN KOTA KINABALU


Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring

  • Explore Malaysian nature at one of its most beautiful parks, Kinabalu Park
  • See the exotic flora and fauna in Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Dip into a hot sulphur bath in Poring Hot Spring and relax as you gaze up at giant bamboo trees
  • As an optional extra, visit the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm, Kundasang Vegetable Market and more

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


Top Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Mantanani Snorkeling & Kawa Kawa River Cruise

  • Visit the magical Mantanani Island for some of the best snorkeling in the world
  • You may get a chance to spot the island's cutest attraction – dugongs or "sea cows"
  • Choose between two packages: Snorkeling Only and Snorkeling + Kawa Kawa River Cruise
  • Discover coral reefs, enjoy a buffet onboard the cruise, watch fireflies and so much more!

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


TRAVEL GUIDE Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Mari Mari Cultural Village

  • Mari Mari Cultural Village is located in a remote forest setting in Kionsom - the perfect escape from the urban bustle
  • Enjoy a truly authentic experience by observing the lives of 5 indigenous Malaysian tribes
  • Sample different cuisines and watch traditional performances: blow-pipe making, fire starting and more
  • Choose one of two tour times that best suits your schedule

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


TRAVEL GUIDE Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Kawa Kawa Fireflies Sunset Cruise

  • See a stunning sunset as you cruise along Kawa Kawa Village and its beautiful countryside
  • Don't miss a chance to see Malaysia's cutest inhabitants: the elusive Proboscis Monkeys
  • Relax over dinner onboard and get ready for a night show of dancing fireflies

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


TRAVEL GUIDE Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Sapi Island Full Day Tour and Fireflies River Cruise

  • Meet the sea gypsies of Sabah as you sail along the stunning coastline of Sapi Island in this day tour and cruise!
  • Set foot on the soft white sands of the coastal town and breathe in the fresh air of the sea
  • Dive into the clear blue waters of the island and get up close and personal with the rich marine life below
  • Catch an amazing view of the sunset from the comfort of your modern cruise ship's deck
  • See dreamy specks of light as your cruise ship sails through an incredible display of fireflies at night
  • Lounge by the beach as you munch on barbecues for lunch and Malay seafood for dinner

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


TRAVEL GUIDE Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Sunset and City Dinner Cruise

  • Enjoy some time away from the city by going on a two-hour cruise across the west coast of Sabah
  • Take in the stunning views of the South China Sea as the sky paints itself with the colors of the sunset
  • Feel the cool breeze and marvel at the sight of the starry night sky during the nighttime cruise
  • Feast on an international buffet spread while you are entertained by the live musicians onboard
  • Can't be bothered to drive to the marina? Pay extra for a transfer service and enjoy hassle-free transportation!

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!


TRAVEL GUIDE Kota Kinabalu Sabah Tourist Spots

Sepanggar Island Day Tour

  • Escape to Sepanggar Island, the ideal destination for aquamarine seas and off-white sandy beaches
  • Just 5km away from the city, explore true Malaysian nature in one of the hidden gems in Sabah
  • Go for a nature run in the beautiful tropicana rainforest and see varieties of local delicate flowers
  • Take a dip in the restful crystal blue waters or simply enjoy bathing in the tropical sun
  • Immerse in the scents and sounds of the lush island alongside majestic views of Gaya Bay and Kota Kinabalu
  • Extend your beach getaway in the equally gorgeous Mantanani Island or the undisturbed shores of Sapi Island

BOOK THIS TOUR HERE!

For other amazing guided tours and exciting day trips in and from Kota Kinabalu, PLEASE CLICK HERE!


SAMPLE KOTA KINABALU DIY ITINERARY


Sample 3 Days / 2 Nights Kota Kinabalu DIY Itinerary


Here's a sample 3D/2N Kota Kinabalu DIY Itinerary. You can adjust it depending on your flight schedule, the things you want to do, and the tourist spots you want to visit. This is also ideal if it's your first-time in Kota Kinabalu.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN KOTA KINABALU SABAH MALAYSIA
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL, CHECK-IN AND CITY TOUR


09:00 AM - Depart from Manila
11:00 AM - Arrival in Kota Kinabalu Airport
11:30 AM - Travel from the airport to Hotel/Hostel
12:00 NN - Check-in or leave your bags at the hotel
12:30 PM - Lunch
01:00 PM - Travel to Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
01:30 PM - Visit Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
02:00 PM - Depart for Sabah State Mosque
02:30 PM - Visit Sabah State Mosque
03:00 PM - 05:00 PM - Visit Sabah State Museum
05:00 PM - Travel to Kota Kinabalu Waterfront
05:30 PM - Go to Kota Kinabalu Waterfront and enjoy the sunset
06:30 PM - Dinner at Todak Waterfront Hawker Center or at any restaurant in Gaya Street
08:00 PM - Back at the hotel

DAY 2 - ISLAND HOPPING


07:00 AM - Breakfast at the hostel
08:15 AM - Hotel pick-up for island hopping
09:00 AM - Arrival at Manukan Island
12:00 NN - BBQ lunch on Manukan Island
01:00 PM - Transfer to Sapi Island
01:00 PM - 03:00 PM - Free time: enjoy the beach or avail water activities such as kayaking, wind surfing, parasailing, banana boat, and more
03:00 PM - Depart for mainland
03:30 PM - Arrival at mainland, hotel drop off
04:00 PM - Souvenir Shopping along Gaya Street
06:00 PM - Depart for Signal Observatory Hill, have dinner
08:00 PM - Back at the hotel

DAY 3 - DEPARTURE


06:00 AM - Breakfast at the hostel
06:30 AM - Depart for Atkinson Clock Tower
07:00 AM - Climb Atkinson Clock Tower
07:30 AM - Go back to the hotel and check-out
08:30 AM - Depart for Kota Kinabalu Airport
09:00 AM - Arrive at the Airport, check-in
11:40 AM - Depart for Manila

This is the simplest DIY itinerary that you could follow. It's quite compact, but you may adjust it depending on the number of days of your travel, the tourist spots you want to visit, and the things you want to do during your trip.

For other amazing guided tours and exciting day trips in and from Kota Kinabalu, PLEASE CLICK HERE!

KOTA KINABALU BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE 2018
Entrance to Sapi Island Kota Kinabalu


Sample Kota Kinabalu Budget for 3 days and 2 nights for less than 5,000 pesos budget


Traveling to Kota Kinabalu is quite cheap and affordable. Below is a sample 3D/2N Kota Kinabalu DIY itinerary for less than 5,000 pesos. This assumes the following:

  • You will be staying for 2 nights in a private room that is good for 2 persons at Fat Rhino Hostel for PHP 919.00 per night with breakfast.
  • You are a group of two.
  • Your maximum expense for food is 15 MYR per meal per person.
  • You'll be using Grab for transportation in going around the city.

PRE-TRAVEL EXPENSES


Activities in Kota Kinabalu were booked via Klook.com and hotel accommodations were booked via Traveloka.com.

TOTAL - 3,114 per person


DAY 1 EXPENSES

  • Hostel (1st night) - pre-booked
  • Tourism Tax (1st night) - 10 MYR
  • SIM card - 25 MYR
  • Grab Car (Airport to Hostel) - 12 MYR / 2 = 6 MYR per person
  • Lunch - 15 MYR
  • Grab Car to Kota Kinabalu City Mosque - 5 MYR / 2 = 2.5 MYR per person
  • Grab Car to Sabah State Mosque - 7 MYR / 2 = 3.5 MYR per person
  • Grab Car to Sabah State Museum - 5 MYR / 2 = 2.5 MYR per person
  • Sabah State Museum Admission Fee - 15 MYR
  • Grab Car to Kota Kinabalu Waterfront - 7 MYR / 2 = 3.5 MYR per person
  • Dinner - 15 MYR per person
  • TOTAL - 98.00 MYR per person

DAY 2 EXPENSES

  • Hostel (2nd night) - pre-booked
  • Tourism Tax (2nd night) - 10 MYR
  • Breakfast - complimentary at the hostel
  • Sapi and Manukan Islands Adventure via Klook - pre booked
  • Lunch - included in the tour from Klook
  • Grab Car from hostel to Signal Observatory Hill - 5 MYR / 2 = 2.5 MYR per person
  • Dinner - 15 MYR per person
  • Grab Car from Signal Observatory Hill t hostel - 5 MYR / 2 = 2.5 MYR per person
  • TOTAL - 30.00 MYR per person

DAY 3 EXPENSES

  • Breakfast - complimentary at the hostel
  • Atkinson Tower - free, you can just walk from the hostel
  • Grab car from hostel to airport - 12 MYR / 2 = 6 MYR per person
  • TOTAL - 6 MYR per person

SUMMARY OF EXPENSES PER PERSON

  • DAY 1 - 98.00 MYR
  • DAY 2 - 30.00 MYR
  • DAY 3 - 6.00 MYR

TOTAL - 134.00 MYR or 1,785 PHP per person


PRE-TRAVEL BOOKINGS - 3,114 PHP per person


GRAND TOTAL - 4,899 PHP per person


Exchange rate used: 1 MYR = 13.32 PHP = 0.25 USD

Not included in these computations are the following:
  • Round trip airfare from Manila to KK and back to Manila
  • Check-in baggage fees
  • NAIA terminal fee and travel tax
  • Food expenses for snacks
  • Budget for pasalubong, souvenirs and shopping expenses

Please note that exchange rates, ticket prices, airfare, hostel/hotel room rates, prices of tours and activities, taxi or Grab car fares, and other expenses are subject to change and depend on the date of your trip. You can adjust this budget and expenses depending on how many are you in the group, the tourist spots and activities you want to do in Kota Kinabalu and how many days you intend to stay in Kota Kinabalu. Also, make sure to always have extra budget for emergencies and unexpected expenses.


I hope this Kota Kinabalu Budget Travel Guide 2018 will help you in planning an exciting and fun-filled Malaysia Adventure! Enjoy, have fun and safe travels!


For other amazing guided tours and exciting day trips in and from Kota Kinabalu, PLEASE CLICK HERE.


Terima Kasih Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia!


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1 comments :

Mahyie Tandog said...

I'll be going to KK on Oct. 1. This is such a great help! Thanks!

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