The Kota Kinabalu Malaysia Travel Guide is part of The Year of the Monkey Trip Report which covers the following places:
- New York, New York
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
- Guangzhou, China
- Hong Kong
- Shenzhen, China
- Sanya, China
The Guns & Butter methodology:
- A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy.
- Anything on the line (Production Possibilities Frontier for my fellow economists) is an efficient use of your time depending on your tastes and preferences.
- Anything inside the line is inefficient as should be avoided.
- Anything outside is aspirational but may be impossible to do given the constraints of time and resources.
- The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa.
TPOL has a travel philosophy whereby I do not stay in a country for more than four days but will stay for a minimum of three. Too little time and I can’t see anything. Too much time and I do even less because I become complacent. Generally, this approach works. Sometimes, I find a place I really like and wish I could stay longer. Sometimes, the weather doesn’t cooperate or an attraction is closed and I wish I could stay longer. But with 325 countries in the world, I don’t have the luxury of time to do it all. For these reasons, I came up with the Guns & Butter Travel Guide. And here is the one for Kota Kinabalu. Admittedly, it’s a bit limited because I arrived late the first day, it was sunny the next, and it rained the final day.
I skipped the Proboscis monkey river cruise because it was rainy and the guide said that the monkeys would take the day off. The only reason I signed up in the first place is because I was told it was something I couldn’t miss. I wasn’t excited for the cruise because the day began at 1:30PM with a two hour drive to the river and a return at 9PM. That’s a long time just to see some monkeys. I’m sure it would’ve been worth it but damn do I hate organized tours.
If it’s raining, skip the tour. If it’s sunny, drink a double shot of espresso, and prepare for a long but great day.
I have no interest in scuba diving. I’m sure it’s wonderful. I’m sure it will change my life. That’s why I do not want to do it. Already, I have to try and sample the pho at every place I go, golf around the world, and drink beer everywhere. If I have to add scuba to the list, I’ll never have time for my favorite pastime, napping. Having said that, if I decide to get scuba certified, I will do it in KK which means I have to stay at least 4 days there. It takes 3 days to get certified and an additional day is required before getting on a plane.
Labor – Island Hopping
Island hopping was supposed to be the highlight but the selfie stick weirdos made it more stressful than necessary. At the same time, getting from one island to the next was more complicated than it needed to be.
Labor – Nightlife
Going out till late then waking up early takes its toll. I was hoping there wasn’t nightlife in KK so I could rest. That was not the case. There are plenty of bars on the waterfront and a good club nearby.
Labor – Chinese Seafood Market
The food in KK is great. The Chinese Seafood Market is a must if you like seafood. You may be a bit sluggish after a big meal.
Labor/Lazy – The Night Market
If you’re looking to spend a quiet evening, head to the night market which is located across from the Hyatt. If you are looking to put in some work, try the local food which is not for the faint of heart.
Lazy – Street Food
After a long night out or on a rainy day, nothing is better than great food. Some of the best Tom Yum soup can be found at Maimunah. Along the same street, there are plenty of restaurants serving Chinese, Malay, and Thai dishes for next to nothing.
Lazy – Le Meridien Pool
Sometimes you want to do nothing. Sometimes you want to enjoy the amenities of a luxury hotel. The best place to do this is at Le Meridien’s pool.
There’s plenty to do in KK. I would recommend devoting 4 full days if you want to see and do most of it.