Kota Kinabalu Landmarks and Monuments

(Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia)

There is a diverse range of landmarks and sights in Kota Kinabalu, with mosques and towers being the main talking points. Most of them are sited in the city centre, while lookout points and other lofty towers are located to the north and behind the town.

The Atkinson Clock Tower is a famous Kota Kinabalu landmark and has stood here for more than a century. For views over the sea, visit the Signal Hill Observatory or the Sabah Foundation Building (Menara Tun Mustapha), while both the State Mosque and the City Mosque serve as top religious facets.

Atkinson Clock Tower

Address: Signal Hill Road, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 088 212 121
The most distinctive landmark in Kota Kinabalu is the Atkinson Clock Tower on Signal Hill Road. This early 1900s tower was built in honour of the city's first District Officer, FG Atkinson, by his mother, Mary Atkinson, after he died from malaria. The lofty tower measures in at 16 metres / 52 feet high and sits up on a hill, where it has a clock face on the sides that face the city.
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

Sabah State Mosque

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 088 252 263
The Sabah State Mosque is one of beautiful domes and motifs, and is a haven of peace just outside the main bustle of the city centre. It lies to the south, close to the Kampung Air stilt village, and displays modern Islamic architecture which looks at its most stunning when the sun is setting, especially when viewed from behind the pond that flanks it. Tourists can visit the State Mosque (adhering to the strict dresscode and removing their shoes before entering), but it is best to avoid Fridays, as this is prayer day when it frequently gets super-busy.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 11:00, 14:00 to 16:30
Admission: free

City Mosque

Address: Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Located just out of town amid a striking lagoon, and even more impressive than the State Mosque, is the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque. Built at the turn of the new millennium and situated within the Kampung Likas area, some 4 km / 2.5 miles to the north of the city centre, the City Mosque has four minarets and a large dome, and boasts views out to the South China Sea. This landmark is noticeably larger than the State Mosque and can hold as many as 12,000 worshippers at any one time. Tourists can visit outside prayer times.
Open hours: Saturday to Thursday - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

Sacred Heart Cathedral

Address: 14b Jalan Menteri, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 088 224 741
Located close to the Museum of Islamic Civilisation and just off the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Sacred Heart Cathedral replaced the old Pro Cathedral, which stood on this spot and dated back to 1953, being built after the earler church was destroyed during WWII. Due to structural problems, it was decided to demolish the Pro Cathedral and leading architects of the time combined forces to create this striking modern place of worhship. The foundations were laid in 1979 and work was completed at the end of 1981, with the cathedral being able to accommodate 1,200 parishioners on its ground floor and a further 250 upstairs on the balcony. Interesting features include a concrete bell tower measuring 40 metres / 130 feet, a cross-shaped baptismal pool and an onsite book shop. A large car park fronts the building, with plenty of spaces for visitors to use.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Sabah Foundation Building (Menara Tun Mustapha)

Address: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 088 425 100
Also commonly referred to as the Menara Tun Mustapha, the Sabah Foundation Building was built in the mid-1970s and is without question the most impressive modern structure in Kota Kinabalu, appearing almost like a giant shiny lipstick. It is situated a few kilometres to the north and features some 30 storeys of glass. Things to check out inside include an auditorium, mini-theatres, a gymnasium and a kindergarten. You can also steal views or dine at the 18th-floor revolving restaurant, while there is also a research library and changing exhibitions in the foyer.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 02:00
Admission: free

Signal Hill Observatory

Address: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
Offering the best free views over the city and harbour is this structure on nearby Signal Hill. The observatory is to be found within a pretty area, a short distance to the north-east of the waterfront, and features open-air observation pavilions - the ideal place from which to view KK sunsets. You can walk up to the site from the city in about 20 minutes, or alternatively take a taxi.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to midnight
Admission: free

KK Esplanade

Address: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, MY
The best bet for taking in the smarter parts of the city is to wander along the KK Esplanade. This lengthy promenade flanks the waterfront and looks onto a number of the city's famous landmarks and attractions, including the Wisma Merdeka mall and the Hyatt Regency hotel. Many locals choose to hang out on the KK Esplanade, particularly at the end of the day, when the sunset views are quite special. There are plenty of benches scattered along this stretch, as well as a wooden platform with views of the nearby islands and a shiny stone statue of a leaping dolphin.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free