2 must-dos in Kota Kinabalu: Explore Gaya Street & Api Api Night Market!

Coming to Day 7 of our Kota Kinabalu (KK) trip, we would take a leisure walk around Gaya Street and explore the line of popular eateries in the vicinity.

You’ll also see us ending the night with what we thought was the best night market we’ve visited in the whole of Malaysia. 

Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market
Api Api Night Market in Kota Kinabalu

Now, to recap our 10-day trip, we’d spent the first three nights in KK before venturing to Kundasang (where Mt Kota Kinabalu is located). Today, we would complete the final leg of the trip and explore more things to do in Kota Kinabalu.

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Explore Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu

Let’s begin with a hearty breakfast at Guan’s Kopitiam

(11.20am)

I’ve always found it exciting figuring out what to have for breakfast in a new territory, do you?

We’d done our research and marked out Guan’s Kopitiam based on good reviews on Google Map. Indeed, the place seemed popular among the locals. 

Kota Kinabalu Good food

Guan’s Kopitiam is an air-conditioned fusion cafe serving local fares as well as uniquely-flavoured croissants. 

Here’s what we ordered – Mushroom croissant and sunny side-ups for the Mister, and Salted Egg croissant and Gula Melaka milk tea for me.

Thought my croissant looked a tad plain and flat. But I enjoyed the sandiness texture of the salted egg.

Kota Kinabalu Good food
Croissants: Salted egg vs mushroom

Sabah Tourist Information Centre (Sabah Tourism Board)

Done with breakfast, we strolled along Jalan Gaya (Gaya street) and passed by a Sabah Tourist Information Centre. You can get some travel advice and brochures there.

There’s also a big red “I Love Sabah” logo outside that you can pose a photo with. 

Signal Hill Observatory Tower & Clock

Continuing our walk, we found ourselves facing the trail entrance of Signal Hill Observatory Tower. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit.

But we managed to steal a photo of the Clock Tower from afar.

Kota Kinabalu Clcok Tower
KK Signal Hill Clock Tower

Tiny bit of Shopping near Gaya Street, KK

Admittedly, I’m a lousy shopper when it comes to buying things from bazaar or small shops of unknown brands. But I was glad to pass by a store – The Art Attic.

This two-story artistic shop sold stuff of decent quality and design. Both the mister and I managed to buy something from the shop. Trust me that this is quite a rare “phenomenon” as we are really weak shoppers. :)

Kota Kinabalu Things to do
My loot on the left and some nicely-designed postcards on right.

The man bought a pricey oriental mug (rm75), and I got myself a cute and unique pair of Koala bear ear rings and a fabric coaster (rm40).

Not cheap by KK standard, but I can attest to the quality of the products and highly-recommend a visit if you are not too budget-conscious.

Lots of Coconuts! Let’s take an afternoon sip! 

Time to rest our feet after an hour of walk. Our eyes lit up when we passed by a store with lots of coconuts displayed at the entrance.

Check out the drinks and desert we bought – both were great! 

Kota Kinabalu Gaya Street Food

Enjoy a Swim at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

(2.30pm)

With such a relaxing itinerary, it doesn’t make sense not to squeeze in an afternoon swim at our hotel. So let’s take a dip!

Haytt Regency Kota Kinabalu
KK Hyatt Regency Swimming Pool

While there’s no real view to speak of, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu’s pool area was spacious and nicely-designed. There were ample and well-partitioned space for individual groups or couples

With the complimentary cocktail vouchers offered by the hotel, we got ourselves a drink and enjoyed tropical sips in between the swim. That was nice! :)

Highly-recommended: Lunch at Yee Fung Laksa

(4pm)

We’d earlier walked past Yee Fung Laksa during lunch time and saw a snaking queue. Good that we revisited during lull hours (4pm) as the queue was gone by then.

KK Yee Fung Laksa
My order of Laksa King (Yee Fung Laksa)

As a tourist who might never have a chance to revisit, we got ourselves the most pricey item – Laksa King (rm20). Happy to report that it was delicious and worth the hype.

The normal version that costs just half the price could be good too – just smaller prawns, I supposed.

Todak Waterfront: Promenade Walk in Kota Kinabalu

What do we do next? Let’s visit the Todak waterfront, which was conveniently located opposite our hotel.

There’s a lovely KK sign that you can pose with to remember your visit. Also check out the Marlin Statue prominently located near the road junction. 

Kota Kinabalu Waterfront

If the timing is right, you can catch a photo of the Marlin fish pointing towards the setting sun.

KK Waterfront

Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market

From the promenade, we took a slow stroll and reached the Handicraft market in about 10 minutes.

This is a dimly-lit and sheltered pasar malam selling things from souvenirs and apparels, to woman accessories and jewelries. There were too many repeat stores and variety wasn’t great. 

KK Handicraft Market
One of the narrow aisles at Handicraft market

Furthermore, the aisles were narrow and it was hot and stuffy. I was out within minutes. 

As shared, I normally do not have a good track record buying things off street markets. But if you are a good haggler and an easy shopper, you may appreciate such shopping experience. 

Beer on hand: Twilight view at Hyatt Regency, KK

(6pm)

With no specific places in mind to visit, we returned to our hotel. The man went to the hotel gym, while I chose to unwind and soak in the twilight view, sipping a beer.

Kota Kinabalu Hyatt Hotel

Kota Kinabalu Hyatt Hotel
Twilight view from Hyatt Regency KK

Api Api Night Market @ Gaya Street

The final experience on Day 7 was the most enjoyable of the day. At Api Api night food market, we were impressed by the vibrant street adorned with an array of food stalls.

Immersing ourselves in the lively atmosphere, we were entertained by buskers serenading the crowd with soothing tunes.

Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market
Busker sang very well!

Kids can also have a good time “playing” with giant walking soft toys. :) The whole place felt carnival and really brought out the party mood, which we thoroughly enjoyed. 

TIP: Api Api Night Food Market is a weekend night market that opens only on Fri and Sat. So plan your itinerary to ensure you are in KK on a Friday or Saturday. 

Kota Kinabalu Gaya Street

In fact, I thought it is the best night market I’ve visited in Malaysia, comparing to those I’ve experienced in KL, Melaka and Langkawi.

Check out the food we had! 

Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market
BBQ octopus

Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market

Such great variety of food and activities!  am sure you would enjoy yourselves too at this vibrant night market, located along Gaya street, Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market
This mochi was surprisingly good!
Kota Kinabalu Api Api Night Market
Ice cream to end off the day!

Map Location For Day 7 (Kota Kinabalu Itinerary)

Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu >> Guan’s Kopitiam >> Sabah Tourism Board >> Signal Hill Observatory Tower >> “The Art Attic” shop >> The Royal Coconut >> Yee Fung Laksa >> Todak Waterfront >> Api Api Night Market

 


That’s all to Day 7. Stay tuned to the next post as we would explore Gaya Sunday market and climb a “local” mountain. 

Don’t miss: Things to do in Kota Kinabalu for 10 Days (Part 1)

 

Essential Info:

  • Accommodation: Hyatt Regency KK
  • Month of Travel: Sep 2023
  • Transport: By foot only

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