Often referred to as KK, Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of the state of Sabah and also the capital to West Coast Sabah Division. It is geographically positioned in the northwest coast of Borneo island and faces the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in the South China Sea, with Mount Kinabalu as its backdrop. Kota Kinabalu is known to be a beautiful nature resort city that stretches miles inland and beside the coast. The Malay word for “fort” or “city” is Kota and a direct translation of the name ‘Kota Kinabalu’ into English is, therefore ‘The City of Kinabalu’ or ‘Kinabalu City’.
The locals lovingly call their city “Api Api” whereas for the rest of the world it is known as Kota Kinabalu. On the surface, Api Api is far from a pretty town. However, it doesn’t take more than a small amount of time to find its charms and as Kota Kinabalu is the gateway for most travellers’ arriving for their Malaysian Borneo adventures, the warmth and friendliness of its laid back citizens will instil the feeling that you are already well in the heart of Borneo.
Kota Kinabalu used to be known as Jesselton while under British colonial rule - which ran from the late 1800s until 1963. Sadly most of the original town was destroyed due to bombings during World War II and today there are not many pre-war historical sites left around the city.