You shall be amazed to know that Kota Kinabalu is developing very well, as it is successful in providing one of the best shopping experiences despite the fact of its modest size. Over the years, the number of malls has increased and some are still under construction. Though it has yet not been able to compete with the shopping experience of Kuala Lumpur & Singapore in terms of quality, but yet there are many bargain options and surprises at the shops in Kota Kinabalu that are good enough to provide the best shopping experience.
Whether you are looking for branded stuff or bargaining options in malls or night markets, you shall surely get whatever you want at the most optimum price.
Short Guide to Shopping in Kota Kinabalu
This Shopaholic guide to shopping in Kota Kinabalu will assist you in figuring out where you have to go for your desired stuff, without any hassle. Especially, if you are on a short trip, you shall know that apart from exploration of the city, you can buy your required thing from its nearby mall or market.
Read on to know about what shopping opportunities Kota Kinabalu has to offer:
Shopping Malls in Kota Kinabalu
There is a huge list of shopping malls in Kota Kinabalu, offering great fun and excitement to Shopaholics, so that they can shop for their favorite stuff without any hassle. The malls here are considered as the shoppers’ heaven on earth. Brand conscious people will be glad to know that they can shop for the leading brand products at the malls of Kota Kinabalu.
The branded shops have stocked their trendy collection at the shops and hence, you won’t be disappointed. Every shopping mall fulfills the needs and demands of everyone, having diverse preferences, seeking quality stuff along with a better shopping experience.
Every year the malls here organize Mega Shopping Carnivals from June to September. Tourists as well as locals come here to shop for the best products at reasonable prices. Everything from branded clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, electronic items, fresh food supplies to camping tools, is available at discounted rates or are offered with great deals. You shall for sure find everything in one of the malls in Kota Kinabalu.
Some of the top shopping malls are 1Borneo Shopping Mall, Centre Point Kota Kinabalu, Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, Oceanus Waterfront Mall, Imago Shopping Mall and Wisma Merdeka Shopping Mall, offering the best experience of shopping in Kota Kinabalu.
Shopping Places and Street Markets in Kota Kinabalu
For some local stuff at very reasonable prices, one should head towards the various shopping places and street markets of Kota Kinabalu. The experience of shopping in Kota Kinabalu either at malls or at street markets is up to the mark. Every Sunday, Gaya Street Market is set up right in the center of the city. You shall find so many things like the special Sabah’s sweets and savories, smoothies and juices, toys, vegetables, coffee, antique stuff from China, mugs, arts and crafts stuff, bamboo furniture, souvenir shirts and various other stuff. Also, there is a Night Market, which is basically the popular food court of South East Asia.
This market is located near Jalan Kampung Air and near to old Filipino Craft Market. The preferred food here is from Indonesia, China, Filipine and of course the local dishes as well as seafood. The Kota Kinabalu Central Market is a wet and dry market in the West Coast Division, here you can buy all types of tropical fruits, fresh vegetables and poultry. The king of fruits considered here is Durian, which is available in great quantity at large here.
The Handicraft Market is an ideal place for shopping in Kota Kinabalu. Locals and tourists both visit this market for some really good handcrafted stuff. This market has to offer everything to everyone. You shall find the best sarongs and pareos, which will remind you of your stay here back home. However, you can also get your hands on pearl jewelry, authentic sompoton, coconut-shaped handbag, headhunter’s blowpipe and singing wooden frog.
Places to Buy Souvenirs and Gifts in Kota Kinabalu
As the long going practice is to take something back home for your family, friends or loved ones, hence, you shall need to see what you can take as a gift from here. You shall need to see where you can get the best local stuff or souvenirs, which you can gift people back home.
Kadaiku Handicraft in Sinsuran Complex has stocked some fantastic collection of locally handcrafted products and souvenirs. You shall find here 100% legitimate traditional stuff, which are ideal for gifting your loved ones. You can also ask for customization of gifts and hampers, if you have enough time. However, you can also buy similar stuff and large variety at the Handicraft Market.
Gaya Souvenir Centre on the busy Gaya Street is easily accessible by tourists, as it is found on the famous streets. It is renowned as the largest and complete specialty house that specializes in Durian freeze-dried cat Sanno, Bird’s nest, Tongkat Ali, Sabah coffee, Pewter tin, Sabah handmade Durian chocolate and Seaweed. At Cubee Gifts & Souvenirs, you can buy the best variety of customized souvenir t-shirts for both adults and kids, hats, bags, badges, souvenirs, handmade soaps and various other stuff.
You can buy handmade chocolates as a gift from the famous and the first handmade chocolate suppliers Simply Chocolate, the sweet delicacies are ideal for taking back home. You can buy some finest paintings from the Sabah Art Gallery, either to gift someone or keep it in your home.
One of the most essential tip to share is that, don’t forget to bargain at the street markets, other than shopping malls. If possible catch up some local lingo to enhance your bargaining expertise. You need to remain assured that you have enough money that you shop for yourself as well as for your family back home.
If you are on a restricted budget, then it is recommended that you don’t shop at the shopping malls. The shopping in Kota Kinabalu will be affordable, if you seek stuff in the street markets. For souvenirs and gift items as well, the above discussed street markets like Handicraft Market is ideal. Also, during the school holidays, the shopping malls will be crowded as locals from nearby cities, visit Kota Kinabalu for shopping. You will also see families from Brunei in Kota Kinabalu during the school holidays.
Money Exchangers in Kota Kinabalu
Before coming to Kota Kinabalu, it is not recommended that you get your money exchanged in your home country, because though it is convenient, but the exchange rate offered there is not good at all. Once you arrive in Kota Kinabalu, you can get the currency exchanged through different methods.
The most convenient way is to get your money exchanged from the airport, but remember you shall get the lowest exchange rate here. You can get it done via bank too, however, the rate is low too, but comparatively better than the airport rate. Banks only exchange during business days. You shall find a large number of Money Exchangers at the shopping malls and complexes, you can just roam around to find which one is offering the best exchange rates. Thus, soon you can enjoy shopping in Kota Kinabalu, once you are done with the exchange.
Hope this short shopping guide of Kota Kinabalu is good enough to assist you in planning your Shopaholic activities in the city. If you want to share any shopping tips or experience, please do so by adding comments below.