Kota Kinabalu 4D3N Part 2: Ultimate Guide to be a Local

South East Asia is always a popular destination for its exotic scenic/ culture and the low living standard there, is a plus for travelers; you could feast like a king or shop till you drop but still, won’t put a hole in your wallet. The price in Malaysia is at least 1/3 cheaper than in big city like SG or Hong Kong.

Another highlights in Malaysia is no doubt the food. Since there’re mixed race in MY, the food are very diverse as well, but my favorite is still the street food in the local markets. Here’re are the ultimate guide for the most local experience you could get in KK.

Dress like Local

I’ve always wanted to try out different traditional outfits as I think that would be the ultimate localizing experience. I’ve also wanted to try the outfit of Malay girl when I’m in SG. (Long story short, I wanted to prove my theory of Why Malay Girl is Always Prettier to my boyfriend, that it is because of the only focus point of the whole outfit for them is the face so they can used the time perfecting their makeup while don’t have to worry about matching and stuffs :p)


If you also like to dress up in Malaysian culture outfit, make sure you head to the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque in the city center, coz the mosque only allow you to enter in full baju kurung (Malay Traditional wear). There are 2 stores beside the Mosque that you can rent an outfit there, from 5RM for guy’s and plain one for ladies, to 10RM that comes with floral cloths.

Shop like Local

One standard thing whenever I plan for my trip is to search ‘local market’ since it always offer you the best experience to meet the real culture, to shop with the locals and see all the weird local produces. Plus, wherever there’s an ingredient there’s food, you can always find the freshly local snacks made on spot.

We went to the Philippine Market. Keropok is the Malay traditional snacks translated to deep fried crackers. There’re racks of shop stuffed with different Keropok for you to try. My favorite is always the spicy tapioca chips!!!! The rest might not suit everyone taste hahah.

Fresh fruit is another good snacks to deal with the heat in KK. All sorts of melons are the best option for it juiciness and sweetness (PAPAYAAAAA!).

Eat like Local



You could find satay in every street market and you can smell the fragrant sizzling grill meat from far. Order either grill chicken or beef and comes with a small pot of satay sauce. With cucumber on a side, I vanished 10 sticks of these in a mo:p


If you’ve been to Thailand or Philippine, you’re no stranger to getting a fresh coconut drink on the street. Do try the coconut pudding if you fancy some cool refreshing dessert on your trip. (Unfortunately not every shop have the same quality, so it’s really down to luck)

Nyonya/ Peranakan food

This is a traditional cuisine combining Malay and Chinese food. Hell yes! This is the best of both worlds, using the complex cooking method and flavoring of Chinese cooking evaluate the tropical herbs and fresh ingredients in Malay cooking.

Sambal sauce is one kind of chili sauce with prawn paste. It is very flavorful that goes well with stir fried veggie or seafood.

Ayam is another traditional Nyonya special paste, gives a rich and mild broth to the signature dish Ayam fish head.



Bring home something Local

I’m not gonna suggest some generic souvenir idea like durian pudding, Sabah tea or musical instrument made with coconut shell that all across the internet. I will tell you what local or Singaporean regularly buy there instead.

Famous Amos


Yea yea, I know you just shown a disapproval face but that’s exactly what we buy whenever we’re in Malaysia. No one is stranger to the famous choco chip cookie brand but not sure if everywhere got their fresh baked cookie station or anywhere offer low price like here! (35 RM per 200g x 2 flavors, 1/3 cheaper than in SG) You simply won’t miss the store since the smell of fresh baked dough will guide you the way.

The bite size cookie is simply addictive! My mom vanish a small pack mouthful after mouthful on the first day I got here.


Instant noodle



You want to pack the authentic taste you had on your trip home? Instant noodle is prob one of the best option anywhere, see how famous Japanese or Korean instant noodle they got internationally.

You could also find the special favors of noodle in SE Asia regions such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. The Tom Yum noodle is a must try, who cares about it’s just MSG soup when it taste even better than some of the Thai restaurant outside. The spicy and sour soup simply warm your stomach and ease my craving.

Also try the mix spicy dry noodle, they have plenty of different flavor, just grab the one look appealing to you on the package. It’s a fragrant dry noodle with an explosive taste, spice, crispy shallot and dark sweet soya sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about this Hmm.

Comment if you want to know more about KK or making any plans to Malaysia!

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