"Borneo fast forward" Kota Kinabalu by Assenczo

Kota Kinabalu Travel Guide: 1,114 reviews and 2,950 photos

The epicentre of Sabah, East Malaysia is called Kota Kinabalu. It embodies the fervent pace that the Malay have geared to in order to face the future. It is still a major port but at the same time has diversified in the realm of tourism just to show Brunei how things are supposed to be done. The steady airline traffic flows in vacationers from South East Asia and this means lots of revenue. The Chinese are here in droves, both as visitors and as permanent residents.

Actually, what is most intriguing is the fact that the ex-British colony has very few Brits lingering around, as opposed to the Chinese, who have huge presence and really mean business. So, once the British Empire collapsed things came to their natural state of affairs as it has been for many centuries in this part of the world. One of the more hands on (or I should say stomach on) experiences related to grand Chinese presence is dining in Chinese restaurants with fish that you can choose while still alive. One such establishment located almost directly across from the Meridian hotel has a huge display of varieties of fish and shellfish in aquariums on four levels. The scene of customers standing by and choosing their menu so literally is no mundane matter. The adjacent parking is stuffed with SUVs and other expensive materiel, very Chinese trait of mad conspicuous consumption.

Further along the street are the condos lined up to accommodate time sharers, pensioners or investors with great views of the harbour and the sunsets at the moment and of the nicest shopping mall in the future. And future for shopping and malls is bright in Kota. In 2011 there were at least three in a square mile padded with the surviving old markets. Most probably these old fashioned establishments with their low prices and local labour are going to give way to the Gucci?s and the Cartier?s of the world if not in absolute terms than at least in downtown Kota. Anyway, this is the plan for the future of the planet and Sabah does not look like a rebel at all.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cosmopolitan travel hub
  • Cons:A bit too modern for my shirt
  • In a nutshell:Where aquarium fishes meet orangutans
  • Last visit to Kota Kinabalu: Aug 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Assenczo

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