BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping for Php 6,200 ($125)

BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping for Php 6,200 ($125)

Frustrated enough that I couldn’t secure a seat sale to Bali last year, I booked 2 round trip tickets to Kota Kinabalu instead.

I haven’t done sufficient research about this place at that time so I just googled when is the best time to go, put in dates in May then I hit the Book button.


From Manila, Kota Kinabalu is only a plane ride away and we did just that by flying via Cebu Pacific since we previously secured a ticket during one of its popular seat sales.

But please do note that you can try your luck with AirAsia as well since they also offer routes going to Kota Kinabalu and vice versa.


We booked a customized tour with a reputable tour agency in Kota Kinabalu since we only have 2 days to explore the island. An unfortunate miscalculation in my part. Arrgh.

Buti nalang, I researched my ass off in order to choose a hidden beach not far from the city. Well, this was besides the fact that we are already visiting 2 of the most popular beaches in Sabah.

Day 1: Kota Kinabalu Islands with City Tour

We have low expectations of this place as we know that Malaysia is not really known for its beaches. It was our first time in international waters and Kota Kinabalu totally did not disappoint.

Also, may it be abroad or domestic, I always ensure to arrange a city tour. Why? I believe that this is a way to get to know a place. Every city has its story and I want it to hear from a local.

Read here to know more about our experience.

Spots to visit:
>> Jesselton Point
>> Manukan Island
>> Sapi Island
>> Yayasan Sabah
>> Floating Mosque
>> Signal Hill Observatory Tower
>> Atkinson Clock Tower
>> Tanjung Aru
>> Filipino Night Market

Day 2: Mantanani Tour

Mantanani, also known as the Mermaid Island, is said to have presence of the ‘dugongs’ (sea cow). On its rare sightings, dugongs were said to be seen grazing on sea grasses around the island.

The clarity of the water was superb and glad to say that it was clean! I was surprised myself. Who would’ve known kasi diba?

I was just happy that during my KK itinerary research, I was able to come across an article about this place. Read here to know more about our experience.


We stayed at Goldenhill Hotel Sabah which is located just 10 minutes from the airport. You may also want to take advantage of their free airport transfers.


FRIED PRAWN IN SALTED EGG – Yep, we tried a salted egg dish way before it was sensationalized here in Pinas. And we didn’t have to break the bank to taste it. Kahit dati pa, masarap na talaga siya!

MINI HOTDOG – We were not able to catch the name of this dish but it tasted like kikiam. Masarap siya though this is not the food for the maselan though.


• It is better to avail a group tour package for this instead of doing a DIY. It’ll be cheaper that way.

• Don’t forget to hydrate and put some suncreen at all times.


Special shout out to the people who helped us make this trip possible. In behalf of my travel crew, maraming salamat po. Sa uulitin!

Goldenhill Hotel Sabah, you may check their FB page or email them directly at goldenhill_hotelsb@hotmail.com.

Our travel agent, Amazing Grace Tours, contact them at info@amazinggraceholiday.com or check their FB page here.


** Our Kota Kinabalu tour has been done last May 13-15, 2014. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100 and Sony Cybershot TX30.          


Also read:
Cagayan Trip for less than Php 5,000
Romblon-Bora Trip for Php 6,300
Davao Vacay for Less Than Php 6,500
Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500
SoCCSKSarGen Thrills for Only Php 7,000
Camarines Norte Getaway for Php 4,600

Amazing Bali for Only Php 11,000
Dream Krabi-Phuket Trip for Php 15,000
Myanmar Temple Run for Less Than 20K
Taiwan Nature Trip for Less Than 30K

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Written by Tody Dino

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