7 helpful ways to fill time before your departure flight

Last day in Kota Kinabalu? Need a suggestion of things you can do? We hear you!

The city center is well connected to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) via a short 15 minute drive. If you are not on any scheduled tour, there is plenty of time after your check-out to experience the nooks and crannies within the city. Whether you are travelling alone, in a group or with family, let’s find out what you can enjoy.

For anyone with a scheduled night flight, a list like this will definitely make your trip easier and maximize your stay in Kota Kinabalu before making your way to the airport and bidding sayonara.


1. Use luggage storage service

First thing to do is to sort out your luggage. It is annoying to drag your luggage around. So keep it secure with luggage storage facilities that are available around the city. Most hotels offer luggage storage service for their guests after check-out.  However, if this service is not provided by your accommodation provider, there are few locations where you can do so.

Imago Mall provides locker space for rent. Users can rent a locker at RM25 per usage but a refundable deposit of RM50 is needed upfront. Simply head on to the Concierge to do this.

Centre Point Shopping Mall is conveniently located in the middle of Kota Kinabalu city and within walking distance from several places of interest such as the Waterfront, Handicraft market, and Gaya Street. They provide multi-size lockers for visitors to keep their belongings. Price varies depending on the size of the locker. This facility can be found on the ground floor level, next to the main entrance door.

Ez Hantar offers the convenience of collecting, storing and sending your luggage from your hotel to the airport. With such service, you can enjoy the rest of your day freely around the city. They also provide long-term storage services. EZ Hantar office is located in Sutera Avenue, and can be contacted via their hotline.

Need a 24hrs storage option? Left Luggage Services at KKIA ground floor can provide assistance. This is definitely helpful for travellers that wanted to store their luggage while making a short trip outside of Kota Kinabalu city before returning back to the airport. Price varies depending on the number of hours and luggage. Only cash and e-wallet payment methods are accepted.

Even with a limited time of the day, you can still make your remaining hours in Kota Kinabalu worthwhile. Whether you are travelling with a family or playing it solo, here are some places that you might want to visit.


2. Aquascape 

Spend the day outdoors at Aquaspace Centre, just about 8 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu city centre. The place is a purposeful garden that educates you about nature but fun at the same time. The entrance fee is RM15 per person. Visitors can attend the animal feeding at scheduled times at their mini zoo, play games and make crafts, engage in leisure cycling for kids and stroll around their whimsical garden. One of the unique experiences in this centre is the opportunity to swim with the fish. However, advance booking is required for this particular activity. 

Operation hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm. (Closed every Monday)

3. Explore everything about Sabah at the museum

Here’s a place where one can learn almost everything about Sabah under one roof. Get oriented with Sabah’s administration, history, culture, heritage and nature through the many displays in the museum. The main building is designed and inspired by the traditional Rungus longhouse of Sabah. There is also the Science & Technology Center, Ethno Botanical Garden and Heritage Village to walk around. Don’t forget to make a stopover at their book and gifts shop!

4. Golf anytime and anywhere

Shank Junkies

Golfer or not, Shank Junkies is a fun space for everyone to hit some swings. This is the first indoor golf simulation facility in Sabah, making it a great indoor training ground for any golfer looking to better their game and experience virtually, actual international golf courses from all over the world. Yet, don’t let the sophisticated simulation intimidate you, because Shank Junkies also features entertaining carnival components for anyone looking for a leisure joy play. Swing by to relax, chill and play golf; suitable for both young and old. Guests can make a booking in advance or walk-in. 

Jolly Golf’In

Unwind the day with a jolly round of playful golf at a Jolly Golf’In outlet. There are now 2 locations in Kota Kinabalu, one each in Bundusan and at the Jesselton Ferry Terminal. Open from 2pm onwards, hang around and play 9 or 18 holes with friends and family, capsule balls machine, grab some drinks and snacks while you happily spend the hours away. Their fancy-themed mini golf courses can be played by kids and adults. 

5. Fantasy Kidzoona Suria Sabah 

Here is a fun place for the little ones. Aeon Fantasy Kidzoona at Suria Sabah offers interactive role-play games, ball pits and varieties of indoor playgrounds. There are also cute-sized kiosks, kinetic sand corner and a driving course, catered and designed especially for children. The place is open daily from 10am to 10pm and located at the 2nd Floor of Suria Sabah Shopping Mall. RM30 per entry for a child and accompanying adult only pays a fraction of the cost (entry fees may differ on weekends and public holidays).

6. Go food hunting

With ample time to kill, there is definitely time for a ‘feed me’ session. Plenty of food, cafe and bar outlets to be discovered around Kota Kinabalu. As the saying goes, so much to taste – so little time. Allow us to narrow down your list with convenient options for your tastebuds.

East Coast Food Court

East Coast Food Court, Kolombong

The East Coast Food Court is open all day long to serve food hunters from 7 am to 11.30 pm. The food court is home to over 50 stalls serving various types of local and international cuisines, snacks and drinks. Some stall owners are different in the morning and the evening. Whether you are looking for fried dumplings, char kuey teow, claypot rice, fish noodle soup, grilled seafood, dim sum, or local pastries, you can get all of these and more here. Most booths only accept cash or e-wallets as payment, and e-hailing is a good way to get there because parkings are limited especially during peak hours.

Closed every Monday.

Jalan Dewan, Kota Kinabalu hidden gastronomy gems

Jalan Dewan houses a lot of chic restaurants, cafes and bars. Among them are the Le Phi Cafe, October Coffee House and Mamasita Mexican Restaurant. These places usually get more crowded during lunch hours and dinner time. Besides the food and beverage choice, the attractive setting also becomes a popular photo spot. Dine and add more memories to your travel album!

Borenos Fried Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? A simple meal but something about that comforting crunch, is simply irresistible. Borenos Fried Chicken is a Sabah’s local-grown fast food chain, serving a menu that includes burgers, fish and chips, Borenos rice, chicken porridge and of course their main highlight is the fried chicken! Just head over to Asia City Complex to their downtown Kota Kinabalu outlet to savour hot chicken meal.

‘San Nyuk Mien’ Pork Noodle  (non-halal)

San Nyuk Mien, is a local’s favourite go to meal for breakfast. However, this meal can also be enjoyed as lunch and for some outlets, as dinner. The noodle is mixed with thick black sauce and paired with flavourful pork soup. If you are staying around Jalan Gaya Kota Kinabalu, head over to Kedai Kopi Melanian or Kedai Kopi Sin Seng Fatt to enjoy a bowl with a nice cuppa local Tenom black coffee.

San Nyuk Mien

E-Mart 24 Hours Lintas Jaya, Kepayan

Local snacks are great souvenirs to bring home, and for anyone looking to do last-minute shopping, the E-Mart Lintas Jaya at Kepayan is open 24 hours, daily! This supermarket is a perfect pit-stop on your way heading to the airport as this store is just about 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu city and 5 minutes away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Stroll around and shop for local tidbits and beverages to take home here.

7. Rent a sleeping space

Travelling for so many days can be exhausting and sometimes travelling with children can be challenging too. Cranky? Yup we have been there too. If you don’t feel like doing any of the above and just wish to find a comforting place to rest and relax before your departure flight, there are a couple of options for you in town. 

Nap & Go package at Sabha Gaya Hotel & Gemilang Hotel

Nap & Go is a special package by Sabha Gaya Hotel & Gemilang Hotel for guests to enjoy a day-use room. Starting price is RM60 for 3hrs usage. Guests can enjoy the cosiness of a hotel room complete with an attached bathroom, towel, television, hairdryer and water heater, at a fraction of the cost. You can wake up, refresh and head to the airport when you are ready to check-out.

Napzone by Sovotel at Kota Kinabalu Airport

Lounge, massage, locker, shower room and sleeping pod. What more could we ask for! Napzone is located at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport giving it a convenient option for any layover guest. Guests can admit themselves for 3hrs, 6hrs or the 12hrs package. Each sleeping pod provides the user privacy with a blackout blind and charging station. Feel good and rejuvenated before your next flight out.

There you go! 7 helpful ways to maximize your layover time in Kota Kinabalu. These exciting and comfortable experiences are not limited to the list above. Follow Sabah Tourism website and social media page to know more about the things you can do while in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. We recommend you to Feel Sabah all the way through!

Last reviewed: October 5, 2023

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