|Kota Kinabalu is a modern town, set up for tourists like no other we've seen in Borneo. There are tens of hostels to choose from, all offering clean rooms, nice common areas, free breakfasts, and even free internet access. We enjoyed our stay at the ultra-clean Summer Lodge, with the added bonus of two tiny kittens to play with, Mimi (2 months) and Milo (1 month).
The town itself rests on the South China Sea, and is a gateway to the many attractions of Sabah. The city was rebuild from scratch in 1963, and boasts sprawling suburban areas, as well as many high-rises that dot the city skyline, all called "wisma (complex) something". Kota Kinabalu is not completely lacking in charm. Like many other Malaysian cities, there is no shortage of colourful markets (including a neat Filipino market, and a nearby Sunday market), kedai kopi places, and Indian-Muslim restaurants. There is also one delicious Indian option, called either Banana Leaf or Lotus Flower, we couldn't quite figure it out - needless to say we quickly became regulars there.
The city comes alive during Ramadan (starting on September 24th this year). There are more people out during the day, shopping. Muslim restaurants open late, and stay open well into the night. New food markets crop up all over town, and cater to those seeking quick eats as fasting breaks for the day around 5:30pm. These little markets serve up some amazing food, fresh and cheap. Many people who observe the daily fast walk up and down the market looking, but not eating. Some purchase food early in anticipation of the break of fasting.