One Long Weekend in Kota Kinabalu

One long weekend, the Hubby and I decided to take a trip with the kids to a place just close by and to somewhere we had never gone before. After much deliberation, we settled on Kota Kinabalu, more popularly known as K.K., which is the capital of Sabah state in Malaysia. In our research, we also found out that Borneo, where Kota Kinabalu is located, is actually the third-largest island in the world. This island is known to be a major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Malaysia.

After a short 90-minute flight from Manila, we arrived at this beautiful island. We decided to stay at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, since we’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this place but most importantly, because we found out that it has always been included in the list of Top 10 Family – Friendly Resorts.

(Some photos were taken from the Resort’s website.)

This wasn’t a typical vacation destination for us, so the Hubby and I were both curious and excited to see what was in store for us and the little ones 🙂

We stayed at the then newly – renovated Ocean Wing.

Our room had a private terrace, an outdoor bathtub and a daybed. It was perfect for our little family!

This was the view from our terrace.

Being a top family resort, Shangri-la Rasa Ria has its own Orangutan Education Center (right in the middle of their 400-acre tropical forest) where guests, both adults and children alike, are more than welcome to explore.

Top view of their beautiful beach…

And the beach front where guests can lounge around all day.

They also have their own golf course…the sport I would like to learn one day 🙂

One morning, we joined a hotel-based private tour to explore the rest of the island…

We went around Borneo Kellybays, which boasts of an 8 kilometer stretch of beach within a lush mangrove forest.

This long, wide river was our road for that morning.

We floated along on the Resort’s private boat, which was more like a big wooden raft that proved to be very stable and comfortable. The Resort also provided us with a private tour guide.

We saw some gorgeous landscape!

And lush greenery along the way…

We also caught a peek of this crocodile (or was it an alligator?) lurking beneath the water!

There were mangroves everywhere too…

Took a snapshot of another tourist group on a boat similar to ours.

We also stopped by a water village to get a glimpse of how their native people live…

The huts were positioned right above the water.

We were able to go inside one of the houses…

And one of the native women even cooked a snack for us!

Fresh coconut juice and hot donut-type delicacies were refreshing and filling especially that hot summer day.

After a day of touring, the kids cooled off at the hotel pool which had a lot of kid-friendly tunnels and slides.

While this is the rest of the Resort’s poolside, which is right across the beach.

After that, the kids decided to go riding on a Shetland pony by the beach, which the hotel provides for its young guests…

The hotel staff were very warm and accommodating and made the kids’ pony riding adventure a breeze for us!

One dinner of ours was in the Resort’s Kozan Teppan-yaki Restaurant…

Another dinner was in their seafood Coast Restaurant…

 And because we wanted to save the best for last…our last night’s dinner was in this gazebo facing the beach, underneath the stars 🙂

And what’s a trip to the beach without a sunset shot? Here’s one of my favorites of the Hubby and our boy…

 The Hubby and I were glad to have brought our kids to an unfamiliar place for this brief holiday.  The trip to Kota Kinabalu was a vacation that our whole family enjoyed. It is a place where you can spend some quality time with the kids in an atypical destination that is full of fun and learning. Who knew that just about 90 minutes away from Manila, lays this small and intriguing paradise?


  1. Hi you take such beautiful pictures and really capture the essences of your travels. May I know what camera you use?

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The Spoiled Mummy