Best Places To Watch Sunset In Kota Kinabalu (2023 Guide)

Rated as one of the best places in the world to watch the sunset, Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah offers a spectacular backdrop for sunset viewing.

You can gradually see the sun going down the horizon changing the water from blue to gorgeous golden. In fact, it was an assortment of colours – a blend of orange, red and yellow. As the sun sort of receded into the water, it looked as surreal as it can get.

The Details

I’ve been catching the sunset in Kota Kinabalu for quite some time now over the past few years and if you want to enjoy the sunset as I did, read this post and I’ll provide all the information you need to know.

Best Place To Watch Sunset In Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu Sunset Time

The sun will set about 6:20 PM (+/- 5 Minutes). The beauty of the sunset in KK is that it offers a different backdrop before, during and after sunset.

I would highly suggest that you spend your time as suggested below to enjoy every bit of the sun is set.

  • Pre-sunset: 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM (Yellow-ish sky above the horizon)
  • Sunset: 6:00 PM – 6:20 PM (Glorious sunset)
  • Post sunset 6:20 PM – 6:45 PM (Afterglow – a broad arch of whitish, reddish or pinkish sunlight in the sky)

Tips: If it’s raining or cloudy before 3 PM, don’t waste your time. The sun gets covered by thick clouds.

Pre sunset at Karambunai Beach
Pre sunset at Karambunai Beach
Post sunset overlooking Sepanggar Bay
Post sunset overlooking Sepanggar Bay
Post sunset at Sepanggar Bay
Post sunset at Sepanggar Bay

Where Can I Watch The Sunset In Kota Kinabalu?

Kota Kinabalu is a coastal town and therefore, there are many spots you can go to and enjoy the sunset.

Below are the places that I recommend, the best spots to watch the sunset in Kota Kinabalu. If you have the time, go and enjoy all the spots.

1. Tanjung Aru Beach

Located just about 6KM from the city, Tanjung Aru beach with a long strip of sand & food stalls is probably the most popular(crowded) place to watch the sunset.

Location: Google Map

Sunset at Tanjung Aru Beach
Sunset at Tanjung Aru Beach
Sunset at Tanjung Aru Beach
Sunset at Tanjung Aru Beach

2. Kokol Hill

Located about 25 KM away from Kota Kinabalu, Kokol hill is one of the best places in KK that I would recommend you visit. It has a scenic 10 km ride up to the hill, cold temperature, small winding roads and villages around the hill’s foot.

You can view Mount Kinabalu (06:00-08:00), KK City and the sea from this hill. There is a few resorts, tourist spots, camp area, cafes etc to fulfil your needs.

Location: Google Map

Kokol Hill Chuch
Kokol Hill Church
KK City View from Kokol Hill
KK City View from Kokol Hill

3. Karambunai Beach

If you prefer fewer tourists (or maybe no tourists at all), Karambunai beach is the perfect spot for you.

It has long shore, about 2 KM and it’s so calm you just want to go for a brisk walk, jog etc.

Location: Google Map

Sunset at Karambunai Beach
Sunset at Karambunai Beach
Sunset at Karambunai Beach
Sunset at Karambunai Beach
Sunset at Karambunai Beach
Sunset at Karambunai Beach

4. Bonduk Hill

Located approximately 21 KM from Kota Kinabalu, Bonduk Hill (a.k.a Bukit Botak/Gundul) in Sepanggar is one of the best hiking spots to watch the sunset overlooking Sepanggar Bay.

Read more on Hiking Bonduk Hill.

Sunset view from Bonduk Hill
Sunset view from Bonduk Hill
Sunset view from Bonduk Hill
Sunset view from Bonduk Hill

5. Other Sunset Spots In Kota Kinabalu

Best Sunset Bar In Kota Kinabalu

Alfresco Bar Kota Kinabalu
Alfresco Bar Kota Kinabalu

My favourite sunset bar would be Al-Fresco restaurant which is part of the 5-Star Sutera Harbour resort complex.

Having a good pint of beer while enjoying the dramatic sunset in the evening, I just couldn’t ask for more!

Alfresco Bar Kota Kinabalu
Alfresco Bar Kota Kinabalu

The good news is, this 5-star resort complex is open to the public, even if you’re not staying there! They also provide free secure parking space. How convenient?

Despite being a 5-Star location, the food and drinks price at Al-Fresco restaurant is affordable which makes the trip here totally worth it! Check out the short video below on the surrounding.

  • Contact: +6 088-318 888
  • Google Map: Al-Fresco

Renting a Car/Motorcycle

If you’re on a budget or prefer to ride/drive on your own, I would suggest that you rent a motorcycle/car from a reliable company which I have used their services in the past. More details can be found at the link below:

BEST Motorcycle & Car Rental In Kota Kinabalu

Conclusion

Sunset in Kota Kinabalu has been always unique and the photos that I captured using my phone don’t do it justice.

Have you watched the sunset in KK? How Was it? Share them in the comment box below.

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