Written by Geena Roslyna
As the year-end holidays approach, take a break from reality with a much-needed family getaway. Uncover exciting destinations in Sabah that are perfect for travelling with adventurous kids – offering you quality time and relaxation. Just an hour and a half drive from Kota Kinabalu city, Kota Belud awaits with its enchanting beaches, lively Sunday markets, riverside campsites, and grand views of Mount Kinabalu.
Jom explore these family-friendly adventures in Kota Belud!
1. Embo Akil Waterpark Kota Belud
The moment you step through the entrance of Embo Akil Waterpark, prepare for the air to be filled with excited squeals of your little ones! Entrance to the park requires a fee of RM3, followed by separate fees for swimming, bumper car and lake activities.
Ideal for the entire family, the diverse range of activities – from boat rides, cycling, and even indoor games like pool and darts, guarantees entertainment for individuals of all ages.
And there’s more! You can also delve into the fascinating local Bajau culture by immersing yourself in their traditional performances and music, all while they dress up in authentic Bajau costume. And if you’re seeking even more excitement, why not belt out your favourite tunes with their karaoke service?
2. Karanahan View
For an all-in-one family getaway, consider Karanahan View—a perfect destination with everything you need for an unforgettable holiday. As soon as you arrive, you won’t miss the prominent water playground next to the hanging, rainbow-coloured umbrellas leading towards a mini rabbit farm and more hidden discoveries within the park.
Did you know that Karanahan means “paddy field” in the native Dusun Tindal language? Essentially, this place is great for history and culture-enthusiasts looking for a unique adventure with their family. From traditional to kids-friendly activities, enjoy paddy planting, buffaloe riding, swimming, boat paddling, and maybe even an overnight stay in one of their farmhouses or floating rooms by the lake!
3. Capernaum Garden
Nestled in the tranquil surroundings of Kampung Pomotodon, Capernaum Garden is perfect for a chill, family getaway. Imagine cosy stays, roomy camping spots, and two pools – one for adults, one for kiddos. Plus, there’s a café blending in with nature for some tasty bites.
At Capernaum Garden, it’s not just a vacay; it’s about slowing down. Lounge by the pool, explore, and enjoy quality time with your family and loved ones. Be sure to include Capernaum Garden in your list of must-visit places in Kota Belud!
4. Tumolop Pool
If you’ve watched The Sound of Music, you likely remember the famous picnic scene in Austria’s green meadow where Julie Andrews sang the song “Do-Re-Mi”. Resembling those Austrian meadows, Tumolop Pool provides a bird’s eye view of lush, green paddy fields amid the hills. This secret location sits peacefully at the top of a pristine hill in Tempasuk village and offers visitors a chance to swim in their 4ft deep pool.
Complete with mini slides and several huts to sit close by and relax whilst watching over your children, Tumolop Pool is a great choice for those who desire a break from the city life.
5. DRB Nanamun Beach Kota Belud
Did you know DRB Nanamun Beach is one of the longest beaches in Borneo? About 20.8km away from Kota Belud town, this beach is quite popular for epic sunsets, good vibes and even offers packaged firefly tours!
During the day, enjoy the peaceful beach, fresh air, and space for picnics, BBQs, and games. You can even camp on the beach for an adventurous night! DRB Nanamun Beach isn’t just a spot; it’s a cool experience, whether you want to relax, connect with nature, or make memories.
6. Azizul River Cruise & Fireflies Tour
Here’s another activity to include in your itinerary: a peaceful river cruise along the “Nanamun” river! Starting as early as 3pm, hop on a river cruise to spot the wildlife including proboscis monkeys, macaques, birds. Then when night falls, get ready for a mesmerising firefly tour.
Imagine mangrove trees decked out like Christmas lights – super cool vibes! Plus, you can try your luck at fishing or take a fun kayak ride.
7. Dulu Hill
Up for a cool hike with epic views? Dulu Hill’s got you covered! It’s a 2km trail that takes you to the top, where you’ll see amazing stuff like sunsets, Mt. Kinabalu, the sea, gardens, and rice fields.
And here’s the bonus: they’ve got huts, towers, and spots to camp. It’s like paradise for camping lovers! Whether you’re a hiking pro or just testing the waters, Dulu Hill is where the fun happens.
8. Merdeka Beach
Merdeka Beach in Kota Belud is a wonderful spot for a family beachside adventure! You can set up your tent and enjoy camping under the stars or play fun beach games like volleyball and frisbee. Pack a picnic and relax by the shore, savouring delicious food with a breathtaking view. It’s also a great place to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
If you want to stay longer, there are nearby homestays and motels offering warm hospitality. Merdeka Beach promises a memorable and easygoing experience, making it an ideal destination for a relaxed getaway or a joyous celebration by the sea.
9. 3H Sunset Beach
Picture this: Your family soaking up the “golden hour” together and capturing amazing sunset moments after spending the day lounging by the lake. One of the best features about 3H Sunset Beach is that every spot is picture-worthy with vibrant decorations, a viewing deck, a dining area, and cute beach huts!
Whether you’re into peaceful gatherings or just want to enjoy some family time with fun activities, this is the place to be. Let’s make it a day to remember by the sea!
10. Nohutu EcoTourism
Discover the magic of Nohutu EcoTourism – where culture meets nature for the ultimate adventure! Dive into one of Kota Belud’s hidden gems, the Nohutu Lagoon, just an 800m hike from your stay.
Take a refreshing dip in the lagoon or soak up the crystal-clear goodness of Panataran River. Cool facilities like a barbecue pit, all the gear you need, and a canteen serving homemade breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. It’s the perfect blend of culture, nature, and pure relaxation!
11. Runggou Hill Paradise View
Check out the amazing views from Runggou Hill Paradise in Kota Belud! With the hills as far as your eyes can see, bring the family on a refreshing hike up the 2km Love Trail. If you’re a morning person, you definitely won’t regret setting out early to catch the sunrise! Once you’ve reached the peak, lay out your picnic mats, set up your camping tents or chill on hammocks in cosy huts with roofs made of Nipah leaves.
Not just for hikers, this place is awesome for photos, family days, meetings with a great view, relaxing, making cool movies, and camping fun. Runggou Hill Paradise View is your ticket to a nature adventure!
12. Sinilou River Farmstay
Finding Sinilou River Farmstay might seem tricky at first on the less-travelled route, but with Waze, Google Maps, and friendly locals’ directions, you’ll get there. Just a 20km road trip leads you to this hidden gem, nestled by a calm river.
This peaceful haven offers a unique dining spot by the riverside and comfy swings for relaxation. It’s not just a place to stay; it’s a calming adventure waiting to be discovered. Why not live like a local and spend the night in a wooden, traditional house? You can also try your hand at rubber tapping, planting paddy and veggies, rafting, fishing, and even learn about the Dusun’s traditional way of cooking
Let’s Head to Kota Belud!
There’s so much to see and do in Kota Belud and it’s always fun to spend time with the family. These options are endless, catering to everyone’s preferences! Whether you’re an adventurous person or not, an exciting journey awaits at Kota Belud this end of year. Safe travels!