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Travel & Resources: KOTA KINABALU

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KOTA KINABALU (Sabah State) -- (60-88)

General Information

    This happy-go-lucky resort town on the South China Sea is almost entirely new, having been destroyed and rebuilt following Japanese occupation in WWII. The waterfront is currently seeing another surge of development, but, luckily, buildings are height-restricted due to the close proximity of the airport. Seafood feasts, island hopping, and unspoiled nature are the main attractions in the vicinity. There is also more than a little gay life bubbling under the surface. KK is a great place for a romantic get-away with your partner or special someone, but it's also easy to make new friends with a smile.

    Super cheap Asia Air flights get you here in only 2.5 hours from Kuala Lumpur so it's a great escape from the urban tangle of the capital. There are also three non-stop flights a week from Bangkok.

    Muslims are in the minority in Sabah, so KK feels less uptight than West Malaysia. Respectful and properly dressed visitors may even be permitted to enter and photograph the interiors of some of the city's large mosques, a rewarding cultural experience if you have the opportunity.

    KK's population is around 350,000 (that's about 15,000 Utopians). There are more than three dozen indigenous ethnic groups in Sabah, so the people here are a rainbow in themselves.

  • Men in Kota Kinabalu message forum

Travel Services

  • Borneo Boats and Beaches UTOPIA VERIFIED APR 2013
      Jesselton Point Jetty, email. Gay-friendly, private boat trips to the islands off Kota Kinabalu. Be as discreet (or indiscreet) as you wish for the day aboard your privately chartered boat. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe, dance - whatever. Visit deserted beaches where nobody will see you. Jonathan will be a charming host and his boatsman will look after your safety, serve soft drinks, beers, accompany you snorkeling, etc. Utopia Member Discount

Popular Spots

    Kota Kinabalu is easy to navigate using our Utopia map:


    Click here for Kota Kinabalu hotels and accommodations.

Bars and Clubs

    • Buddha Bar (mixed) UTOPIAN VERIFIED MAY 2013
        In the city center, just two minutes walk from Jesselton Point. Some gay Chinese and Malay hang out here. Affordable drinks and food. The decoration is attractive and the staff are cute and friendly. Indoors is a VIP area, bar and dance floor with up-to-date dance music. Outdoors is a large garden with BBQ and fountain where the young crowd cruises.
    • Magma Sports Club (mixed)
        A fun pub with a pool table and karaoke. Popular with gays.

      Q Bar Q Bar
        50 Gaya St, 230-722. Top marks for the world-class design of this straight-friendly gay bar (Wallpaper, are you listening?). Cozy round bar (in the shape of a "Q", of course) for optimal eye contact. Pool table. A plush Thai-style corner den for bears and pandas (greatly sought after here in Sabah), plus a 2nd comfy corner area designed for groups of friends. They take special pride in their beautiful and sparklingly clean bathrooms. Opens daily at 8pm. Easy lounge music until 10pm when it starts to get busier. DJ plays dance beats after 11pm with house music. Twenty varieties of wine on hand in the cooler. Drag show every Fri night: entertainment by The QGirls. Theme parties monthly. Management and staff couldn't be friendlier. Crowd is young professional with a happy mix of ethnicities.

    • Shenanigans (mixed)
        B/F Hyatt Hotel. Mixed pub popular with gays, particularly Chinese.


    • Hyatt Regency Hotel
        G/F fitness has local gay members and a cruisy steam bath.
    • Sutera Harbour gym club has a gay presence. UTOPIAN VERIFIED JUL 2011

Massage & Spas for Men

    • Absolute Sabah Massage UTOPIA VERIFIED SEP 2012
        28 Jln Lintas, 017-864-6769, email. Gay-managed man-to-man massage. Urut batin by native Kadarzhan. Experienced masseur available from 7pm-midnight and weekends from 10am-11pm. Outcall only. Utopia Member Discount
    • oneB Healthcare & Charming Gallery
        S-909 Motor City, 1 Borneo, Jln Sulaman, 010-522-1304, email. Gay-friendly spa for men. They offer: facials; body therapy including traditional Malaysian, Thai, Balinese and Guasa; healing herbs; aromatherapy; body scrubs. Outcall also available. Utopia Member Discount

Meeting Places

    • Anjung Senja hawker center
        Waterfront opposite the Promenade Hotel. A great place to eat and catch the eye of friendly locals at the same time. Evenings.
    • Centrepoint shopping center
    • Hyatt Hotel entrance
        The pedestrian pathway connecting Jln Datuk Salleh Sulong to Wisma Merdeka is very cruisy. Sit in Mosaic café at one end or hang out near the shopping mall entrance at the other end.
    • Long distance bus terminal at night, transgenders
    • Prince Philip Park, Tanjung Aru. Near the pond and the circle with fountain. Late night, very cruisy. Some hustler decoys.

Restaurants and Cafes

        Karamunsing Capital, 448-728. Gay-owned restaurant serving steak and American BBQ.

      Mosaic Mosaic (Italian food, coffee, ice cream and cakes)
        Jln Datuk Salleh Sulong (just at the foot of the Hyatt Hotel driveway). This sleek and modern air-conditioned restaurant and café is the perfect place to cruise the foot traffic heading in and out of Wisma Merdeka while sipping a cappuccino or demolishing one of Mosaic's delicious sweet treats. Where are we again? Melbourne? South Beach? Oh, yeah, Kota Kinabalu. A stack of Gourmet magazines is on hand if you get bored, but we think you'll want to view all the Asian poetry amidst the passing parade, so grab the corner table in front of the picture windows and practice your deadliest Memoirs of a Geisha glance. Very cute and friendly staff.

    • Restoran Rasa Nyonya (Nyonya and traditional)
        G/F 50 Jln Gaya, 218-092. This local place serves up tasty authentic peninsular cuisine. Dine by 9pm as they close early. After dinner, hop over to Q Bar next door for a cocktail.

      Comments from Utopians:

      "Indonesian food stall in Grace Point Food Court (in Sembulan area, next to Grace Court and Grace Ville Condominium; opposite the Sutera Harbour Resort) is run by PLUs. It's famous among locals for its fusion of Indonesian and local style grill. 'Die die must try' popular dishes are the grilled lamb shoulder, grilled salmon (lowest price in downtown) and fried pangsit salmon!" -- jephostan, Jul 6, 2013

Saunas and Fitness for Men

    • Hyatt Regency Sauna (mixed)
        Hyatt Regency Hotel. Some of the customers are local gay guys. Dry sauna, steam room, large and private showers rooms. Be discreet.

Shops and Salons

    • Small gay shop on 2/F of KK plaza sells clothes and gay kitsch.

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