Just a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu is the mountain town of Kundasang. Known to many as the New Zealand of Sabah, the slow-paced town can be found in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu. The mountainous areas are refreshingly cool during the day, and temperatures dip below freezing during night time.
STAY You won't find big-chain hotels here. Instead, expect independent homestays that will give you a taste of local life in Sabah. Stay by the sloping mountainside in the modern chalets of J Residence, which provides basic accommodation that puts you close to nature. Alternatively, treat yourself to panoramic views of the surrounding highlands at Nikgold Garden Resort.
EAT After exploring Mount Kinabalu, dig into local dishes at 89 Station, located near the Kinabalu National Park entrance. You'll find unique dishes such as wild boar with salted egg yolk and grilled ostrich. After which, head to Sabah Tea Garden to try out Sabah tea, or sip local wine (tapai) at a rice wine factory.
DO Rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit at Poring Hot Spring, located inside Kinabalu Park. The hot sulphuric minerals are said to have therapeutic and healing properties. At night, arm yourself with a torch and extra layers and head to the buffer zone of Mount Kinabalu Golf Club, which offers a mystical view of the Milky Way.