Lively Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, Malaysia, is a veritable melting pot. Nowhere in the city is this more evident than at the Filipino Market, where the sights, sounds and smells – and shopping – are sure to awaken your senses. Here, you can shop till you drop and eat local delicacies to your heart’s content.
Kota Kinabalu’s Filipino Market is a reflection of the island of Borneo’s complexity and diversity. Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak states share Borneo with Indonesia’s Kalimantan and the sultanate of Brunei. As a result, its population comprises numerous indigenous tribes, Malays, Filipinos, Chinese, Europeans, Australians and more.
This multiculturalism is on display at the Filipino Market, with a wide assortment of people (though Filipino immigrants – as the market’s name suggests – run most of the stalls), merchandise and food.
Immerse yourself in the local culture by wending your way through the labyrinth of snug alleyways and hundreds of stalls that make up the market. You’ll find a vast array of items on offer here, including handicrafts, jewellery, toys, games, scarves, clothing, medicines, homewares, herbs and spices, toiletries, fruits, vegetables, meats, teas, seafood, handbags, flowers and even live animals.
Take a break from your browsing and buying with an authentic street food feast beside the South China Sea. The seafood is fresh off the fishing boats – try the mackerel or the massive prawns – and the skewers of meat sizzle and satiate.
You can even get your clothing and bags mended at the Filipino Market, as local tailors, armed with their sewing machines, set up shop along the kerb. (Why not patch those well-travelled jeans or fix the hem on that oft-stepped-on skirt?) Can’t get enough of the local markets? Kota Kinabalu’s Central Market, as well as the Night Food Market, are right here, too.