Return to Sabah — Kota Kinabalu, Part 7: Cafe Hopping

On our last day in Sabah, we had dinner at Bao Jian Tang, an affordable coffee shop in an area called Damai in Kota Kinabalu. We wanted a proper meal before going cafe hopping, because we didn’t intend to spend much at the cafes.

Cafe culture has come upon Malaysia, and Kota Kinabalu is no exception. However, there’s something different about the cafes in KK as compared to other places. It is that in Sabah, businesses tend to close quite early. When checking out various cafes, we found that most of them close by 6pm, and very few are open in the evening.

Close to Bao Jian Tang was a cafe called Kopi Ping Cafe, but we didn’t go there. Instead, we chose to visit The Oak Street. It’s a beautiful cafe with the cakes and coffee all nicely displayed as we entered. However, it was located in a rather secluded area (at night, at least), and we felt odd that we were the only customers inside the cafe. Not feeling too comfortable, we decided to take our leave without ordering anything. It didn’t help that the cheapest hot drink was RM12.

Our second cafe was called Locals Only, which was located all the way across town in Plaza Tanjong Aru. This shopping centre is an unusual find, and you will surely pass it on your way to Tanjong Aru Beach, as we did a couple of weeks earlier. It is unusual because the shopping centre looks quite old, yet there is a Burger King here. There are not many outlets of this fast-food chain in KK, and it did seem strange to us that there was one here, in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed.

The interior of Plaza Tanjong Aru

Before going to the cafe, we took a look around this shopping centre. In the middle was a seafood restaurant that looked quite big. It would seem that weddings are held here, as there are ballrooms present next to the restaurant, as well as businesses that cater for weddings. In addition, there are travel agencies and car rental companies here, so perhaps the reason why this place seems quiet is because it is another victim of the pandemic that has killed tourism in KK. Hopefully when the tourism industry revives, so too will this place.

Facing the main road on the first floor of the shopping centre was the small cozy cafe that we were looking for. The prices of the drinks were slightly cheaper than those in The Oak Street, but still more than RM10. However, when we arrived, the cafe was full of customers, and one group had a guitar being played. Baby Tilapia had unfortunately developed a headache by then, and decided that it was better to return to Stanton Hotel.

Upon our return, Baby Crab discovered that a bag containing a passport had been misplaced during our drive out, as it was not in the hotel where we thought it was. Realising that we had left it at Bao Jian Tang, we drove back there to retrieve it. Thankfully everything was intact. The excitement drove away Baby Tilapia’s headache temporarily, so we bought a drink at Kopi Ping Cafe.

This cafe was designed like an air-conditioned coffee shop. Its menu contained your traditional coffee shop drinks, herbal tea stall desserts, cafe food, and coffee shop food. It is a weird combination. Baby Tilapia ordered a snowy white fungus dessert, and expected it to come in a bowl, but it was served in a prepacked plastic cup with straw, similar to bubble tea. Shortly after drinking it, Baby Tilapia’s headache came back, so we decided to call it a day and returned to the hotel.

Like almost everything else in Kota Kinabalu, cafe hopping is expensive. While we do enjoy going to cafes, our budget for hot drinks is around RM 6-9. Seeing the most affordable hot drink priced above RM10 is an instant turn-off for us, which is why we did not patronise any of the cafes we went to. Perhaps the ones that are open in the day time are more affordable, but we did not have the chance this trip to try them out.

This concludes the 7-part series of posts of our experience in Kota Kinabalu this trip. In our next post, we will be leaving Kota Kinabalu for other parts of Sabah. See you tomorrow!

If you liked this post and want to see more like it, please support us by making a contribution or follow us from the pop-up link at the bottom of this page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s