Gaya Street is Kota Kinabalu’s oldest street and the go-to-place for local produce, classic food shops, and hip cafes.
Gaya Street is also known as the Chinatown of Kota Kinabalu. Lined with many shops and cafes, it is particularly famous for its Sunday Market where farmers and other tradesmen from the outskirts of the city gather their produce to sell at the market. You can buy anything you want, such as fresh local produce, herbs, snacks, potted plants, art pieces, and souvenirs.
Gaya Street is right in the middle of Kota Kinabalu’s city centre.
Opening Days and Hours
You can visit Gaya street at any time of the day. Although most shops will be closed by midnight, there is a 24-hour Muslim-Indian food shop. The Sunday morning market starts at 06:30 and ends around 14:30.
Entry Fee and Bookings
It is free to visit Gaya Street.
How to Get There
You can get to Gaya Street by car, motorbike, taxi, or just walk there if you are staying in the city centre.
Gaya Street is suitable for everyone including couples, seniors, families with kids, and groups of friends.
Time to Spend
Depending on your purpose, most people spend about 1 to 3 hours at Gaya Street.
Popularity and Best Time to Go
Although the street is always busy during the day, the best time to visit is during the Sunday morning market.
Gaya Street is the ultimate place in Kota Kinabalu for shopping, eating, or just to catch a glimpse of the everyday life of a local.
There is a huge variety of restaurants and eateries on the street ranging from budget meals to upscale food. Your choices range from local cuisines like curry noodles and bak kut teh (herbal stew), to Western specialties like Italian and Spanish food.
Safety and Fraud
Make sure that you keep an eye on your belongings especially when it is crowded at the Sunday morning market.
From Gaya Street, you can enjoy island hopping at Sapi, Manukan, Sulug, and Mamutik Islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (the jetty is about a 20-minute walk away). Visit Mari Mari village, a traditional Bornean village where you can catch a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of the various tribes in Sabah (a 30-minute drive away) or the Atkinson Clock Tower (a 5-minute walk away).
You have many accommodation options nearby from hostels, guesthouses, homestays to 5-star hotels.
Good to Know
There are some local produce found only in Borneo such as “lihing” – a local rice wine, so do give it a try!