Located about 6 km from Mount Kinabalu Park (where the Kundasang War Memorial is).
What to buy: Fruits, flowers, vegetables and plants..
What to pay: Getting There
Kundasang is located 90km, about 2 hrs driving from Kota Kinabalu and only 10 minutes driving from Kinabalu Park. Take a bus from the Jalan Padang Bus Terminal to Kundasang or Ranau for approximately RM17.00 per person. A taxi from the Ranau Taxi Stand (located beside the Merdeka Field) or from your hotel should cost around RM160.00 to RM300.00 per taxi. KK taximen don't use meters, so need to bargain the price before u get on the taxi.
Filipino market has a range of arts and crafts, produced locally or taken in from neighbouring countries. It's very accessible.
What to buy: I bought pearls there on many occasion. Cheaper pearls are the freshwater ones. There are a range of product there. Necklace, earrings, brooch, etc. Pearls come in many shapes and shades. The available shapes are round, corn and rice...hence the names. White color are cheaper than the others.
Simple stud earrings cost in the range of RM10 - 15. Necklace, short strand is around RM70. You can also buy in a longer length. One strand is about RM70, which is about 1 feet long. So when you buy a longer length, they'll calculate the price by the portion of the extra strands used.
To get a better bargain in the Filipino market, walk to the back of the building. The booths at the back are not frequently visited as the ones in the front, so, they'll be happy to give you good discount. Scout for a booth that has a wide range of selection, and that stick to it. It's easier to get discounts when you purchase all of the stuffs in one place.
What to pay: Range of RM100 for good pearl necklace. That's about US 28.
The famous place is at the Handicraft market locally known as Filipino Market where there are many outlets selling the pearls & other handicrafts. Its close to Hyatt hotel & the beach front. Ask any locals and they should be able to direct you to this famous place. Check this URL http://www.sabahtourism.com/attraction.php?ID=94 for further info.
Depending on types of pearls, I have never bought any necklace, but the bracelet starts as low as RM10 @ approx. USD3(or was it lower? - cant exactly recall).
Be prepared to spend time scouting the stalls before u made any decision and its here where u can bargain the price. Remember the sale is on cash term only!
What to buy: Cheap pearl jeweleries
Handmade local crafts
What to pay: Minimum RM10
This mall is the latest mall in KK now and have a nice selection of mid to mid-high end products, cafes and restaurants. I like this place mainly because there is starbucks Coffee at the ground floor. Nothing beats a good cup of coffee...
This mall has been here for a long long time. It accomodates to the mid-lower to the low end market and has a good selection of phone shops on the ground floor. Similar to MBK in Thailand or Sungai Wang in KL.
What to buy: Anything
It is a small market with narrow passage in between each stalls. It is packed with merchandise from around this region. However, I had a hard time finding anything that is really unique about Sabah. No, I am not talking about Sabah t-shirts, key chains or magnets. It seems that Sabah has more to offer than these typical souvenirs.
What to buy: Tourists from west malaysia seems to like to buy dried shrimps and anchovies from Sabah. There is a section of the market dedicated to this type of products. Is it really cheaper here, i am not sure. But sorry mom, I didn't buy any because I didn't want to stink my whole backpack!
I found that it's difficult to see souvenir shops in KK. I found there are 2 inside Center Point. Their price is slightly lower than the souvenir shop on Gaya Street. The souvenir shop is located near McDonald and Burger King inside the mall. Ask the information counter for directions.
What to buy: post cards, t-shirts, local handicrafts (these are more authentic handicrafts than those in Handicraft Market/ Filipino Market).
What to pay: Souvenirs in Sabah are slightly more expensive than in penisula malaysia
Warisan Square is located on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. It's a new mall. The planning is kind of interesting. It consists of 3 groups of covered pedestrian malls linked with bridges on the 1st floor. There are a few restaurants on the ground level facing Jalan Duapuloh. It is just nice and cool to shop in here. There is a Guardian pharmacy here too.
What to buy: Mostly branded goods like Esprit, Baleno, Padini Concept Store, Guardian (pharmacy), etc.
Restaurants: Secret Recipe, Hongkong Recipe, Chicken Rice Shop, Starbucks, etc.
What to pay: Average
The best thing about shopping in KK is that you can haggle for the price and it's still really cheap.
What to buy: If you like pearls, there are lot of pearls, crystals at evening market. you can find souvenir items at filipino market. You can buy really good cellphone at almost all corners of KK
What to pay: cash is the mode of payment for almost everything except when you go to shopping malls which they can accept card
The Sunday Market, called locally the tamu, offers a tantalising range of products that both excite and educate. The market tamu at about 6.30am and until its closing time around noon. Hawkers and vendors do a roaring, and at times, noisy trade selling food, kuih-muih, potted plants, sea shells, clothes, antiques, pottery, puppies, kittens, birds, rabbits, ornamental fish and other stranger animals.
What to buy: There is something for everybody - tribal artifacts, Filipino handicrafts made of shells, fibres and pearls, Sabah handicrafts, ancient brass gongs, Chinese ceramics and rattan furniture.
(last date visited - June 21, 2006)
Serway Hypermart (inside K.K. Plaza Branch)
a) jackfruits - RM 1.00
b) balimbing - RM 1.00
c) Lipton tea - RM 1.00
d) Water - RM 1.00
e) jack & jill chips - RM 1.00
The open-air Sunday market on Gaya Street is open from 6 am until 2 pm. They sell pretty much everything here: pets, vegetables, antiques, orchids, fruit, clothes, shoes, name it. It was hot and crowded with tourists and locals but not stinky or dirty. I hadn't had breakfast so I bought some donuts and lemonade. My favorite food item was the mini pancake sandwiches with assorted fillings of chocolate, peanut, kaya, butter and cheese.
What to buy: I didn't buy anything except food really. But it was nice to look around the see the locals in action.
As with electronic goods-go elsewhere for variety but if you insist, I'd direct you to visit the big 3 shopping malls again. Mind you sizes in KK can differ from western ones, and an XL there is probably closer to an 'M' in say Australia, depending on where it was made.
The bigger stores (Parkson, Pacific Ngiu Kee, Tong's) usually have everything under the sun. Women's clothing is as easily available as in any other spot where women are found-it's everywhere!!!
Just toward the end of December 2006, Warisan Square (behind Centre Point) opened, and sells branded goods, and finally there's a spot that makes KK look like an actual city...
What to buy: work clothes and leather goods (wallets, shoes) tend to be much better priced than in australia.
KK isn't the best spot in Malaysia to do so, but enough questions pop up on the forum about it-generally, keep in mind that the industry is very competitive and shopkeepers who try to fleece you will not make a sale because you'll be shopping around (I hope you are!!)-still a white face will probably attract a premium even after shopping around.
There's no 1 spot to go around, but basically look at the big 3 shopping malls (Kompleks Karamunsing, Centre Point and Wisma Merdeka) and by and large, you can bargain. International warranties can be excluded to reduce the price so find out about that. Mobile phones are competitive enough but most shops sell both new and used ones so find out beforehand. Also, some new phones are cheaper than identical ones because of limited international warranties-again, ask first.
Same with computing goods, but as I said at the start, it's preferable to do your electronic shopping elsewhere-Kuala Lumpur or Singapore are much better.
What to pay: cheaper than in the West, though I find digital cameras to be no cheaper than in Australia. I do recommend doing your shopping in KL or Singapore instead.
KK's a good spot to do your handicraft shopping-mind you, not much of the stuff is actually locally mad-most come from the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand but hey, it looks local enough...
Wawasan Plaza used to have a small area for these handicraft shops though recently it has disappeared though 2 big shops do exist on the ground floor. and Wisma Merdeka's another spot to shop around. Mind you almost all these shops buy their merchandise from the arch monopolist-Jamilah Enterprise...she's making a fortune supplying to them so I suppose if you want to buy in bulk go to her shop about a 100 or so metres from Centrepoint and get it at wholesale prices. She even sells to those people selling handicrafts around Mt. Kinabalu...
What to buy: trinklets, beads, small gifts
What to pay: it can vary widely-shop around!!