Gaya Street Market, Kota Kinabalu


As you may have figured out, I am obsessed with markets, trinkets and crafts. So when I realised there was a massive street market in Kota Kinabalu every Sunday I was ecstatic, given that I just so happened to be there on a Sunday. I had done my homework and read that the market is long, hot and busy – and full of treasures. To say I was disappointed would be an overstatement.

gaya street 1

Most of the stalls of this admittedly long and busy market were selling the typical Chinese tourist junk as pictured above, clothes, watches and plastics. I did not spot one craftsman or a woman, although a few stalls had some expensive baskets and the usual Bornean bead work for sale. Where are all the incredibly talented artisans of Sabah?

gaya street 3

However what was fantastic about the market were the layers underneath the loud music and the crowd. Traditional herbs, small kopitiams just behind the tents, fish and birds (and the poor, poor puppies). And a fantastic food market just around the corner.

gaya street 2 sf HGKL

gaya street 4 HGKL

gaya street HGKL

If you are heading to Jaya Street market forget about shopping but expect finding nostalgia and curious details. If you in KK, do pay a visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village. If you want to splurge, check out Gaya Island resort.

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