Malaysia offers many options for vacations, from nature retreats to stunning islands. Our recent adventure took us to Sabah, where we stayed at the magnificent Shangri-La Rasa Ria, Kota Kinabalu. It was a perfect spot for a vacation with my parents, who came to visit us all the way from the Netherlands.
Though a bit far from the International Airport Kota Kinabalu, the hour-long journey was worthwhile. Set within a nature reserve overlooking the South China Sea, it was an ideal five-night retreat for our family trip.
Excitement for all ages
Shangri-La Rasa Ria Kota Kinabalu offers endless entertainment for everybody in the family. With different play areas indoors and outside, a kids club, a kiddy pool with water slides, our children were thrilled. We enjoyed our cocktails at the beach bar enjoying the beautiful sunsets, while the kids were playing in the sand. The food in the hotel was delicious and if you are there, please do try their dining buffets. The seafood buffet definitely stood out.
Activities around the hotel
The nature reserve around the hotel offers a hiking trail, an adventure walk and bird-watching activities (for additional fees). Don’t forget to bring walking shoes with you. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fully explore all the activities due to the age of our young children. However, if you have older kids and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can embark on an incredible sunrise walk to view Sabah’s Mount Kinabalu. It’s only a 35-minute walk from the resort, but be prepared to wake up around 5am.
Exploring pristine waters
The South China Sea doesn’t have perfectly clear waters close to the coast, so we went on a day trip to the islands Manukan and Mamutik. These beautiful islands provide a taste of paradise with their stunning surrounding turquoise waters. We enjoyed the sun, sipped on refreshing coconuts and explored the coral reefs and colourful fish while snorkelling.
Encounters with orangutans
No visit to Sabah is complete without a meeting with orangutans. To witness these incredible creatures up close, we took a short flight from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Sandakan (around 25 minutes) and visited the Sepilok Forest Reserve. For an even more immersive wildlife experience, you could extend your stay and book a few nights at the Sepilok Nature Reserve.
Our family getaway to Sabah, and our stay at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Kota Kinabalu resort, was a remarkable adventure. Despite its distance from the airport and the hotel’s slightly dated appearance, we were impressed by the location, well-maintained facilities, delicious food and the warm hospitality of the staff.
For more activities and fun things to do in Kota Kinabalu with kids, have a look at our article here.