The modern state capital of Kota Kinabalu, or KK as is it's often called, is most peoples' introduction to Sabah.
The city was previously known as Jesselton, named after Sir Charles Jessel, a director of the British North Borneo Chartered Company who established the town as a trading post, although much of the city was flattened during the Second World War.
Rebuilt and renamed, Kota Kinabalu has some fine hotels and shopping opportunities at markets and stores. It is within easy reach of Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, a group of five reef-fringed islands a few kilometres out to sea - of which Pulau Gaya and Pulau Sapi are the most popular, with good beaches and marked walking trails.
Kota Kinabalu is also the starting point for trips to Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Springs.