Visiting the City Mosque in Likas, Kota Kinabalu

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ January 24th, 2011. Updated on May 30th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Sabah (Malaysian Borneo).

I am still reveling in the ability to get around so easily in Kota Kinabalu.

City Mosque in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

City Mosque in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (click to enlarge, HDR)

How to visit the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

A quick bus trip from Wawasan terminal to the Likas District soon had me riding the highways of Kota Kinabalu. I’d asked around about getting to City Mosque and as usual got the double take looks. It seems that asking directions to this place is not that common a thing.

Again, the people of Sabah quite literally blew me away with their friendliness. Waiting for the bus to leave I’d struck up a conversation with 3 ladies in front of me. Mainly due to the fact I was dripping with sweat like a shower all over the bus.

Sample Conversation on how to find the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu:

“Where you go Mister?”

City Mosque in Likas, Kota Kinabalu

I really enjoy the architecture of mosque's

“The City Mosque Madam.”

“Ah, the City Mall!”

“Eh, no the Mosque,” I repeated. My message wasn’t quite getting across.

“To Pray,” I said pressing my hands together. No sooner had I done this then I remembered. Wrong country for that symbol. So I repeated and raised my hands up and bowed. It worked.

“Ah the City Mosque!”  the woman gleamed as the bus took off.

Like any religion, Islam is different in a new country

It was my first time taking public transport in an Islamic country since leaving Pakistan (or to tick a few people off, Mindanao). And, as a young lady sat down beside me I noticed that things were much more relaxed here.

“Where you go sir?” she asked. The people of Sabah had me won over based on their sheer openness to say hello alone.

In some countries muslim women are simply not permitted in the same bus as you. Here, they were pushing me over in the seat and starting up conversations.

“I care less about religious rules. Moreover, my point is other people’s misconceptions of religion.”

The architectural beauty of the city mosque in Kota Kinabalu

With the South China Sea to the left the bus turned a corner and the yellow minarets with blue spires appeared like a beacon. I like Islamic architecture as one might note from my visits to Badsahdi Mosque in Lahore. The city mosque in Kota Kinabalu was looking like it would be another fine work of art.

There were a few tourist buses around the parking lot. And, a few Asian couples getting snap shots outside as I walked by. It was prayer time and I figured that I’d have to wait around a while before being allowed in. I removed my shoes and socks, and eyed a couple of kids hanging around by the shoe stand. Then entered.

Around the City Mosque and back

Mosque minarets reflection in water, Kota Kinabalu

Mosque minarets reflection in water

In actual fact the Mosque is not so special looking from the inside. White washed walls and ceiling, dull gray carpeting and that was about it. There were also only a few people around. With nothing much to see I headed back out to photograph from the outside as the sun shone down fiercely.

“I should have come earlier.”

But as luck would have it as I walked around the domed building the water surrounding it reflected the minarets beautifully. Further around and I came back to the front of the Mosque. It had an impressive entrance way that’s sadly obscured by a line of planted trees and a car park.  That said, I was still happy with what I was coming away with.

Time to get stranded

I left and crossed the road again. I half planned to walk down the main highway and photograph the mosque from a distance, but the speedy traffic made it difficult. With the sun belting down I looked around and realized I could see no bus stop either.

A short walk back past the mosque and I met some students. Again, Sabah’s hospitality came to the top and I was greeted with smiles and was further told the bus would be along shortly.

Settling into my new destination in Sabah

Mission one for my list of places to see was now accomplished. Public transport was no problem either it seemed. What’s more everything just seems so easy in Kota Kinabalu.

The people, the way things worked, getting around. Things were off to a great start in ‘KK’ as it’s known locally. A city that is quickly growing on me, and all I can think of is …

“where’s the catch?”

The effects of long-term travel off the beaten path

Yes, that dark cloud of paranoia brought on from living in West Africa and The Philippines is still there. It has become apart of me. It brings protection for a lone traveler, but also hinders trust in others. It’s something I cannot shake …

Indeed, the catch is, I really have a disliking to the tourists here. Probably anywhere. They jump up in excitement with the things I’ve seen 10 times over. Yes … this is the difference. I am not the average breed of tourist.

It makes me seem quite boring in my lack of excitement towards other peoples ideas of a good time. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.

We are traveling. But we are both looking for different things from it. Different journeys whose paths cross over every now and then.

Coming Soon:

A good deed puts smiles on both our faces …

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27 Great responses to Visiting the City Mosque in Likas, Kota Kinabalu

  1. Stuart says:

    I thought Borneo was all jungle! You are showing me a new side to it mate. This place looks old.

    Whatever path you are on now, keep going. Its never gonna be like a “tourist” in the pure sense. Look at it like the “best of both worlds”

  2. iamthewitch says:

    The picture of the mosque is simply amazing! I never knew of such a mosque even though I’ve been to KK before. Bravo!!

  3. LeslieTravel says:

    Amazing photo of the mosque! Sounds like a cool off-the-beaten path destination. I can relate to your tourist fatigue… sometimes the site of a horde of tourists (esp naive first-timers) is annoying! You know how to pick the local/out of the way places so you probably have a minimal risk for coming across the traveling herds ;)

    • Cheers Leslie. There were very few tourists at the mosque, just a tour bus of local people I think! Even when I ask about the mosques in KK they shrug. So be, I’ll bring you undiscovered Malaysia so :)

  4. Anna's World says:

    I agree about the photo, wow! Love it. Thanks for posting how to get there too. Helpful!

    Is travel in Sabah easier than in most places you’ve been?

    • I think travel in Sabah is the same. What’s different are the amount of easy options to take. Mainly package tours. Nearly every hotel offers them. I’m hoping to get by without taking one!

  5. Jason says:

    Looks like your settling in nicely mate. Some great images of the Mosque (I must give HDR a go some time in the future). Six years on the road will lower your sensitivity to many things whilst traveling, and you’re definitely not the average tourist.

    • Cheers Jason. It was a really hot and cloudy day. Personally, I think this suits shooting in HDR. What would normally be a dull overcast day, can seem a lot better. The main problem with HDR is when it’s over done, or repeated too often. At least, that’s my own perspective on it.

  6. Carrie says:

    Hello there! Your Kota Kinabalu post brought me running. We’re heading there next week for some R&R, so I’m catching up on anything Sabah related. Lovely photos! We’ve added the City Mosque to our list of things to see!

  7. Johnathan says:

    Great find. I’m learning that public transport can offer things that tours can’t. It takes longer, but I think if you have the time it works out that you get so much more back.

  8. Michelle says:

    Wow, your photos are really amazing!

  9. Haha, would have been real funny if she gave you directions to the mall without questioning it first.

    “It makes me seem quite boring in my lack of excitement towards other peoples ideas of a good time. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.

    We are traveling. But we are both looking for different things from it. Different journeys whose paths cross over every now and then.”

    This is an absolutely classic statement. Tourism and long term travel are different beasts, they cannot be compared. The value system of each are on different playing fields. True, we are all traveling, but the intention, the focus, and the search is completely incompatible.

    I, too, have felt as if I am very boring to tourists. There often needs to be a mutual based of understanding — a layer of commonality — that is needed for good conversation. Don’t worry, someone will jump out and you and it will be more than worth it.

    • It’ wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been given directions to the wrong place. Very easy here though. Avoid the tours and the buses are very easy.

      I’m totally going through an anti tourist phase here. Maybe it’s just the nature of Sabah, but it seems like more upper class tourism here. Gap year kids. Honeymooners. Couples. And, students on college learning tours. Just met a chap from the UK who works for an adventure company taking people out here. Amazing what they are paying for things.

  10. flip says:

    amazing picture man… i like the reflection on the water… btw, noticed something new on your layout… love the white background…

  11. mikeymaws says:

    nice nice place to visit!!!!

    Anyway, i’ll be goi’n to kota this april and i dont know what places should i see and visit, any suggestion please..

    I will appreciate it from the moon and back.

  12. I come from Malaysia but I have never been to Sabah & Sarawak!
    Ha ha! Shame on me…
    The funny thing is I even have to carry my Malaysian passport to visit these two places?!
    How strange?!

  13. That picture of the Mosque is just stunning mate.

  14. samat says:

    well its very nice mosque ..i have been there for a few times
    Sabahan Muslim should proud of it indeed