Welcome to my short destination landmark article – Kota Kinabalu Weekend Market. Known also as Gaya Street Weekend Market, it is a popular attraction located in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah, Malaysia.
The Gaya Street weekend market takes place every Sunday along Gaya Street, a bustling thoroughfare in the heart of Kota Kinabalu. The market usually starts early in the morning, around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., and continues until around 1:00 p.m. The market is known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere. It attracts both locals and tourists, creating a bustling and energetic environment. The street is closed to traffic during the market, allowing visitors to freely explore the stalls and vendors. The market provides an opportunity to experience the local culture and interact with the friendly Sabahan people. You can witness traditional dances, and music performances, and even encounter street artists showcasing their talents. The market starts early in the morning, so try to arrive early to beat the crowds and have a wider selection of goods to choose from. Additionally, the weather is usually cooler in the morning, making it more comfortable for exploring. The market can get crowded, so it’s advisable to wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, as Kota Kinabalu can be quite warm and humid. The market offers a wide variety of goods for sale, making it a great place to shop for souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, accessories, and traditional local products. You can find items such as batik textiles, handmade jewelry, wood carvings, local artwork, traditional snacks, fresh produce, and much more Coffee beans milling machines at each coffee powder stall. I must have counted no less than 5 stalls selling their individual brands of Arabica. They actually mill the beans on the spot, enticing shoppers with the aroma. While some vendors might accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand, as smaller vendors may not have card payment facilities. It’s also useful for bargaining and negotiating prices. Plenty of home-made kuehs for sale. You might try negotiating the prices with the vendors, but it’s important to do so respectfully and in good spirits. Authentic forest-harvested beehives, can’t get any more real than this. Take your time to wander through the entire market, as you might discover hidden gems and unique items by exploring different sections of the market. Sabah peppers should be on your shopping list as its one the best in Asia. Studious looking young chap helping out at his dad’s shop. I bought Bak Kuh Teh sachets from him. Gaya Street Market is also a food lover’s paradise. Numerous food stalls and vendors line the street, offering a tempting array of local delicacies and street food. Visitors can sample dishes like satay, noodle soups, barbecued seafood, local desserts, and freshly squeezed fruit juices. Dragon fruits in season. Many stalls sell this fruit, a case of ‘over supply’. Life passes by, and sale is slow. But the vendors are not overly aggressive. The market provides an opportunity to interact with the locals and learn more about their culture and traditions. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation, ask questions, and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. While photography is generally allowed at the market, some vendors may request that you ask for permission before taking pictures of their products. Always respect their wishes and be mindful of any signs or instructions regarding photography. Ladies’ fave knick-knack stalls. “Souvenirs’ galore. Since the market typically finishes around 1:00 p.m., consider planning additional activities for the rest of the day. You can explore nearby food establishments and curio shops. This balloon seller at the market is more focused on his handphone than moving his balloons. An upcycled coconut husk found a 2nd life. Sabah wood products for sale. That rotan will send a chill down the spine Ornamental fish in a plastic bag for sale. As with any crowded place, it’s important to be cautious of pickpockets. Carry a small bag that can be secured across your body and avoid displaying valuable items openly. Hamsters for sale at the pets corner. This moody Persian cat waiting for its new owner. Lots of freshly baked Swiss rolls to bring home. This is the Gaya Street Blind Masseurs is a side street massage set-up with a row of chairs where you can enjoy leg massages. Just Rm25 (S$7.50) for half an hour. Fleshy succulent indoor plants for the taking. Succulent indoor plants anyone? Popular food shops along Gaya Street The shop has a constant queue most time but the service is brisk. Kota Kinabalu’s version of Laksa, at the famous Yee Fung Laksa. Better value than Starbucks, and with the vibes of Sabah, of course. Kopi time at the famed Keng Wan Hing cafe. Nice freshly made pastries for snacking. Inflation has reached the shores of Sabah too. Conclusion
This is my 2nd visit to Gaya Street Weekend Market since my last visit in 2011. It still felt the same as before and nothing much changed, except for the inclusion of buskers and some new stalls. Exotic yet familiar, it was certainly a must-visit venue for anyone visiting. Do plan a visit to “The Land Below The Wind soon”.
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