Sam (from Malaysia)
The Kota Kinabalu nightlife has enough variety to keep most visitors happy for a week or two. There are girls to be found online as well as in the bars and all the usual places, but you should not expect anything particularly hectic - this is not a destination for non-stop drinking and partying.
Overall there's pretty good entertainment for a small Malaysian city. Live bands and DJs play almost every night of the week in most bars and clubs, and there are several small coffee shops and restaurants which offer a great place to enjoy a few quieter drinks with the locals.
Meeting regular Kota Kinabalu girls is somewhat easier than in other parts of the country, and there’s an active red light district for fans of the pay for pleasure scene. You’ll find a suitable vibe in this city for any kind of night you’re looking for.
The nightlife is varied; you can sip a beer whilst overlooking the sea, socialize in the Irish pubs, or head to the nightclubs - most open from around 4 pm to 1 am with some staying open until 3 am.
Expect Carlsberg, Tiger, and Guinness, which is a more limited choice in my experience compared to other parts of Malaysia. Beer is often served in jugs rather than a glass. Prices are similar to what you would expect to pay back home. In the livelier places it’s not uncommon for locals to buy a bottle of liquor to share among themselves.
Alcohol, like the rest of Malaysia, is expensive so expect a night out to burn a hole in your pocket. If you’re on a budget, happy-hour prices are reasonable and some bars have decent drink promotions. The crowd is typically young locals and you’ll find very few westerners. A handful of backpackers drink in the early evening, but they’re quite rare to meet later on.
As mentioned above, live music is popular. Expect local and Filipino bands playing a range of music from heavy rock to 80s music depending on where you go. Some bars ask you to buy a drink at the door in lieu of an entrance ticket.
If it’s your first time to experience the Kota Kinabalu nightlife and you’re looking for a wild evening of drinking and fun, tour companies offer a pub-crawl. You’re split into teams and play a number of drinking games with other participates whilst visiting several bars.
The most well-known area in the city is the Waterfront. You’ll find a lot of bars and restaurants along there which are full of locals. This is a great place to meet Kota Kinabalu girls too. The scene is lively after dark and most places stay open late.
Whenever I’m in the city, my Friday and Saturday night ritual is to first drink in one of the Chinese restaurants in the side streets for the cheaper beer. Then I head over and enjoy one of the bands along the Waterfront before heading to the nearby nightclub. I usually stumble back to my hotel around 2 am.
Times Square is another popular place to enjoy the Kota Kinabalu nightlife. You can relax in some of the lounges or go to one of the nightclubs. Expect the drink prices to be more expensive than the Waterfront. Don’t make the same mistake as me and assume that taxis are waiting outside at the end of the night, because usually they’re not and that can be a problem if your hotel is any distance away.
As always, meeting girls in Malaysia is tricky. People are religious and more conservative, which makes it difficult to break down the initial barrier. From experience it is a little easier to meet girls here than in other areas of Malaysia. Islam isn’t as strong and a lot of the younger generation are more open-minded. You’ll find a mixture of men and women enjoying the Kota Kinabalu nightlife scene whereas it’s mostly men in, for example, Kuala Lumpur.
The chances of taking someone back to your room may be slightly more probable, but it’s still low and you have a disadvantage because girls like to hang out chatting until late at night. In other countries, the ones who are out at midnight are generally more up for it, but that’s not the case here.
I have two tips for meeting girls. The first is to be patient; the girls in the clubs are more likely to be interested in you than those in the bars. There are only a few nightclubs and the chances of seeing familiar faces later on is high. Be strategic with who you approach in the bars and plant the seeds for later – speak to the ones who are dressed up or sitting with their friends drinking a beer tower. This gives you a higher success rate because they’re warmer towards someone they saw earlier. A one-night-stand may not be on the cards, but I’ve ended up with a lot of phone numbers.
The second tip for meeting girls is less obvious – the Kota Kinabalu nightlife is better on a Saturday night than on other nights because church attendance is high on Sunday mornings. The conservative ladies wake up early on Sunday mornings, which means it’s more likely that the people who you meet on a Saturday night are less likely to be conservative.
You can find some bars, especially those with karaoke, that offer a ‘Guest Relations Officer’ to entertain the male customers. This means that a young and attractive girl comes and sits with you for the night in exchange for expensive drinks. The difference here compared to other places in Asia is that the hostess usually doesn’t go home with you. Sometimes they do, but it’s not a sure thing.
I should also mention that the call girl business is starting to take off and it’s quite easy to meet Kota Kinabalu escorts online. If you are unfamiliar with the city and want to guarantee company on a certain night then the escorts in Kota Kinabalu are an option worth considering. Prices for these ladies start at around 200 RM, but can be MUCH higher if you want a European lady.
Erotic massages are available, but they aren’t as obvious as you might expect. In fact, the very first time I visited the city I had the most serendipitous experience imaginable whilst having a haircut of all things! The barber shop had an adjoining parlour and I was offered a massage, which turned out to have an unexpected happy ending. This is common and some of the locals go to the barber shop salon for a quickie before going out for the night…
After enjoying the Kota Kinabalu nightlife and having little success in meeting a girl, it’s tempting to stroll into the red light district. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect.
You’ll find that most Kota Kinabalu prostitutes originate from China, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Kampung Air is the most prominent area and they roam the streets on most nights. The girl usually takes you to one of the many hotels where you pay an hourly rate. Gaya Street is another spot, however, it’s much more inconsistent - some nights they’re out and others they’re not. The best time is after midnight and you’ll find a variety of girls and ladyboys.
Kota Kinabalu ladyboys can be a problem and you need to take care when you’re around them. I’ve unknowingly walked down Gaya Street to my hotel after a night out with a girlfriend and been approached. They were persistent to say the least, despite the fact that I was already with someone. It almost ended up in a full-scale argument with the girl I was with.
If you can’t find a regular girl and do decide to try your luck with the P4P scene, there’s a common scam that you should be aware of. The girl agrees on a price and takes you to a hotel. While you are undressing the girl gets a worrying phone call from her pimp saying that the police are on the way. She panics and tells you to run out the back door. Sometimes there’s even a bang on the door claiming to be the police.
During the confusion she takes your wallet that conveniently fell from your pocket when you undressed as you desperately flee. A local source tells me that this is more common with Indonesian working girls in the area.
The first warning is to take care around the Waterfront area with the Filipino beggars, especially the kids. One distracts you while the other has their hands in your pocket. The bars and restaurants are completely safe, but the nightclubs may not be. Foreigners are few are far between and are the targets of thieves. Gangs also work inside selling drugs – stay away from them. If you do end up in the red light district, accidentally or not, be especially careful with your belongings and expect the girls to be pushy.
You’re going to have a great night whether you’re looking for a quiet relaxing drink or an evening of partying and debauchery. Kota Kinabalu girls are easier to pick up if you’re strategic and approach them at the clubs, but you’ll probably end up with their number rather than a one-night stand. In sum, just stay safe and enjoy yourself, the Kota Kinabalu nightlife is better than you might expect.
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