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Last update: 27th July 2016

Greetings, all you nocturnal sapiens, all you day-sleepers and self-professed insomniac. As I typed that opening greeting, my head was thinking of writing an article about mysterious places in Sabah, where people had paranormal encounters and eerie, spine-chilling experiences.

To be honest, I am not that into this horror, ghost and gore thingy, but I know some people who really do. And I cannot help but listen as the wind blew and the little birds chirped and the paranormal junkies whispered to my ears of the whereabouts of these spooky places all over my homeland.

But then again, for the time being, I don’t think I’m going to write an article for you alternative travellers just yet.

There will be one real soon, but not now.

So let’s talk about something else that is indeed, only came out at night. Let’s talk about: “PASAR MALAM

“Pasar malam” is Malay words literally translated as Night Market

Being true to it’s name, Pasar malam will only surface once the sun slowly descends to the west. As the day grows darker, the Pasar malam will get livelier.

Filipino Market

Stalls made of multi-colored canvas canopies popped up in mere minutes, next you’ll barely notice that the Pasar malam sellers are all set to start their business and the Pasar malam goers will soon build up, creating an atmosphere like some sort of mini festival is going on.

What are there in Pasar malam that lure people to always flocked in?

First, it’s the Pasar malam’s food and second it’s everything else that is available at pasar malam.

Filipino Market in Kota Kinabalu

Pasar malam can easily be found anywhere, all across Sabah. In fact, even at any small town that you ever had the chance to drop by, chances are there will be a Pasar malam at a near distance.

But, take note that the operating hours are different depending on its location.

In the urban area of Kota Kinabalu you can expect to see the first pasar malam stall at around 5.00pm and the last canopy to shut at around 11.00pm to midnight.

So, if you’re in Kota Kinabalu city centre and are much in the mood to roam the urban landscape on foot, here are some Pasar malam that you might want to check out along the way :

  • Pasar Malam Sinsuran Kota Kinabalu
  • Pasar Malam Filipina Kota Kinabalu
  • Pasar Malam Segama
  • Pasar Malam Kampung Air

I) Pasar Malam Sinsuran

Where: next to Le Meridien Hotel, in Kota Kinabalu

Operating Hours: 5.30pm – 11.00pm

Major Attraction: Pearl and crystal jewelleries. Especially to those who have not managed to buy these said jewelleries at the Handicraft Market during the day, Pasar malam Sinsuran offers almost the same if not better deals, both in terms of variety and price

What Else?: There are also a wide selection of casual clothing, bags and footwear, both new or pre-loved

Notes to Ponder : Be extra careful with your personal belongings; handbags, wallet, camera, watch etc. There will always be risk of snatch thief or pick pocket in crowded places.

II) Pasar Malam Filipina Kota Kinabalu

Where: It has just been recently brought to my knowing that the Pasar malam next to the Handicraft Market or Filipino Market is officially named Pasar Malam Sinsuran.

For all I knew, it was the place that I called Pasar Malam Pasar Philippine, regardless the redundant used of the word ‘Pasar’. It was actually the extension of the Pasar Malam Sinsuran (of which I’ve mentioned earlier) that is located right across the street in front of it.

Operating Hours: 5.30pm-11.00pm

Major Attraction: Seafood! Fresh, barbecued seafood that is. My personal favourite is the barbecued squid and sting ray. For the more adventurous eater, you can try have a bite on the local delicacy made famous in the East Coast of Sabah which are fresh, raw seaweeds

What Else?: If you’re not into seafood, the barbecued honey chicken wings are also available on the menu

Notes to Ponder: For those who are prone to getting diarrhoea or any sort of stomach discomfort due to contaminated food, choose a well-kept stall and food stalls operator who practice good hygiene.

To further reduce the risk, go for bottled water or canned drinks instead of those prepared by the operator

III) Pasar Malam Segama

Where: on a stretch of parking lots right underneath the Segama over bridge

Operating Hours: 5.00pm-10.00pm

Major Attraction: Hawkers food, a variety of traditional Malay and Chinese delicacies. There is a Javanese stall selling ‘soto’ and ‘bakso’, which are basically noodle soup served with beef or chicken and plenty of other condiments. One of the most sought-after add-on to the soup is the chicken feet!

What Else?: Fruits. A number of stalls are selling both local and imported fruits. When it’s durian season, here is one of the best place to get and enjoy this king of fruits

Notes to Ponder: The place is dimly lit and almost in the middle of the street. Be extra careful with your belongings and also the moving traffic

IV) Pasar Malam Kampung Air

Where: Kampung Air area, you won’t missed it

Operating Hours: 5.30pm – 11.00pm (Weekdays), 4.00pm-11.00pm (Weekends)

Major Attraction: Almost the same offering as Pasar Malam Sinsuran, minus the food and seafood galore. Some even claimed that the pearl and crystal jewellery are a tad cheaper here.

What Else: Did I say minus the seafood galore? No worry, the well known Seri Selera Kampung Air Seafood Restaurant is only a short walking distance away!

Notes to Ponder: The same precaution as the prior pasar malam. Take good care of your belongings. It’s better safe than sorry

Hotels Near to Pasar Malam

hotels near pasar malamGood thing about these market, is there are plenty of hotels just next to the pasar malam. A simple search in Agoda returned these results to me.

Pasar Malam, as humble as it may sounds, promises a great deal of experience. Delicious food, cheap stuff, new acquaintance and so much more.

Shop, dine or just enjoying the rest of things to do at Kota Kinabalu, whatever your preference is Pasar malam in Kota Kinabalu wont let you disappointed. Or you can try renting a car and drive around Kota Kinabalu city!

Have fun exploring and stay safe.

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Nizam Shadan is a born and bred Sabahan. She scribbles and doodles. If you care to read more of her rants, go to:

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