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Previously – Part 9


Sabah is different. Really different. You walk around the city, listen to the people talking to each other and it sounds familiar, yet feels distant. It is a part of Malaysia but sometimes, it feels like you are actually in another country. After all, there are a lot of different tribes and ethnics here as compared to the three major races in West Malaysia. Surprisingly, they live more harmoniously than us, West Malaysians. No prejudice, no hatred, just pure love.

The Filipino Market, renamed as the Handcraft Market.

On our second night in Kota Kinabalu, after we drove up until UiTM (read about it here), we returned back to the city centre, planning to visit the Filipino Market (finally we had a plan!). We asked our local friend, Dayang whether she wanted to join us, but she said “Tak mau bah! Tak best! | Don’t want bah! Nothing much!

The best part about speaking the Malay language with a Sabahan is that apart from they have their own melody-centric accent, they don’t usually use -lah as we normally do. Instead, they use -bah. Yes bah!

But we decided to still have a visit there.

Need a quick fix to your pants? They do it by the roadside here! (Sorry for the bad quality photo)

According to our friend, the term Filipino Market came after the area was swarmed by the Filipinos who decided to start their business there thus the name Filipino Market. She also told us that the relationship between the locals and the Filipinos are not that good.

But Akmal and me didn’t mind. We just wanted to explore the place and see what this place is all about.

Soon after we reached the market area, we were shocked. There was no place to park our car. No spot at all. We actually made about 2 to 3 rounds along the road just to find a spot. We almost decided to cancel the visit, but due to our perseverance, we managed to get a spot (yeay!).

The place was full with people. People selling fruits by the roadside, children playing beside the road whilst their parents busy bargaining with the seller. The atmosphere was festive. Once in a while, I bumped into other people’s shoulder, whilst trying to go further up.

Amplang crackers, a Sabah snack. Made from fish or seafood, it is a must try and must buy if one comes to Sabah.

There are a lot of sellers selling food, souvenirs, and even roadside tailors. The scenery was different but once we immersed ourselves with the atmosphere, it felt good.

We saw the market’s name being painted on the wall but instead of Filipino Market, the painting read: Kota Kinabalu Handcraft Market. Well, a way to discourage the Filipinos there, perhaps? I don’t know.

Ring crackers. Made from brown sugar, this cracker is sweet and crispy.

Apart from the usual Asian generic souvenirs, there are pearls (I didn’t know whether they are originals or fakes) as well as food items such as the Amplang crackers and ring crackers. We did buy some crackers and after bargaining with the seller, we managed to get a free pack of Amplang cracker as well as a discount. The seller then put them in a box, so we did not have to worry about how to carry.

Pearls. Original? Fake? I have no idea.

Nearby the souvenir markets is a food court (if we can call it as one). It is a big one with open air concept. Mostly, they sell grilled seafood apart from other fried food and local delicacies like kuih pulut.

Grilled squid! Yummy!

After going round the market, I saw yummy-looking rows and rows of grilled squids. Thinking twice, and finally I bought them. The seller looks local, but they didn’t speak the Malay language. Filipino perhaps? Or Bajau? Well, that’s the uniqueness of Sabah. You never know unless you stay here long enough.

I did say I think twice, right?

Well, I need to. Because, hygiene-wise, the place is not so hygienic. But exotic-wise, it does have the exotic feeling. 😀

The Kuih Pulut (glutinous rice) dip in brown sugar.

I tried the Kuih Pulut and also the ABC. Akmal tried the ABC. He didn’t try the Kuih Pulut. Or did he take a bite?

Yeah, not sure but when it comes to food, I tried almost everything not prohibited to be eaten, especially during travelling. Hahaha. Try this, try that. Or else I will be regret. 🙂

ABC (Ice shaved?)

We ended our 2nd night with the ABC. It was a great day. Though we just wandered around, but seeing places up north until UiTM was something different. At least, we knew how the road conditions are, the locations and the view. And the Filiino Market? Busy but worth a visit. Especially for kaki shoppingborong souvenirs and keropok. Hehe.

We went back to the hostel and called it a day.


The market is located almost opposite the main minibus station next to the Centre Point Shopping Complex on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens. If you are on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, rest assured that you have reached there when you see a lot of cars parked or looking for a parking spot.


To Be Continued – Part 11


We are Khai and Amira, Malaysian travel bloggers behind Kaki Jalans. Our travels have taken us to almost all the countries in Asean and several countries in Europe. We are still actively travelling and adding to this list.


  1. Pingback: Visit Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah [Part 9] – Wandering Around | The Best Things in Life

  2. Reblogged this on Cooking Up a Storm With Miss Polly and commented:
    For all my readers from Malaysia and my Filipino friends this great story about this great Filipino Market….

    Polly Motzko

  3. Pingback: Visit Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah [Part 11] – Kinabalu Park | The Best Things in Life

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