Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu – Review & Shopping Guide

We all need to get rid of the mere idea that night-time entertainment consists of a lot more than just clubbing, partying, dancing and drinking. This article is for all the day-time sleepers, workaholics and insomniacs who are looking for some source of fun in the darkest hours of the night. We are talking about “Pasar Malam,” which in English stands for night market. Standing true to its name, the Pasar Malams only come to existence as the sun sets down and the darkness starts to take its place. The darker the day grows, the livelier this Pasar Malam will get. Every country and its cities have their own distinctive market places that draw in the tourists and locals. As we talk about the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu too is blessed with its own sea-facing market, which is located in the heart of the city by the name of Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu.

Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu

The Filipino market has a huge area space and the locals more commonly recognize it as Pasar Besar (Central Market), Pasar Filipino (fruits/fish/handicraft/vegetable market) and Pasar Ikan (Fish Market). The Filipino Market is one of the most famous destinations of Kota Kinabalu and it is widely known for being the best place to get souvenirs. The Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu is occupied with hundreds of tiny stores. You will almost feel like you are playing a game of treasure hunt as you find your way through the clustered walkways that are filled with hordes of people. The Filipino Night Market is so beautiful, cultural and colorful that your heart will fall out on every little object that you lay eyes on! This detailed guide on Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu is for the benefit of both locals and foreigners.

Things you can find in Filipino Market

There is a whole list of things you can find and buy from Filipino Market. Check out everything from the Fruit Market to the Handicraft Market, the Salted Fish Market to the Vegetable Market. Filipino Market even has its very own cooked food stalls that prepare a wide range of delicious eateries, and the aroma is to die for. Everything that you come across in the Central Market is available here in the most reasonable and negotiable prices.

Related Article: Best Shopping Malls in Kota Kinabalu

Salted Fish Markets and Wet Fish Markets

Start off with the Salted Fish Markets which specialize in items straight from the sea. The products here are usually seen being dried and then packed for customers. A few products include dried salted fish, seafood processed crackers, dried shrimp, dried sea cucumber, dried seaweed, mixed local snacks and more. You can buy fresh seafood like raw fish, crab, prawn and squid, as well as poultry and beef from the various stalls here.

Handicrafts Markets

These stalls are highly popular for their hand crafted souvenirs and Sabah pearls. Leather bags, vibrant batiks, rattan handbags, colourful beads and bracelets, and the beautiful wooden handicrafts are a few highlights of this section. Each of them is so beautiful that you can’t help but admire and wish to take everything back home. Apart from that you will notice fresh/sea water pearls in all colors, shapes and sizes and many of them are customized into rings, earrings, pendants and necklaces.

Cooked Food Stalls

The other side of Filipino Market Kota Kinabalu comprises of cooked food stalls and this section of the market can be well identified because of the barbeque smoke in the air. Each stall here lets you experience a completely different taste and aroma. Have a taste of everything from grilled crabs, prawns, and fish, barbequed squid and sting rays, fried prawn tempuras, seaweed, local delicacies like terang bulan and murtabaks, Malaysian Kuih Muih, and coconut juice.

Fruit and Vegetable Markets

People also like to take a stroll along this section of the market and explore the magnificent colours or buy fruits like watermelons, bananas, mangoes, etc at cheap prices. A wide variety of vegetables can also be found in the vegetable markets section which is not very far away.

Location of Filipino Market

Filipino Market is the best place for having the most exciting shopping experience in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The market is situated in Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens on the opposite of Center Point Shopping Complex. Its location in the middle of the city draws in people from all corners and makes it accessible for new tourists and visitors coming from different parts of the world. Just like the name suggests, this Pasar Malam is governed by Filipino immigrants.


Since Filipino Market is a night market, the best time to visit it is after sunset when the market comes to life. The operating hours are daily from 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm so it can be visited any day of the week.

Related Article: Kota Kinabalu Nightlife

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