If you’re in Kota Kinabalu on a Sunday, you should not miss the Gaya Sunday Street Market. Formerly known as Bond Street, Gaya Street is situated in the Central Business District of Kota Kinabalu. For almost a century, it has been the center of trade and business among local vendors. It is transformed into a festive avenue for Sabahans making its 220 meter street all covered by colorful makeshift tents and stalls.
The Gaya Street Sunday Market usually opens at 6:30 am and lasts until after lunchtime at 2pm. From the wide selection of antiques, arts and crafts, batik sarongs, local delicacies, ethnic items, plants and herbs, souvenirs, to meretricious Chinese imitation products – all are sold in this busy street of Gaya!
Truly a tourist trap, this flea market attracts a lot of customers from all walks of life. If you’re gifted with good haggling skills, you can definitely bring home not only the cheapest Malaysian souvenir items like shirts, keychains, and accessories but also local delicacies and even, imported perfumes, exotic plants, and pets.
I was able to buy “I love Kota Kinabalu” shirts, key chains, and even had personalized bookmarks palmed by a popular local who calls himself Huang Poh Lo, The Man Below the Wind.
For shopping enthusiasts like me, having a chance to shop at Gaya Street Sunday Market is indeed worth it. I could literally spend a day here. Just one thing though, shopping in street markets is not for everyone. It’s definitely not for small children. Like my kid who got a little bored and grumpy because it was a bit crowded and hot. Perhaps it was also my fault as I was taking too long searching for the best bargain.
Nevertheless, it was another experience filed under things she must try at least once. I would suggest to go and shop early or as soon as the market opens to avoid the swarming customers and the scorching hot weather. Other than that, Gaya Street adventure is still worth experiencing.
TIP: You can see most city sights in Kota Kinabalu in 3 hours. How? Find out HERE!
Not fond of DIY tours? You can join one of these tours, and don’t forget to compare hotels, vacation rentals, rooms, or even homes for your trip before you go. And never leave home without Travel Insurance!