Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah in East Malaysia, a cultural melting pot and major tourist gateway to explore the northern region of Borneo Island or more popularly, 'Land Below the Wind'. Abbreviated locally as 'KK', the city is the seventh largest in Malaysia, hosting a population over 450 million people that compose a diverse variety of ethnic groups including native tribes of coastal and highland origin. Surrounded by lovely beaches, tropical islands and picturesque landscapes, KK and its outlying regions are natural tourist magnets - home to an abundant range of hotels providing luxury and budget accommodation for family and business, with some exclusive world-class resorts.
Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia (Kota means 'Fort'). Formerly Jesselton, the city was originally established by North Borneo Company in 1800. Jesselton was an important trade post and port in their southern campaign, but sometimes faced uprisings from the local population. During World War II, it was captured by Japanese forces who held control until their surrender in 1945. Administration of Jesselton was turned over to the British Crown, who financed its reconstruction as the new capital of North Borneo (replacing Sandakan). In 1963, Sabah together with Sarawak and Singapore (later to exit) joined the Federation of Malaysia.