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Penampang district has recently become a suburb of Kota Kinabalu, not only because it is just a 15-minute drive away from it, but also because it is a fast growing area that expertly mixes old and new with its kampong-style homes and modern buildings. It starts at the coast of the South China Sea and stretches further into Borneo, where there are beautiful paddy fields, before it reaches the Crocker Range mountains.Don’t Miss
Cultural sights are the main feature in Penampang, and these include the Monsopiad Cultural Village, the Pogunon Community Museum and the Sabah Art Gallery. The Kadazandusun Cultural Association Sabah is one of the most visited attractions in the area; it is also the main centre for political and cultural development of the Kadazandusun community. The Roman Catholic Saint Michael’s Church is the oldest church in Penampang, though it only dates back to the 1940s. It is a stone church that was built on a hill in the town of in Donggongon.
Those who enjoy wildlife and outdoors will find both the Kipandi Butterfly Park and the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park quite interesting. The Kipandi Butterfly Park is a scenic park that sits 700 metres above sea level in the hills of the Crocker Range. It is home to over 100 butterfly species, 500 orchid species, 28 species of carnivorous plants, 40 species of hoyas and 5 species of lipstick flowers. The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is a zoological and botanical park that is extremely family-oriented, being home to Borneo pygmy elephants, Malayan tiger and the proboscis monkey.Restaurants and Bars
There is a good selection of local restaurants in Penampang, most of which are along the coast and in the district’s main town of Donggongon. Trying the traditional Kadazan cuisine is a must while staying in this area. It consists of food that is mostly boiled or grilled. Most of the hotels in the area also boast their own restaurant to cater to tourists visiting the district. There are also plenty of pubs and karaoke bars around.Shopping
Sabah’s longest shopping mall can be found in Donggongon, which, in addition to shops and restaurants, also boasts one of the area’s only cinemas. For traditional handicrafts like bangles, gongs and headbands, visitors should head to the market that is held each Thursday and Friday in Donggongon.