Located about 10km from Kota Kinabalu, Inanam still retains a semblance of its natural rustic charm with rolling forest-clad hills and villages tucked into its valleys. But its town centre has undergone an evolution of change with the emergence of modern buildings, business hubs and road expansions to accommodate its population growth. Its demographics have changed as well with the inclusion of new settlers and migrant workers who have assimilated themselves into the fabric of local society.
With its changing infrastructure and population expansion, Inanam has gradually shifted its focus from traditional agriculture to light industries capitalizing on its available human resource and land.
The Northern Corridor The development of Inanam as a focal point in Kota Kinabalu city's decentralization to the north has been evident in the last decade as access is being further upgraded to ease mobility of people and goods between Inanam and the city centre. New flyovers into Inanam and the ongoing construction of the Pan Borneo Highway will see major improvements in road transportation to further augment its industrial and business development. The recent launch of the RM900-million Package 6, dubbed the "Kota Kinabalu Outer Ring Roadâ€ of the Pan Borneo Highway project stretching 19.1km from Putatan to Inanam, and passing though Kota Kinabalu city, will see roads being upgraded from single carriageway to dual on new alignments and bypasses. It will also involve the construction of three new bridges, two overhead pedestrian bridges, 10 U-turn junctions and four bus stops. This section of the Pan Borneo Highway would play a crucial role in easing traffic congestion and reducing commuting time for all concerned within the greater Kota Kinabalu area and for Inanam. It will be yet another catalyst in closing the gap between Inanam and the city in terms of stimulating and accelerating growth in the area.
Still in the pipeline is the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) which will bring further improvements to those residing in Inanam. Discussions are now underway between the State and Federal governments to implement the BRT which will enhance Inanam's position as the northern transit point between Kota Kinabalu city and the surrounding industrial and residential areas.
These new transport linkages will be a boost to an already existing bus terminal in Inanam which services routes to the east coast of Sabah. The Northern Bus Terminal in Inanam is the largest bus station linking Kota Kinabalu with proper facilities such as ticket counters and washrooms. Coaches run throughout the day headed for destinations which include Telupid, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau. Spin-off businesses such as eateries and a few budget hotels have established themselves within walking distance of the bus terminal for the convenience of local and foreign tourists looking for more affordable travel options to the east coast.
Improved connectivity will also likely see a change in residential patterns in Inanam as it will seem less of a hassle to commute to the city for work or entertainment while living in a lower density area. New residential areas are being developed just minutes from the busy town centre where green hills and open spaces offer residents the privilege of being closer to nature with soothing vistas of the surrounding area.