Tourists and visitors looking for a quick taste of Sabah can now stroll along Gaya Street to check out the various handicraft and local bites at the weekly Api Api Night Food Market.
The inaugural weekend night market at the city's famous Gaya Street will take place every Friday and Saturday, starting from 6pm to 2am.
Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said one way to boost tourism and inject soul to the city is by attracting many people to Gaya Street, which was already popular for its Sunday morning fairs.
"A holiday in Kota Kinabalu will not be complete without visiting the Night Food Market or Gaya Street Fair, where there is plenty to see and learn about local culture and food.
"Gaya Street is also tourist-friendly. For example, there are signages in Chinese to help China tourists find their way around the city," she explained.
Liew, who is also the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said Gaya Street was selected as the location due to its historical features, with some of its shops built over 100 years ago.
Other efforts to keep the city vibrant and buzzing with activity included setting aside the section of Gaya Street, known as Lintasan Deasoka, for food trucks.
"Lintasan Deasoka itself will become a spot for entertainers to display their talent. It can also be a place to hold events such as fashion shows and dance performances.
"This will add value and lend an air of festivity to the night market," she said on Saturday (Dec 1).
Liew said for tourists to choose Sabah as their annual holiday destination, the authorities must ensure that public toilets and food premises are always clean, in addition to properly maintaining public facilities.
"The key is cleanliness because no tourist would want to return if basic considerations such as cleanliness are absent. Keep Kota Kinabalu clean. Keep Sabah clean.
"Cleanliness is not only essential to ensure a healthy life for everybody, but it is also important if we want tourists to keep coming back," she elaborated.
According to Liew, another aspect that must not be neglected is security.
"Only barely two weeks ago, the KK Watch was launched to help boost security in the city.
"This patrol team was formed to make Kota Kinabalu a safe city and so people can feel secure when walking the streets at night," she said.