Gaya Street Sunday Fair

When my friend Su and I planned our trip to Sabah, we made sure that we would be there for the Gaya Street Sunday Market. Gaya Street is located in the business centre of Kota Kinabalu (KK) and only a stone throw away from our hotel. It is closed to traffic every Sunday morning for the fair. There are numerous stalls selling art and craft, food, fruits, meat, veggies, antiques, t-shirts, coffee, iced beverages, etc.

Street markets are common in Malaysia – in fact, it’s pretty much our way of life – there are handicraft markets catered for tourists, and the popular night markets (pasar malam) in suburbs that sell fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, food, beverages, t-shirts, toys, etc. However, Gaya Street Sunday Fair in KK is a little different – there are items sold for the locals and the tourists, therefore, it doesn’t have the feel of a tourist set-up nor does it feel like you’re “intruding” on a local scene as a tourist. In fact, when we were planning our trip, a Sabahan colleague kept reminding me to go to the Sunday Fair, ensuring that I didn’t miss out! So I presumed it would be an interesting place to experience the culture and lives of Sabahan families on a Sunday outing, and it was truly indeed.

A little creativity there…

gaya street sunday fair arts crafts

gaya street sunday fair creativity updated

Local fruits, plants, ginger, potatoes, chips, prawn/fish crackers and rolls, etc, etc

gaya street sunday fair potatoes ginger root plants

gaya street sunday fair snacks

Sabah coffee, anyone?

gaya street sunday fair sabah coffee

The street fair opens as early as 6am till 1pm. In between, if shoppers feel hungry or thirsty, they can hop over to local coffee shops (just behind the street fair stalls) for some toast and coffee, or a bowl of noodles.

The weather was fine – warm and sunny – but by 11am, it was beginning to feel very humid (fyi, humidity in Malaysia reaches up to >80%) especially under those umbrella shades which kept the sun rays away but also trapped heat unfortunately. By the time we decided to have lunch around 2pm, the temperature soared up to 37 degrees Celcius! We cooled off at this cute cafe called Party Play Lifestyle Cafe…

gaya street sunday fair party play lifestyle cafe

We also found a small market selling Sabahan handicrafts, right across the road from Gaya Street. I think this market was just an exhibition to showcase handicraft items from the various indigenous tribes in Sabah, and the exhibition was for a limited period of time only. The items on displayed were straw baskets, bead belts, necklaces, and knives with carvings.

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One can easily spend time just shopping in KK for a day. Apart from the Gaya Street Sunday Fair, there are other shops and a few shopping malls in the city centre. There’s also the Filipino Market which is opened in the late afternoon till night. But I shall leave that for the next post 🙂


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