Fun dates don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket!
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
Valentine’s Day is just days away, and restaurants are already promoting special menus for couples who want to have a candlelit dinner for two. But what if you are a bit low on cash? How can you make Valentine’s Day special for your loved one if you simply can’t afford a romantic dinner?
Well, you don’t have to! If your partner or date truly appreciates you, getting creative with date ideas will mean so much more to them on this special day. Here’s how you can celebrate a great Valentine’s Day without breaking your bank.
1. Plan a picnic at Tanjung Aru Beach
A romantic picnic is a good way to plan a date without spending too much. If you’re planning a picnic with your significant other, we totally recommend Tanjung Aru Beach. Sabah is world-famous for its splendid sunsets; if you don’t believe us, ask the busloads of tourists who stop by Tanjung Aru just to view the sunset.
The best time to go would be at around 4.30pm so you can get a good spot (yes, you have to be a bit kiasu). Pack some home-made sandwiches, potato crisps, cake and drink packets. Don’t forget a blanket to sit on, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and rubbish bags to clean up after you’re done.
If you can’t cook to save your life, you could either tapau or buy food at the beach itself. There are stalls selling grilled seafood, lekor, steamed corn, pisang goreng, peanuts, shaved ice (like the ABC Kinabalu) and fresh juices.
Tip: Make sure you get a good spot with a clear view of the sunset; it makes all the difference!
2. Enjoy an activity-filled day at Centre Point
Every local would know this mall. Centre Point is one of the oldest shopping malls in Kota Kinabalu and is the go-to place for a variety of things to do at an affordable price. If your date is easy-going and enjoys time with you more than anything, this is a definite option.
From bowling to movies and karaoke, Centre Point has it all. There are also many affordable food options available, so a full day out is very possible. Oh, there’s also an arcade area so if your date has a competitive streak, he or she will love this place.
Tip: End the day with a small gift and home-made card for your Valentine.
3. Become tourists in your hometown
Sabah is blessed with the beauty of nature and a rich history; Kota Kinabalu is no different! Tourists from China, Japan and Korea are definitely appreciating the local life so why not do it too?
If you haven’t explored the city, celebrate Valentine’s Day on a weekend and go on a city adventure. From Gaya Street’s Sunday Market to Signal Hill Observatory and Sabah State Museum, there’s enough to do for a day.
If you have a little extra to spend, hit the islands! Go to Jesselton Point and get a boat ride to popular islands such as Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi and Pulau Manukan. Or, just catch a gorgeous sunset at some of the best spots around the city.
Tip: Treat your date to a special experience or activity he/she has always wanted to do in KK
4. Head to the hills for a hiking adventure
If you and your partner are fitness junkies, we have one word for you: hiking. Hiking has been a very popular trend of late and locals definitely enjoy the hills around the city. Ensure you pack enough water and some snacks, and plan in advance! Some spots have a great sunrise while others are known for their sunsets.
It’s also best to go hiking during popular times for your own safety. If you’re looking for great hiking trails in Kota Kinabalu, here are our top 5 places with selfie-worthy views at the top!
Tip: Surprise your date with a small gift when you’ve reached the top; it’s the thought that counts.
5. If you live to eat, have a feast with a food adventure
Kota Kinabalu has a wide variety of affordable food options available. If you and your partner grew up here and love to eat, we’re sure you have your favourite spots you haven’t visited in a while! Take a drive out to a seafood restaurant or make a list of food places to hit throughout the day.
You may not get the spotless tablecloth or scented candles on the table, but we can promise you a full stomach and a fuller heart when the date is over!
If you’d like suggestions from us, check out our food reviews at Beanie Eats!
Tip: Choose a special dessert your date really enjoys, and end the day with that.
Do you have any other affordable date ideas that you want to share? Tell us in the comments below.
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Featured Image Credit: Clem Onojeghuo