Penampang is a district as well as a small town within the West Coast Division of Sabah, Malaysia. It has virtually become a suburb of Kota Kinabalu which is Sabah's capital. Its population was estimated to be around 121,934 in 2010, with ethnic Kadazan as the majority.
The name Penampang came from an old village within the district. The village's name in turn originates from a Kadazan word that means "big rock". This is because huge rocks were easily found within the vicinity of the village a long time ago.
The name Penampang in contemporary usage refers more often to the district, with the town of Donggongon
as the main town within the district. Donggongon means 'shelter' or 'rest area' in the native Kadazan, referring to its historical role as a stop-over for people from the hills who journeyed down the coast for trade. Other towns or sub-districts within Penampang are Putatan
and Lok Kawi
Penampang is often considered a stronghold of the Kadazan community, and the main centre for their political and cultural development. The Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) community hall hosts many of Kadazan's traditional festivities, chief among them the annual Kaamatan or 'harvest festival', their most important cultural event.
The Monsopiad Cultural Village is in Penampang. Monsopiad was the name of a past warrior who was known for decapitating the heads of his enemy and hanging the skulls at the entrance of his home, to warn his enemies of his powers.
Penampang is administered by Majlis Daerah Penampang (Penampang District Council).