Transportation in Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is well connected by air and you are sure to find flights to other cities in Malaysia, as well as to international destinations. The Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), serves as a secondary hub for Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, as well as for MASWings, which offers flights to smaller towns and rural areas in East Malaysia.
The central areas of Kota Kinabalu are very pedestrian friendly as it is built on flat ground, and only Signal Hill is at a slightly higher altitude.
Our extensive Kota Kinabalu transportation guide below will tell you all you need to know about the available tours as well as getting in and around Kota Kinabalu. For more general transport information on travelling to and around Malaysia, consult our Malaysia transportation guide.
Kota Kinabalu Transportation Guide
Getting to Kota Kinabalu
The Kota Kinabalu International Airport has two terminals and it is an important point of entry to Sabah and East Malaysia, and this makes it the only other airport in the country busier after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. From here, you can fly to places like Bandar Seri Begawan, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Macau, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Taipei, and Kaohsiung. Terminal II caters for Airasia no-frills airline.
Getting around Kota Kinabalu, you can hire a car at the airport from the car hire counters in the arrivals hall. Rates are negotiable, so it is wise to check various counters before you settle.
The Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal at Jesselton Point near the Kota Kinabalu Port provides ferry and motorboat services for passengers travelling to the nearby islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. A regular scheduled ferry service also takes passengers to Labuan.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
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Getting Around Kota Kinabalu
Getting around Kota Kinabalu by bus or by taxi is easy. Integral to Kota Kinabalu transportation, the bus system in the city is reliable and you bus it to the boroughs. It is helpful to know that the city centre is mainly a south-north and west-east arrangement with cross-town streets. Regular ferry services are available if you'd like to visit the nearby islands.
The state's Public Works Department is in charge of constructing and maintaining all the roads in the interior that connect the various parts of the city. Most of the major internal roads are dual carriage ways. One of the important routes is the Jalan Lintas-Jalan Tuaran Bypass which serves as a ring road, circling the city and connecting its surrounding districts such as Putatan, Penampang, Luyang, Likas, Inanam, Menggatal, Sepanggar, and Tuaran. Right now, there is no freeway in Kota Kinabalu or in Sabah. The highways (which are mainly federal roads maintained by the national Public Works Department) link the city to distant towns around Sabah.
You'll find bus services regularly across the city, and minibuses and vans are available as alternative modes of Kota Kinabalu transport. The central business area in Kota Kinabalu has two main bus terminals. The terminal next to Jalan Tun Razak (in front Wawasan Plaza) takes you to different part of the interior, and the one next to Bandaran Berjaya has intercity services to the south of the city to places like Papar, Tenom, and Beaufort. If you want to visit the north/north-eastern areas of the city, head to the Kota Kinabalu Bus Terminal in Inanam. From here, you can catch an intercity bus to places like Kudat, Tuaran,Ranau, Tawau, Sandakan, and Semporna. Taxicabs are also easy to find anywhere in the city.
The Sabah State Railway operates daily passenger and cargo trains from the train station and terminus in Tanjung Aru. There is a leisure tour for tourists run by the North Borneo Railway. However, this line has temporarily halted operations until November 2008 due to repair work and an accident.
The Sabah State Railway, previously known as the North Borneo Railway, was constructed in 1896 by the British North Borneo Company. Its main purpose was to transport commodities during the British occupation from the interiors to the port in Kota Kinabalu. This railway line is the only railway system in East Malaysia, and links Kota Kinabalu to Tenom and many other towns along the way.
Besides the general transportation in Kota Kinabalu, walking around the city is also a viable option. You could walk along the harbour, with its fish market, and the ferries to the islands.
1st Floor, Lot 239, Beautiful Jade Centre, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Tel: +603 7843 3000
Malaysia Airlines (MAS)
Tel: +603 78463000 / 1-300-88-3000 (24-hours toll free)
Website: http://www.malaysia-airlines.com Air Asia
Lot No N1, Level 4 Main Terminal Building, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, 64000 Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 86604343 / Reservations (in Malaysia): 1 300
Lot 7, 1st Floor, Block A, Asia City, 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: 088 - 234607, 232320 - Fax: 088 - 232380
Website: http://www.malaysiatour2u.com Kinabalu Rent A Car Sdn. Bhd.
Lot 3.60/3.61, Karamunsing Complex, P.O. Box 12562,
Tel: +6088 232602 / 232603 - Fax: +60-88-242512