Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Kota Kinabalu.
The Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) lies about 7 kilometres west from downtown. It's the second busiest in all of Malaysia with an extensive network of domestic flights and international routes to major destinations across Asia.
There are two terminals and, in what seems like a case of epic airport fail, they are not connected -- you have to take a taxi between them (30 ringgit). Make sure you know which terminal you're departing from -- the general rule is that budget airlines operate from Terminal 2, all others from Terminal 1.
The following airlines fly to and from Kota Kinabalu:
AirAsia: to Clark (Manila), Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Miri, Penang, Sandakan, Tawau
Silk Air: Singapore
Royal Brunei Airlines: Bandar Seri Begawan
Malaysia Airlines: Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Perth, Taipei. Kuching, Labuan, Sandakan
MASWings: Bintulu, Kudat, Labuan, Lahad Datu, Lawas, Limbang, Miri, Mulu, Sandaka, Sibu, Tawau
A taxi from the airport to the city is by a coupon system at a fixed price of 30 ringgit. From the city to the airport they'll ask for the same, but you can haggle them down a few ringgit. It's inconvenient, but there are minivans to the airport (1.50 ringgit one-way) which depart from Terminal Wawasan a couple kilometres from downtown. Minivans run when full from roughly 07:00 till 18:00.
Kota Kinabalu has two long bus stations, both inconveniently located well outside the city centre. Thankfully any hotel or guesthouse should be able to book you a ticket and confirm the departure time to save you the extra trip.
The North Bus Terminal (Inanam) has buses to destinations north and east of Kota Kinabalu, including:
Kinabalu Park: Any bus bound for Sandakan or Semporna/Tawau will pass the park entrance, but you're better off taking the minivans which depart from within Kota Kinabalu near Merdeka Square (20 ringgit, 2 hours, depart when full)
Sandakan: 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 12:30, 14:00, 18:00, 20:00; 5-6 hours; 30 ringgit
Semporna/Tawau: 07:30, 19:00; 9.5 hours to Semporna, 10.5 hours to Tawau, 55-75 ringgit
The South Bus Terminal (near Wisma Wawasan) has buses to destinations south of Kota Kinabalu, the suburbs of the city and the airport:
Beaufort: 07:30, 08:00, 08:30, 09:00, 10:00,12:00, 13:00, 14:30, 16:30, 2 hours, 12 ringgit
Daily ferries ply the water from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan, a duty-free island on the way to Brunei. Boats depart from the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal at 8:00 and 13:30, arriving in Labuan 3.5 hours later.
The fare is 41 ringgit in first class or 31 ringgit in economy class plus a terminal fee of 3.60 ringgit. You can buy a combination ticket at the jetty that'll take you all the way to Brunei for 60 ringgit.
Kota Kinabalu is quite spread out, but most of the attractions of interest to visitors are within walking distance from the city centre. Taxis ply the streets, but since they don't use meters it's a hassle to take one. Agree on a price before getting in â€“ 10-15 ringgit is fair for anywhere within the city.
If you want your own wheels, Go Go Sabah rents cars and motorcycles. Prices start from 45 ringgit for a motorbike or 130 ringgit for a Proton car for the day - you will need a proper license. If you want to hire a bicycle, the best place to enquire is your hotel or guesthouse.
Go Go Sabah: T: 60 88 317 385, http://www.gogosabah.com/