Kota Kinabalu is the main transport hub of Sabah with all major roads of the state radiating out from the metropolis. The main route towards the Sarawak border of Sindumin goes directly south from the city through the neighbourhoods of Kepayan and Tanjung Aru and then Papar, Kimanis, Beaufort and finally Sipitang.
The road from Sindumin continues on to Lawas and then to Brunei, and it is possible to make this journey in a day. Another main route from KK goes north by Kota Belud to Kudat, with the main road towards Sandakan and Lahad Datu and the east coast branching off at Tamparuli.
The city centre of KK is quite small and can be crossed on foot in less than half-an-hour, although negotiating the choking traffic can be a problem. Taxis are relatively inexpensive and cost from around RM10, but try to ensure your driver uses his meter or at least negotiate a fare in advance.
Buses ply major highways across the city are cost around RM1 per journey; however, working out the routes can be difficult. Cars can be rented from the airport arrivals hall while motorbikes can be found for hire all over the city. Daily rates cost from RM20 but ensure you have adequate travel insurance.
Air travel from Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu International Airport is the principle gateway to the East Malaysian state of Sabah within Borneo. Both Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines operate numerous daily flights between KL and Kota Kinabalu with many flights also stopping over in Sarawak or Labuan airports. There are also daily connections with Singapore and nearby Johor Bahru over the causeway – from which airfares are much cheaper.
There are several daily flights linking KK with Kuchingand Miri, plus at least one flight daily direct to Sibu. Malaysia Airlines subsidiary MASWings fly two or three times per week from KK to Gunung Mulu National Park, Lawas, Limbang and Miri. The company’s rural air service also reaches Lahad Datu (four daily), Tawau(twice daily) and Sandakan (twice daily) plus Kudat and Sandakan (Monday, Thursday and Saturday).
Both terminals 1 and 2 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport has ATM machines, but they are sometimes out of order so it is wise to travel with some ringgits if arriving during inhospitable hours. KK airport is seven kilometres from the city and an hourly shuttle bus takes passengers to the Wawasan Center just south of downtown. Prepaid taxis are also available outside the arrivals hall and cost RM30 to the city centre.
Buses in Kota Kinabalu
The city has two long distance bus terminals. The South Terminal by the Wisma Wawasan Center serves destinations south of the city such as Beaufort, Lawas and Sipitang. There are also minivans which run from here to the neighbouring towns of Papar, Beaufort and Tuaran, and also serve the western towns of Tambunan, Keningau and Tenom. Kota Kinabalu North Bus Terminal lies 10kms northeast of downtown in Inanam. This ferries passengers to destinations including Mount Kinabalu, Semporna, Sandakan and Tawau.
Boat/ferry transportation from Kota Kinabalu
Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal is a 20-minute walk from downtown and is where all the major sea travel services are based. There are frequent daily ferries to Labuan which takes around three hours. From here there are onward connections to Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei for those who start early. Package tickets costs RM56. Boats also leave Jesselton Point for nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and the island of Manukan and Gaya amongst others. Tickets cost from RM17-40 depending on the destination.