Want to know how to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu? In this post, we’ll share a summary of how to get to Kota Kinabalu and go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu (KK) is a vibrant coastal city on Malaysia’s Borneo island. Although fast-growing, it also boasts a colourful history, making it a beautiful mix of progress and heritage. We recommend a sweep of the Atkinson Clock Tower, Sabah State Museum, Double Six Monument, and the waterfront City Mosque to truly appreciate the city. In the evening, explore the night market for some great finds.
But don’t stop there! The real adventure lies on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu. Here you’ll find pristine beaches, lush jungles, and Southeast Asia’s highest peak (Mount Kinabalu). If you’re planning on a hike, make sure to reserve a slot early because only 185 people are allowed to start their climb daily. The hike itself takes at least two days.
1 way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu
The flight is the only suitable way for travellers to cross the distance of 620 km (385 miles) from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. The journey takes around 6h and costs start from 304 MYR ($65.00).
Air Asia normally offers the cheapest fares from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, with ticket prices from 287 MYR ($60.00). Other carriers you can choose from are Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air. A flight takes about 2.5 hours.
From Kota Kinabalu Airport to the city centre, you can take either a bus or a taxi.
Airport buses depart every hour from 07:30 to 20:30, with tickets from 5 MYR ($1.00). It takes you up to Merdeka Square where you can easily hop on another form of transport to your hotel, if necessary.
A more convenient option is to take a taxi. Prepaid taxis are available at the airport, just pay your fixed fare at the booth and then show your coupon to the taxi driver. This way, you won’t have to worry about being overcharged. Taxi fares from the airport to the city centre start from 30 MYR ($6.00).
If you want your taxi to be ready as soon as you arrive at the airport, you can also pre-book one with Klook. Their rates start from 36 MYR ($7.50).
Travel time from the airport to KK city centre takes 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions about Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu
What is the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu?
The distance from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is 620 km (385 miles).
What is the fastest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu?
The fastest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is by flight and takes 6 hours.
What is the cheapest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu?
The cheapest way to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is by flight with ticket costs starting from 304 MYR ($65.00).
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.