How to get from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu (KK) is a fast-growing coastal city on the island of Borneo, Malaysia. Its city centre is a vibrant mix of progress and heritage. Although the name Kota Kinabalu is relatively new, the region itself boasts a colourful history. 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. At night, explore the night market for some great finds.
The real adventure though lies on the outskirts of the city. Pristine beaches, lush jungles, and Southeast Asia’s highest peak (Mount Kinabalu) await adrenaline junkies. If you’re planning on a hike, make sure to reserve a slot early as only 185 people are allowed to start their climb daily. The hike itself takes at least 2 days.
Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu
|Flight||4 hours||304 MYR ($67.00)||Check Flights|
The only way to travel the 1,620 km distance from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is by flight. This flight journey, including transfers, takes about 4 hours. Fares start from 304 MYR ($67.00).
Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu by Flight
Flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu depart from KL International Airport.
Step 1: Kuala Lumpur City Centre to KL International Airport
First, you’ll need to travel from KL city centre to Kuala Lumpur Int’l Airport (KLIA). You can take a train (30 minutes), a bus (1 hour), or a taxi (1 hour). Fares start from 12 MYR ($2.60).
For more details, check out our page on Kuala Lumpur Airport.
Step 2: Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu by Flight
Air Asia normally offers the cheapest fares from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, with ticket prices from 287 MYR ($63.00). Other carriers you can choose from are Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air. A flight takes about 2.5 hours.
Step 3: Kota Kinabalu Airport to City Centre
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 ($1.10). 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 ($6.50).
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 ($8.00).
Check Private Transfers with Klook
Travel time from the airport to KK city centre takes 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic.
Routes from Kota Kinabalu
Most popular routes in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands
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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.