Although it’s now one of Malaysia’s busiest airports, Kota Kinabalu International Airport was formerly a military airfield during World War II. Having undergone various phases of upgrading works, the airport presently serves the city of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, the state of Sabah, and the island of Borneo. It is located about 8km southwest from the city centre.
Terminal 1 is known as the main terminal and it serves mostly international flights. Terminal 2, on the other hand, is a no-frills terminal that caters largely to low-cost carriers. Despite its no-frills status, it has almost all the facilities that T1 has. Unfortunately, these two terminals are not connected despite being on opposite ends of the runway. However, there is a road transfer that brings you from one terminal to the other, taking approximately 20 minutes depending on traffic.
One of the easiest ways to get to central Kota Kinabalu from the airport is via shuttle bus. There is also the option of taking a minibus, but this is not advisable as that tends to be quite irregular. Another reliable way to getting downtown would by taxi. Purchase a standard ticket at the taxi counter located in the terminal and simply present it to the driver.
Kota Kinabalu is the largest city in the state of Sabah, and is recognized as a fast growing tourist destination due to its designation as a major regional commercial centre and proximity to tropical islands, lush rainforests and Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s tallest mountain. The city’s population is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan in nature, forming a melting pot of various cultures.
The city centre is quite small and one can easily get around on foot. While taking a taxi is a convenient option, the process of bargaining for fair price might be a hassle to some, so you might want to consider taking the city bus or train to get to other parts of the city.
The Green Connection is a good choice for travellers who are on the lookout for attractions near the airport. A 15-minute drive will take you from the airport to the facility, which houses an aquarium and a science discovery centre. The complex is arranged as an introduction to the ecosystem of Sabah. Visitors get to walk through limestone caves, dense jungle, muddy mangroves, reefs, and out into the open ocean where coral reefs grow. This attraction is strongly recommended to those who are interested in learning about Borneo's biodiversity.
Another place a stone’s throw away from the airport is the Tanjung Aru Beach. Over two kilometres long, it is an excellent choice for a leisurely stroll. Not surprisingly, this scenic beach is the most popular beach in the city and frequented by locals on weekends.
Flexible where you fly? Search nearby airports for bigger savings.
Airports near Kota Kinabalu
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.