Sabah is accessible by air via the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), making it the second busiest airport in the Malaysian region. 98 % of the incoming tourists prefer using the airways to reach Sabah. Sabah is the capital of Kota Kinabalu and is hence connected by a number of high-end as well as budget airlines. Other important towns with domestic flight services include Sandakan, Lahad Datu, and Tawau.
If you wish to travel with a modest tour budget, use the bus services and enjoy your trip to different cities and towns (just make sure you have sufficient time in hand). There are several major bus stations in the Kota Kinabalu City connecting the various regions of Sabah.
- North Bus Terminal (Inanam)
The main hub for long-distance plying bus services is located at Inanam which is 10 km away from KK (Kota Kinabalu) and operates at 6:30 AM- 8:30 PM. The luxurious, air-conditioned buses serve the main cities on the East Coast (Sandakan, Semporna, and Tawau) daily.
- Padang Merdeka (Merdeka Square)
Located in KK City Centre, buses from Merdeka Square serve the West Coast and interior areas of Sabah like Keningau, Tenom, Kudat, and Ranau. You will also find an express taxi stand beside the bus terminal.
- Wawasan Bus Terminal (Marina Court Apartment)
Buses coming from Papar, Kinarut, and Penampang that serve outstation locations in Sabah.
- City Bus Service
The buses begin their service from the Hotel Shangri-La and tours through the capital city and links the nearby towns like Inanam, Likas, Sepanggar, and Turan on its travel route.
- City Park Bus Terminal
This place is just opposite of the High Court building and offers transportation to Southern Sabah, Sarawak (Lawak), and Brunei. Since it plies across international borders, keep your papers with you all the time.
If time is of the essence, and you are in a medical emergency, or just need to catch your departing flight, take to the cab owners. It is the best option when you want to travel between remote tourist spots in the shortest time period possible, look for a taxi stand. These are usually found next to major hotels, shopping complexes, and bus terminals. It is abundantly available at the airport where you have to purchase a coupon and proceed to the taxi rank to reach your desired location. You can also ask your hotel to arrange for a “teksi” or ”kereta sewa”, as they are locally known.
Being a hub of interconnecting island destinations, the boat services are very well developed. The boats are operated by licensed drivers at different boat terminals. You can also rent boat services for fishing, water sports, snorkeling, or diving trips.
- Kota Kinabalu (KK)
Jesselton Point is the most well-known terminal used by tourists in KK, who wish to visit the islands of Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan, Gaya, and Sapi. The terminal is located close to Suria Sabah Mall and the Royal Customs Department and opens between 6 AM to 4 PM.