Flights to Kota Kinabalu

Compare Cheap Flights to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

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Kota Kinabalu Guide

What is the best way to get around Kota Kinabalu?

Transport from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI)

The most convenient way to get from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) to your hotel is with Grab. This rideshare service is similar to Uber and makes an affordable way to travel around the island. A one-way trip from the airport to the city centre can cost as little as 8 to 12 MYR ($2 to $4 AUD). If you want to use Grab, buy a local sim card when your flights to Kota Kinabalu arrive. Data-only plans are available for $7 USD ($10.26 AUD) and the shops to buy from are located near the exit of the arrivals terminal.

Getting around Kota Kinabalu

Once you're settled in from your flights to Kota Kinabalu, you can explore the city on foot. It's a relatively small place, and you can see a lot if your itinerary isn't tight. For those short on time, it's best to hail a cab with Grab. Most trips around the city won't cost more than 10 RM ($3.59 AUD). If you want to hire a taxi for the entire day, you should budget around 300 RM ($107.60). You can also take a minibus taxi to get around. It’s a shared form of transportation and one of the cheapest ways to get around Kota Kinabalu. The fares depend on the distance travelled, but cost around 0.50 - 4 RM ($0.18 - 1.43 AUD).

If you’re using your flights to Kota Kinabalu as a base to explore the rest of Borneo, you can take the long-distance buses to reach other parts of the island. You’ll find buses to Kudat, Kinabalu Park, Sipitang, Brunei and Kuching departing from the Southern Bus Terminal.

When is the best time to visit Kota Kinabalu?

December to March is one of the best times to visit Kota Kinabalu. Plan your return flights to Kota Kinabalu around this period, and you'll have ideal weather for long days at the beach and for summiting Mount Kinabalu. Temperatures are cooler during these months, so it's a great time to explore the national parks near the city. However, it's the high season for tourists, and booking flights to Kota Kinabalu to the last minute. If you want to avoid the high season crowds, book your return flights to Kota Kinabalu for travel between September to November. April to May is a great period for budget travellers. It's a shoulder season, and if you don't mind the increase in rain, keep an eye out for cheap flights to Kota Kinabalu over this period. June to August are the hot, humid and wet summer months. It's not the best time to buy flights to Kota Kinabalu if you want picture-perfect weather. However, if you do decide to visit, pack rain gear.

What are Kota Kinabalu's most famous landmarks and monuments?

Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu

The Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu is the biggest mosque in the city and an impressive site to explore. Photographers with tickets to Kota Kinabalu wanting to snap a picture of the building will be asked to pay 5 RM ($1.80 AUD) and if you want to enter the mosque, you’ll need to pay another 5 RM ($1.80 AUD) if it's not prayer time.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

If you only have time for one day-trip, consider Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It is only a 20-minute boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu's main jetty, and you can spend the day island-hopping between the marine park's five islands. If you're a budget traveller with flights to Kota Kinabalu, you can organise the day trip independently. However, if you'd rather let someone else do all the planning, there are tours available to book with various operators.

Signal Hill Observatory

For a bird's-eye view of Kota Kinabalu, make your way to Signal Hill Observatory. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. If your flights to Kota Kinabalu fall over the rainy season, the observatory is an excellent place to come for sunset (if the storms have cleared) before heading out to dinner.

Kawa Kawa River

Kawa Kawa River is a day-trip from Kota Kinabalu. Book a cruise and you'll get to watch thousands of fireflies take to the sky after sunset. Before the light show, the cruise will take you around the river to spot animals like Proboscis monkeys, orangutans, macaques and other native wildlife. It's a must-do for nature lovers booking return flights to Kota Kinabalu!