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Kota Kinubalu to Sandakan (Sabah State, Malaysian Borneo)

MalaysiaKota kinubalu
January 2010

posted by

Jenea's picture
Type of transport: 
All costs: 
Under 10 EUR per person one way
There are two ways to get from Kotu Kinubalu to Sandakan (primarily for Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre and Malaysian islands in the Sulu Sea). There are frequent Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines flights from Kota Kinubalu (40-50 minutes to Sandakan) but the cheapest and by far the most adventurous option is to take a local bus. We decided to return to Kota Kinubalu overland partially to get a chance to see more of the country but more importantly we left the return flight booking for way too late and were unable to get ourselves on the flight during the busy tourist season in January 2010. The bus journey takes around 7 hours (there are several refreshment stops along the way) and costs under EUR 10 per person one-way. The buses leave from Sandakan Bus Terminal very frequently (about every hour before noon) and there is no need as such to make ticket reservation beforehand. The route is served by several bus companies with all buses featuring air conditioning on board, albeit some of them are quite dated. We passed Mount Kinubalu along the way as well as huge palm oil plantations. Some roads are single lane with a short unpaved stretch on approach to Kota Kinubalu .Generally, the journey is very picturesque. Most other fellow passengers are locals as majority of overseas visitors opt for the flights. We would say the trip is quite comfortable with no standing passengers throughout the journey