Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital. Hovering its skylines are well-positioned business districts and towering buildings. In its bustling streets, you can find delicious street food, trendy bars, one of the best budget shopping scenes, religious monuments, and a lot more. It also offers an interesting mix of culture, art, sightseeing, and of course, history.
Equally stunning, Kota Kinabalu, also known as KK by locals, is Sabah’s capital state of the Malaysian portion of Borneo. It’s a relatively big city, offering visitors lots of exciting adventures, rich history and culture, and good food. This laid back coastal city is also known for its bustling weekend markets, and vibrant art and music scene.
If you’re heading to Kota Kinabalu from KL then you’re in the right place. Below, I describe exactly how to get from KL to Kota Kinabalu. I also describe the reverse journey from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur and share some information about passing through immigration on this journey.
Table of Contents
Map: Flight From Kuala Lumpur To Kota Kinabalu
This map will show you the distance between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
The distance between these two places is 1625 kilometres. The flight time from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes.
How To Get From KL To Kota Kinabalu
Your only option when travelling between these two places is to take a flight from KL to Kota Kinabalu.
Despite being in the same country, they are located quite far apart and separated by sea. There are no ferry options which leaves flying your only choice.
Flight From KL To Kota Kinabalu
Flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu are via Malindo Airways, Malaysia Airlines, or AirAsia.
The cost of a KL to Kota Kinabalu ticket is RM 190 – RM 950, depending on the current sales and season. The KL to Kota Kinabalu flight time is 2 hours and 35 minutes.
The main city centre is only 6.9 kilometres from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and a quick 6-minute taxi ride, so you don’t have to worry about long transfer times. The fare costs RM 17 – RM 21.
Kota Kinabalu To KL
In terms of how to get from Kota Kinabalu To KL, all you need to do is take the above transportation options in reverse.
To get to your destination, since there are no available ferries, flying via plane is your only option.
Airlines carriers such as Malindo Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and AirAsia offer flights from Kota Kinabalu to KL. Tickets will cost anywhere between RM 292 – RM 984, and a direct flight will take 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Once you arrive in Kuala Lumpur Airport, note that KLIA Transit, the train to Kuala Lumpur’s main city centre, is approximately 1.3 km from the airport.
You can do a quick (15-minute walk) or take a taxi to get there. The KLIA Transit leaves on an hourly basis, and the travel time is 35 minutes (56.5 kilometres.) Fare costs around RM 40 – RM 70.
If you prefer to take the taxi instead of the train, travel time from the airport to the main city centre is approximately 41 minutes (56.7 kilometres.) The fare will cost RM 85 – RM 110, one-way.
Passing Through Immigration On A Flight Kuala Lumpur To Kota Kinabalu
Despite being in the same country, Sabah, the state where Kota Kinabalu is located, has its own immigration controls. This means you will actually pass through immigration when travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
When you enter and depart Sabah, your passport will be stamped. Note if you are travelling on a foreign passport that this does not extend your time in Malaysia and you still must leave the country within the timeframe you were given on entry.
Malaysians from outside of Sabah must also use a passport to enter or their IC card and are only allowed to enter for 90 days.
In this post, we’ve covered the transportation option that you can take if you’re travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (and vice versa!)
Although both places are in the same country, they’re a bit far apart and separated by sea. Since there are no ferries that take this route, your only option is to take the plane.
I hope you found this guide to how to travel from KL to Kota Kinabalu. We also have travel guides for reaching Kota Kinabalu from other places such as Kuching, Sandakan and Brunei. You can find our Kota Kinabalu itinerary here and our complete travel guide to Kota Kinabalu here.
Sharon is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! She explores Malaysia multiple times a year, often with her kids, and has previously lived in Penang.