Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the Sabah state of Malaysia found on the island of Borneo. It’s famous for its pristine beaches, lush rainforests, a serene waterfront boardwalk and bustling weekend markets. It also serves as the gateway to Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Equally as interesting, Brunei features stunning architecture, delectable cuisine, pristine rainforests and vibrant culture.
If you’re planning on traveling from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei then you’re in luck as this guide will show you how to get between the two destinations.
Below, I describe exactly how to get from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei whether you are looking for a Brunei to Kota Kinabalu flight, want to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei by bus, take a Kota Kinabalu to Brunei ferry or want to drive in your own car.
I also describe the reverse journey from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu.
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Map: Travel From Kota Kinabalu To Brunei
This map shows you the distance between Kota Kinabalu to Brunei.
Kota Kinabalu to Brunei distance is 258 kilometres with a travel time of around 6 hours to drive.
BEST OPTION: How To Get From Kota Kinabalu To Brunei 
There are various ways you can travel to and from these destinations. Travelling by plane is definitely the fastest option while the bus is the cheapest option.
Here’s a summary of your options:
|Mode of transport||Duration||Best For?||Book|
|Flight||3.25 hours||People who want the quickest option||Book here|
|Bus||8.25 hours||People who want the cheapest option||Book here|
|Car||6 hours||People who are happy to hire a car||Book here|
|Ferry||24 hours+ (overnight in Labuan required)||This involves two ferries but currently the first segment from Kota Kinbalu to Labuan is not running||Book here|
Option 1: Kota Kinabalu To Brunei Flight
Flying is the fastest way to get from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei.
You can take a direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei via Royal Brunei Airlines. Travel time is 40 minutes and prices vary depending on the date and season. This flight only runs a few times a week, currently on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Prices start at RM370.
Both airports are close to the city centres with Kota Kinabalu International Airport being eight kilometres away.
Brunei International Airport is approximately 8 kilometres away from the city centre as well.
Taxis are the best and easiest ways to get to and from the airports. The cheapest way is to use the Grab app in Kota Kinabalu and the Dart app in Brunei. They both operate like Uber.
Option 2: Kota Kinabalu To Brunei Bus
Another convenient option is to take the Kota Kinabalu Brunei bus.
There’s only one bus that takes this route with the Sipitang Express bus company. In terms of the Kota Kinabalu to Brunei bus schedule, the bus leaves at 7:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I suggest that you purchase your ticket online so you don’t miss out on your preferred day.
Travel time is 7.25 hours, and the fare costs around RM150.
If you plan to take the bus from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei, note that you are required to get off the bus several times for the immigration process.
This is the cheapest option.
Option 3: Ferry Kota Kinabalu To Brunei
At the time of publishing this article in May 2023, the ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan is temporarily paused. It has not been announced when it will restart. Check the Facebook page here or the ticket pages here to see if it has started again when you travel. The information below is for your reference if it does start again.
The ferry service in this part of the world has been heavily impacted by the pandemic, so don’t believe information online that says these ferries run regularly as they don’t currently. The information below about the Labuan to Brunei ferry is correct at the time of publishing.
If you want to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei by ferry, you need to take two different boats. First, you need to catch the ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan then one from Labuan to Muara in Brunei.
If your accommodation is near the city centre in Kota Kinabalu, you can walk to Jesselton Point where the ferry to Labuan departs. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or Grab.
You can purchase your tickets at the terminal. I suggest you book online in advance to avoid the hassle. The fare was around RM43 for adults and RM29 for children. Malaysians pay less.
The ferry to Labuan departs at 8am and takes around 2.5 hours when it is running.
For the Kota Kinabalu ferry to Brunei, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled travel time because passengers usually board earlier.
Once you get to Labuan, catch a ferry that will take you to Muara, Brunei.
Currently, there are only ferries on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The ferry departs from Labuan around 9:30am for Brunei. The journey takes around two hours and costs RM60.
Before the pandemic, you could buy these tickets online here. You can click on that link to see if they are back. Otherwise, you will need to buy tickets at the terminal. You can find more information at their Facebook page here.
Even when the Kota Kinabalu to Labuan ferry is running, this method will require an overnight stop in Labuan.
Option 4: Kota Kinabalu To Brunei By Car
The last alternative is to travel Kota Kinabalu to Brunei by land via car. The total distance is about 338 kilometres. It will take approximately 6 hours.
Keep in mind that you’ll be encountering a lot of border crossings, and this can slow you down.
Click here to read more about driving in Malaysia. Finding a car rental company that will let you drive over the border is tricky.
Brunei to Kota Kinabalu
In terms of how to get from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu, all you need to do is to take the above transportation options in reverse.
You can either fly via plane, travel by bus, ferry or car to get to your destination.
If you’re travelling by plane, book any Brunei Kota Kinabalu flights via Royal Brunei. Approximate travel time is 40 minutes. Find them here.
Meanwhile, If you’re travelling from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu by land, purchase a bus ticket and take the Sipitang Express at Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Brunei to Kota Kinabalu bus leaves only once a day around 8am on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Travelling Brunei to Kota Kinabalu by bus takes around seven hours. Make sure you book in advance to get your preferred day.
Another alternative is to travel Brunei to Kota Kinabalu by ferry. Note that for the Brunei to Kota Kinabalu ferry, you need to take two boats. The ferries travel from Brunei to Labuan and then Labuan to Kota Kinabalu.
Unfortunately, the ferry from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu is not running at the time of publishing so this is not an option. You can see if that has changed yet here.
You can still take the first part of the Brunei – Kota Kinabalu ferry journey. For this, you need to catch a ferry bound for Labuan at the Serasa Ferry Terminal just outside of the town of Muara. To get there, you can either take a bus or taxi.
From the terminal, take a ferry bound for Labuan. This takes around two hours and leaves at 12:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It costs BND$20.
Once you arrive in Labuan Ferry Terminal, if the ferries have returned to Kota Kinabalu, purchase your onward tickets. This is the final stretch of your journey with a travel time of approximately 3-3.5 hours.
The last and final option is to travel from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu by car. The Brunei to Kota Kinabalu drive takes approximately six hours.
We’ve covered the various ways you can travel from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei (and vice versa.) As we’ve discussed, travelling to these destinations is easy, but not cheap.
The fastest option is to take the plane. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, you can travel by bus. Meanwhile, travelling via ferry helps balance out the speed and the travel costs – if it’s running.
I hope you found this guide to how to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei useful. We also have travel guides for reaching Kota Kinabalu from other places such as Labuan and Sandakan. You can find our Kota Kinabalu itinerary here and our complete travel guide to Kota Kinabalu here.
Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!