Want to visit a tropical paradise and wondering how to go from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau? We can help!

While it’s not far from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau, this journey can seem complicated – at least until you take it step-by-step. It’s actually quite straightforward with many people taking this trip every day.

Below, I break up exactly how to get to Tawau from Kota Kinabalu so you know exactly what you need to do and when.  Whether you are looking for a Kota Kinabalu to Tawau flight, wanting to take a Kota Kinabalu to Tawau bus, planning to reach Kota Kinabalu to Tawau by road, or simply need more information on the Kota Kinabalu to Tawau distance – it is all covered in this guide. This way, you will be in paradise as quick as possible!

I also describe the reverse journey from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu.

Map: Distance From Kota Kinabalu To Tawau

This map will show you how you can get from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau.

The distance between these two places is 278.5 kilometres, and the approximate travel time is 1 hour and 25 minutes, depending on what transportation option you wish to take. 

BEST OPTION: How To Go From Kota Kinabalu To Tawau

In terms of how you can get from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau, the fastest and easiest way is by plane.

Option 1: Flight Kota Kinabalu To Tawau

Airasia aircraft

As mentioned above, the fastest and easiest way to get from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau is by plane. 

The flight duration takes approximately 1 hour and costs anywhere between RM 140 – RM 300 depending on the promos and season. Check with airlines like AirAsia and MASwings for flights. 

Once you arrive at Tawau International Airport, note that it’s still 30 kilometres from the main city centre. So you’ll need to take a 30-minute taxi ride to get there (RM 45 – RM 55.)

Click here to check schedules and to purchase tickets.

Option 2: Kota Kinabalu To Tawau By Bus

Kota Kinabalu Bus

Another alternative if you’re travelling from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau is to take the bus.

There are several bus lines and bus operators in Kota Kinabalu that offer direct trips to Tawau. To avoid the long queues and the hassle of purchasing your ticket onsite, you can buy your ticket online in advance. 

Popular bus lines are Salam Bumimas Express, and Tung Ma Express. These buses run a regular schedule, and usually run twice daily per operator, with an approximate travel time of 11 hours (RM 70.)

Click here to check schedules and to purchase tickets.

Option 3: Kota Kinabalu To Tawau By Car

Kota kinabalu roundabout

Now if you want to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau by car or private vehicle, it will take you 6 hours and 45 minutes. The approximate cost for the fuel is RM 85 – RM 130. 

Taking a private vehicle is a fantastic option because it will allow you to get from one attraction to the next is relatively quick.   Although a potential drawback is that it can be expensive, especially if you’re solo-travelling, or travelling on a budget. 

Click here to read more about driving in Malaysia.

Tawau To Kota Kinabalu

Sunset At Tawau Port

In terms of how to get from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu, all you need to do is to take the above transportation options in reverse. 

The Tawau to Kota Kinabalu distance is 278.5 kilometres and you have the option to either take a Tawau to Kota Kinabalu flight with one of the popular airline carriers such as AirAsia Tawau to Kota Kinabalu, ride the bus, or travel by car to get to your destination.

Click here to check schedules and to purchase tickets.

If catching the Tawau to Kota Kinabalu bus, please note that most of the buses are found at the back of the terminal near Jalan Chan Fook in Tawau. It’s near Yassin Curry House.

Click here to see the latest timetables and prices.

The previously discussed transportation all works the same way in reverse. 

Final Words

So, there you have it! The fastest and easiest way to go from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau (or vice versa)is to take the plane.  Although a cheaper alternative is to take the bus.   However, if you prefer the convenience and want to make stops along the way, take a private vehicle. 

Whatever mode of transport you choose, whether it’s via bus, taxi, car, or train, I hope that this guide will make your upcoming travels a lot easier and more convenient. 

I hope you found this guide to how to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau useful. Read our list of all the best things to do in Tawau here. You can find our complete travel guide to Tawau here or our complete travel guide to Kota Kinabalu here.

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