Want to explore more of Sabah 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. These are both major cities in Sabah with many transport options.
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 doing more fun things as quick as possible!
I also describe the reverse journey from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu.
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Map: Distance From Kota Kinabalu To Tawau
This map shows you how you can get from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau.
The distance between these two places is 451 kilometres, and the approximate travel time is around 7.5 hours if you are driving direct and don’t hit traffic problems.
BEST OPTION: How To Go From Kota Kinabalu To Tawau
Option 1: Flight Kota Kinabalu To Tawau
As mentioned above, the fastest and easiest way to get from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau is by plane.
The flight duration takes approximately 55 minutes and costs start from RM100 depending on the promos and season. AirAsia is the main carrier and departs multiple times a day.
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. This cost me RM31 on Grab the last time I was there. There is also a coupon taxi stand as soon as you exit arrivals.
Option 2: Kota Kinabalu To Tawau By 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 on-site, you can buy your ticket online in advance.
Popular bus lines are Sairah Express, and Tung Ma Express. These buses run a regular schedule, and usually run twice daily per operator with one in the early morning and one in the evening. The approximate travel time is just over 11 hours and tickets cost around RM68.
Option 3: Kota Kinabalu To Tawau By Car
If you want to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau by car or private vehicle, it will take you around seven and a half hours.
Taking a private vehicle is a fantastic option because it will allow you to get from one attraction to the next relatively quickly. It also means you can stop along the way. It can be expensive if you are a solo traveller though.
Tawau To Kota Kinabalu
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 451 kilometres and you have the option to either take a Tawau to Kota Kinabalu flight with AirAsia, ride the bus or travel by car to get to your destination.
If catching the Tawau to Kota Kinabalu bus, please note that most of the buses are found at Terminal Bus Sri Indah about 18 kilometres from the centre of town.
Again, buses leave in the early morning and in the evening and takes just over eleven hours.
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 – but not by much. 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 travel 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 or the best hotels 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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