Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan are two main destinations for travellers visiting Sabah, Borneo. Kota Kinabalu as a vibrant city and gateway to beautiful marine parks and rainforests. And Sandakan as an eco-tourism hub for a whole of host of unique wildlife experiences. Therefore moving from one place to the other is a journey most visitors to Sabah have to make. But what is the best way to get from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan and vice versa? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan by bus

Travelling from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan by bus is the most cost-effective way to get from A to B. Buses depart throughout the day between 7 am – 8 pm from the Inanam North Bus Terminal in Kota Kinabalu to the long-distance bus terminal 4km north of Sandakan. 3 companies drive the route; Tung Ma Express, Sida Express, and Sairah Express. They all charge MR 43 per person per way and the route takes roughly around 5 – 6 hours. The companies don’t offer much difference in terms of comfort either, so its best to just pick the one whose departure time is the most convenient. On a side note, don’t choose the bus if you’re expecting to see the landscapes of Sabah, the journey is 90% palm oil plantations!

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Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan flights

The fastest way to get between these two destinations is by flying. The flight time is on average around 40 minutes with 56 flights departing each week between the two destinations. The two main airlines who fly the route are AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines who both offer very competitive rates. In low season you can even pick up a flight for as little as RM 105, so flying can sometimes be only a little more expensive than catching the bus. Both airports lie fairly close to their respective city centres as well so you won’t have a long transfer time from and to your final destination either.

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Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan by train

There is no railway network in the whole of Sabah. Therefore, you can’t currently can’t get between Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu by train.

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Hopefully, this guide has told you everything you need to know about how to get from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. If you want to find out more about schedules and prices I would recommend visiting Malaysiasite.nl for buses and Skyscanner for flights.

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