So, you have heard and read of the mystical and magical Malaysian Borneo, and decided that you want to come to Sabah for the adventure.
How Do You Get Here?
Easy and convenient!
Thanks to Air Asia, the low-cost, no frills budget airline, we now have 14 direct flights daily from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu. If you are a budget traveller like me, you’d be pleased to know that Air Asia regularly offers promotional air fares ranging from its Fabulous Fly-Day (“Every Friday is a Fabulous Fly-Day!”) to Amazing Free Seats Sale.
Booking at their website AirAsia.com is a breeze, with credit card as well as debit card payment options.
The national carrier, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), also offers 10 flights as well from Kuala Lumpur into Kota Kinabalu. Thus, from wherever you are, at the very least if you can get to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, you should be able to hop on to a flight to Sabah.
MAS offers quite reasonably priced fares too for a full-service carrier if you book in advance at their website MalaysiaAirlines.com. If budget is not an issue or deciding factor, then you can travel to Sabah at any time throughout the year or perhaps build your holiday around the festive seasons in Sabah. Check out these vibrant cultural festivals in Sabah here.
You Will Love This Tool – AirAsiaPlus.com
For those who are planning a last-minute holiday, or you are lucky enough to suddenly be granted leave from work, a great site to check for airfares is AirAsiaPlus.com, where it enables you to check best fares in the next 15 days to all Air Asia destinations; this should help in making the decision when to go. The flight options and fares are conveniently displayed for your choosing – bear in mind you still need to go to the official Air Asia website to make your booking and purchase.
Getting the best fare
If, like me, you are hell bent on getting the BEST airfares – okay, I can be el cheapo when budget is limited – then wait for the Free Seats fares promotion, which is offered at least twice a year if I recall correctly. These fares are usually for travel dates in the future, as far as 12 months ahead.
The only ‘drawback’ to these very cheap tickets is that you have to make sure you’ll be available to travel when the time comes otherwise it will go to waste. With proper leave planning and alignment in the stars, God-willing, you will get on that flight.
Travel to Sabah by land
While flying in is the most common way to get to Sabah, for those who have all the time in the world you can choose to go by land (yes, the equivalent of snail-mail if you wish). There is an express bus service from Brunei (Bandar Seri Begawan) which takes about 6 hours plus depending on traffic conditions. The novelty with this road trip is that you will go through at least 8 immigration checkpoints as you go through Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah borders plus a very short ferry crossing at Pandaruan. Fun! I know there are still many people out there who like to collect immigration stamps in their passport.
Air travel or land travel?
The main advantage of choosing flight over land travel is obvious – you save a lot of time, and it is more reliable and comfortable. Land travel, while much cheaper, takes up a longer time, which is a bummer when you already have limited days for your holiday. If you are one that needs your comforts, this is probably not for you unless you’re really travelling on a shoe-string. Therefore, I would strongly recommend taking a flight; plan ahead wisely and start saving up for those tickets.
Whichever airline you choose, congratulations! You are on your way to our Land Below The Wind!
Airlines with direct flights to Sabah
Royal Brunei Airlines, Silk Air, Dragon Air, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, SEAIR and Cebu Pacific are a few more other carriers that fly to KK directly. Check them out at their websites:-
- Royal Brunei Airlines (Brunei) : http://www.bruneiair.com/
- Silk Air (Singapore) : http://www.silkair.com
- Korean Air (South Korea) : http://www.koreanair.com/
- Asiana (South Korea) : http://flyasiana.com/
- SEAIR (Philippines) : http://seairphilippines.com/
- Cebu Pacific (Philippines) : http://www.cebupacificair.com
About the author: Bitten by the travel-bug after leaving the corporate rat race, Audrey Adella harbours a dream to go on a long sabbatical and see the world. She loves Jason Mraz and admires Tony Bourdain, and would like to step foot in Istanbul and Marrakech one day soon. Updating her bucket list is her 8th favourite past time.