One of the major concerns for tourists would be transportation. In some places, it would be a non-issue, especially if they have state-of-the-art public transit. But not many places are like that, which makes finding a reliable and safe mode of transportation a challenge.
To get around this problem, tourists often go on a tour package that takes care of all the logistics. But for tourists who travel on a budget and prefer more freedom, planning their own trip would be more to their speed.
In Sabah, it is not easy for one to travel to places of interest in the state. If you are not local and do not know your way around, you would have to do a fair amount of research and plan your route carefully. While there are many taxis, ride-sharing services, and car rental services available for you, getting from one place to another can still be a hurdle. So, if you are ever in Sabah and wonder how to get around the Land Below the Wind, read on!
Boat ride to your favourite islands close to Kota Kinabalu city
Sabah is famous for the beautiful islands, and with over 390 of them surrounding the state, we have the most islands in Malaysia! For those who are on a short stay in KK city and would prefer to go on a day trip to nearby islands, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) islands should be on the top of your list!
TARP is made up of five islands—Gaya, Sapi, Mamutik, Manukan and Sulug—and they are famous for the sandy white beaches, the crystal clear water, and the biodiversity of flora and fauna. And the fact that they are close to the city centre makes them very accessible to tourists looking for a day trip to the islands.
Going to TARP islands is quite straightforward. There are two places you can go and catch a boat ride, which is Jesselton Point jetty and Sutera Harbour’s Marina Harbour jetty. Hopping on a boat for a round trip to two islands of your choice should not cost you more than RM80.
And going to either of the jetties should not be difficult either. Both of them are located near the city centre, which you can easily reach by taxi or ride-sharing services. Besides that, there are also private and shuttle transportation that you get on for your little island getaway.
One thing that you want to avoid is getting your boat transfer from operators hanging around the KK Waterfront area near Wisma Merdeka Shopping Mall. They are usually illegal and unlicensed boat operators, and you might put your safety at risk if you were to travel with them. So, consider yourself warned!
Enjoy nature in Kinabalu Park
No trip to Sabah will be complete without going to Kinabalu Park! In December 2000, Kinabalu Park was declared as Malaysia’s first-ever World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its “outstanding universal value”!
The park boasted more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna and was called the Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia. So, to all nature lovers out there, you do not want to miss Kinabalu Park!
Getting to Kinabalu Park in Kundasang can be quite tricky, even for locals. Buses and taxis heading to the park are available from the Bandaran Berjaya Bus Terminal. While it is cheap, it is not exactly the most comfortable experience you can get. As for ride-sharing services, not many of them are willing to go that far from Kota Kinabalu.
Another way for you to get to the park would be by hopping on a shuttle bus or charter a private bus. The money you would have to pay for this would not be cheap, but considering that it is convenient and comfortable, the cost is totally worth it!
Making your way to and from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)
Kota Kinabalu traffic can be unpredictable sometimes, which is why going to the airport can be a hassle. That is also true for ride-sharing services in the city—bad traffic condition can make the 20 minutes drive to the airport turn into a one-hour waiting game on the road.
While there is little you can do with Kota Kinabalu’s traffic condition, you can be more prepared in terms of your transportation.
There is an airport bus service that takes passengers from the airport to the city centre and vice versa. The service, which costs RM5 for adults and RM3 for children, are available every 45 minutes and you can buy your ticket at Padang Merdeka Bus Terminal or KKIA. Unfortunately, there are only two stops where you can get on the bus, and since it operates on a schedule, you have to plan your time accordingly.
One other option is by chartering a private transport to KKIA. Again, the service will cost you a pretty penny. However, the convenience and the level of comfort justifies the price you are paying. Through this, you would have more freedom in your hand—you can ask the driver to pick you up wherever and whenever you want to, which gives you more flexibility in planning your time.