Cheap Flights to Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu photo

Kota Kinabalu overview

When to Fly

Kota Kinabalu experiences constant high temperatures, a considerable amount of rainfall and high humidity. Temperatures average at around 28 degrees Celsius all year round, with the hottest months being April and May and the coolest being January, although the difference is only very small.

The climate is characterised by two predominant monsoons. The Northeast Monsoon occurs from November to March and the Southwest Monsoon occurs from May to September. These are linked by two inter-monsoons from April to May and September to October. This therefore means that rain showers are an almost daily occurrence in the city, with the most rain falling in May to December and especially in October. This is a good time to look for cheap flights to Kota Kinabalu. There is, however, a noticeably drier period from January to April. This is a popular time to travel to Kota Kinabalu. However, because rainfall and the temperature are reasonably constant, flights to the city don't fluctuate too much in price over the course of the year. 

Kota Kinabalu doesn’t let the rain dampen the city’s spirits, even during the height of the rainfall, with a number of events and festivals taking place throughout the year. June hosts two popular events, the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival and the FCAS Dragon Boat Race. The Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival brings together international artists and local talents for two days of concerts. On a cheap flight to Kota Kinabalu during the festival, you will listen to soulful jazz renditions and smooth contemporary songs, all for a good cause. The money raised goes towards helping a variety of community projects around Sabah. The FCAS Dragon Boat Race is an action packed event, promoting traditional Chinese culture and celebrating the Duan Wu Festival. Watch the boats race in time with the beat of the drum, taste a variety of local food, enjoy the colourful dragon dance performances and much more.

Why visit

The capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu enjoys a prime location on the shore of the South China Sea and is an inspired choice for exciting holiday and breaks. KK, as it's also known, is surrounded by tropical rainforest and enjoys some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the world.  The city is on the beautiful island of Borneo, and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a major attraction, while the Koto Kinabalu National Park is also within easy reach.  Fish to your heart's content in one of the world's top fishing spots, or explore the history and culture of the region.  With spectacular beaches, Mount Kinabalu, historic sites and national parks within easy reach, you can easily find a reason to take a cheap flight to Kota Kinabalu.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is about 20 to 30 minutes from the city by boat, and divers from all over the world come to explore popular dive sites like the Gaya wreck. The islands and beaches throughout the national park are breathtaking, and offer a wide range of snorkelling and diving opportunities.

Learn more about the history of the city by visiting some of the local museums such as the Sabah State Museum, or take in local art at the Sabah Art Gallery or Borneo Art Gallery. Local sights such as the Atkinson Clock Tower which was built in 1902 when the city was still part of the British Commonwealth, or take a walk up to the Signal Hill Observatory for superb views. 

Be sure to see the fabulous city mosque and the Sabah state mosque, as well as the amazing Che Sui Khor Pagoda.  Each is an impressive structure and a stark contrast to the modern buildings in the downtown area.

No visit to the city would be complete without trying some of the many local foods and there are dozens of food stalls or kedai kopi (coffee shops) offering everything from Malay and Chinese to Javanese food.

Getting around Kota Kinabalu

There are minibus and van services which locals use to get around the town, and these are a budget-friendly option for travellers. Taxis are plentiful, but unlike the airport service, you will need to haggle to agree the fare you want to pay. The city is small and getting around on foot is relatively simple if you're aware of traffic.

Getting Downtown from the airport

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) is the second busiest airport in Malaysia, and the main point of entry into Sabah for wildlife lovers who come for the famous orangutan and for divers who come for world class dive sites and great beaches.  The airport is 7 km from the city centre and most international flights arrive at the Terminal 1.  There is an hourly shuttle bus service from the airport to Wawasan Centre, and there is also a minibus shuttle.  There are also taxis available from outside each terminal. You can buy a taxi coupon to cover the fixed rate fare which you simply hand to your driver.

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Prices found by our users for local departures to Kota Kinabalu

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How much do things cost in Kota Kinabalu?

Clothing & Shoes
Pair of jeans
$ 102.87
Pair of Nike shoes
$ 100.83
Cheap meal
$ 2.60
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre)
$ 0.82
Imported beer (0.33 litre)
$ 4.46
3 course meal for 2
$ 16.23
1 hour taxi waiting fee
$ 6.49
Petrol (1 litre)
$ 0.69
1 km taxi journey
$ 0.97
Taxi - fixed fee
$ 2.27
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
$ 3.73
Large bottle of water
$ 0.85
Bottle of wine
$ 15.90
Bottle of local beer (0.5 litre)
$ 3.35
How much does an apartment cost in Kota Kinabalu?
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre
$ 241
3 bedroom apartment in city centre
$ 748
1 bedroom apartment in city centre
$ 380
3 bedroom apartment outside of centre
$ 553

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