Labuan Island is a duty-free paradise off the coast of Malaysian Borneo. There are great beaches here, interesting museums and a superb WWII history too. And yet despite being relatively close, you’d think it would be a lot easier to get to. However. It’s not. There used to be a ferry from Jessleton Point in downtown Kota Kinabalu, but that’s been on hold for a little while now (this is 2023). And so while you can technically get a ferry to Labuan from Borneo, you’ll need to take a bus to get the ferry. So here are the different ways to go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan, how long they take, how much they cost, and what your choices are. Here’s our guide on how to get to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu.
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When we traveled to Labuan Island from Kota Kinabalu the first time there was an easy ferry from Jessleton Point. And while we ended up staying an extra day in KK because we messed up, didn’t buy tickets ahead of time, and couldn’t get on the ferry, we did end up getting there in the end. It’s a lesson to when you can buy tickets ahead of time, DO IT.
Anyways. Now here are your options for going to Labuan Island from Kota Kinabalu. And yes, when the ferry from Jessleton Point in Kota Kinabalu to Labuan is running again, I’ll come back and update this, although it doesn’t seem as though it’s going to be any time soon. However, Labuan is lovely and there’s lots to do on the island, so you should definitely come!
How to Go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan – Transport Options
In this guide on how to go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan, the most convenient way to go to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu, and the most popular way to get to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu.
You can take a flight, or you can take a bus + a ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan.
How to get to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu
Until the ferry from Jesselton Point restarts, it really is best to fly to Labuan Island from Kota Kinabalu, but as we’re usually a bus and ferry type travel couple we’re including the details of how to take the bus and ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan.
Flying from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan Island
Kota Kinabalu Airport (KBI) is pretty close to the downtown area of KK, just 9 kilometers (5.6 miles), and there are airport shuttles available that you can take to the airport (so it’s not an expensive taxi ride away!). Add to that the flight time between Kota Kinabalu and Labuan Island is about 40 minutes and this is a pretty quick way to get to the island.
On Labuan Island – which is also pretty compact, the airport (LBU)is just 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) from Labuan city center.
There are usually 4 flights a day from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan Island. The first flight to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu is at 07:00 and the last flight of the day is at 17:50.
Bus and Ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
To take the bus and ferry to Labuan from KK, you’ll need to take a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Menumbok Bus Terminal and then the ferry to Labuan. The combined trip should take about 4 hours in total.
Bus from Kota Kinabalu to Menumbok
There are three or four buses a day that run this route, depending on the time of year. You’ll catch this bus from KK Sentral and the buses are run by Menumbok Express and Sipitang Express. You can book the tickets for these buses here. This bus takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Ferry from Menumbok to Labuan
There are 10 boats a day going from Menumbok to Labuan. The first boat from Menumcok to Labuan goes at 06:45 and the last ferry to Labuan from Menumbok leaves Menumbok at 17:40. There are just 33 seats on the boat on these ferries, so you’ll want to check the timetables and book your tickets early.
The ferry from Menumbok to Labuan takes 50 minutes. The Menumbok bus terminal is just a hundred meters or so from the ferry terminal and its an easy walk.
Map of Airports & Ferry Ports Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
You can also see the airports and ferry ports for the route from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan here
The quickest way to get from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
The quickest way to get to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu is (potentially) to fly. The consideration you need to take with this is the waiting around time at the airport and transfers to and from the airport. You can check flight times and prices for flights from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan here.
The cheapest way to go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
The cheapest way to get to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu is to take the bus and ferry combination – you can reserve your seats here on the bus. You’ll want to reserve your seats on the ferry to Labuan too.
The best way to go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
We took the ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan (and then went onwards from Labuan Island to Brunei), but don’t make the same mistake we did, thinking that you can just rock up and get on a ferry. Or that there are more than there actually are. If you prefer to fly, Check the times and prices of flights to Labuan from Kota Kinabalu here. And book your tickets ASAP!
While Labuan isn’t really a day trip destination from Kota Kinabalua, there are lots of other places that are. Here’s my guide to the best Kota Kinabalu Day Trips.
Popular Routes in Malaysia
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- How to go from Labuan to Brunei
- How to go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan Island
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Malaysia Travel Tips
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Final Words on How to Go from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan
This used to be a seriously easy journey of wandering up to the ferry port at Jessleton Point in Kota Kinabalu and hopping on the ferry to Labuan. Nowadays (until they restart that ferry) you’ll have to either fly from KK airport to Labuan or take a bus to Menumbok and then take a ferry to Labuan Island. And while it’s a hassle, it’s definitely worth it, Labuan is lovely! Be sure to head out a different way – our guide to going from Labuan to Brunei is here.
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