Your Guide on How to Reach Mount Kinabalu

Setting your sights on Mount Kinabalu, the magnificent peak in the heart of Borneo is an adventure of a lifetime. To begin this thrilling journey, the first step is to plan how to reach Mount Kinabalu. This guide unfolds the various routes and transportation options available to adventurers, ensuring a smooth and exciting start to your epic mountain quest.


How to Reach Mount Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu: Your Starting Point

Kota Kinabalu, often referred to as KK, is the bustling capital of Sabah and the primary gateway to Mount Kinabalu. This vibrant coastal city not only offers a lively blend of culture, history, and culinary delights but also serves as the central hub for adventurers gearing up to conquer the mountain. Situated approximately 90 kilometers away from Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu provides easy access to the awe-inspiring landscapes that await you.

Arriving at Kota Kinabalu International Airport

For many adventurers, opting to fly is the preferred choice to reach Mount Kinabalu swiftly and with comfort. Situated just a short drive away from the city center, Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) serves as the primary gateway by air. It welcomes both domestic and international flights, making it a convenient choice for travelers from around the world. Once you touch down at the airport, you can seamlessly access various transportation options, allowing you to continue on your journey toward the grandeur of Mount Kinabalu.

Scenic Drives to Mount Kinabalu

If you are a fan of the scenic route, overland travel offers breathtaking experiences on the way to Mount Kinabalu. The roads leading to the foot of the mountain are well-maintained and provide stunning vistas of lush rainforests, charming villages, and the impressive Mount Kinabalu itself as you approach. This option allows you to savor the beauty of Borneo while gradually making your way to the starting point of your adventure.

The Drive from Kota Kinabalu to Mount Kinabalu

For travelers seeking independence and flexibility, renting a car in Kota Kinabalu is an excellent choice. The approximately two-hour drive to Mount Kinabalu offers the freedom to set your pace and explore en route. Ensure you have a valid driver’s license, adhere to local traffic rules, and enjoy the scenic drive as you draw closer to Mount Kinabalu.

Embrace the Rails: A Train Adventure

For a unique travel experience, consider the North Borneo Railway, a nostalgic steam train journey departing from Kota Kinabalu. The leisurely train ride through picturesque landscapes allows you to soak in the beauty of Sabah as you head towards Mount Kinabalu. This option adds a touch of vintage charm to your adventure, promising an unforgettable start to your mountain quest.

Connecting with Nature: The Bus Ride

Travelers seeking an economical and eco-friendly option can opt for buses to reach Mount Kinabalu. Regular bus services are available from Kota Kinabalu to Ranau, the nearest town to Mount Kinabalu. The journey offers glimpses of local life and stunning glimpses of the Bornean countryside, providing a cultural immersion before you commence your mountain expedition.

A Waterway Adventure: Taking a Boat

For a more unconventional approach, water enthusiasts can consider a combination of boat and land travel. Take a boat from Kota Kinabalu to the Poring Hot Springs or Ranau, then proceed by land to Mount Kinabalu. This maritime route offers a unique perspective of the region. It allows you to weave your journey through the lush surroundings.

Preparing for the Climb: Your Final Transport Steps

As you near Mount Kinabalu, ensure you have organized transportation to the trailhead. Whether it’s a shuttle service provided by your accommodation or a private arrangement, having a pre-planned transfer to the starting point of your climb sets the stage for a smooth transition from travel to trek.


Embarking on a Mount Kinabalu adventure is a thrilling pursuit that begins with choosing the right way to reach this awe-inspiring peak. Whether by air, land, or sea, the journey to Mount Kinabalu promises breathtaking experiences and unforgettable memories. Select the transportation option that suits your preferences, and get ready to conquer the heights of Borneo.

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