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Airport Information

Information about Kota Kinabalu International Aiport (KKIA / BKI)

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is Malaysia’s second busiest international airport and consists for 2 terminals, aptly named Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

At 7km from the town centre, Kota Kinabalu’s airport (airport code: BKI) is almost close enough to town to walk.


Click the tabs to learn more about facilities and services offered at the various terminals, as last seen in March 2017.

Terminal 1 is Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s main terminal, and the only one you have to worry about if you’re arriving on a scheduled, passenger airline as all airlines use this terminal, including AirAsia. It’s divided into 3 levels.

Level 1 is for arrivals, Level 2 is mainly airline offices and within-Sabah departures, and Level 3 is for International and Sarawak / West Malaysia departures.

Public Transport

  • Taxis and the relatively new Airport Bus (RM5 to town) is the choice of transport from Terminal 1 (both can be used for transfers between terminals as well);
  • If you still use it, you can also hail an Uber for a 3rd of the price of a taxi;
  • For a normal taxi, the standard rate is RM30 per taxi (up to 4 people, more for the 7 seaters);
  • Buy a coupon from the kiosk on Level 1 (next to Arrival Hall 2 exit) before proceeding to the taxi rank outside.
  • If you’re one a shoestring budget, walk out to the main road and catch a public minibus for around RM 1.50 to town;
    • However, you have to walk the roughly 500m from the terminal to the main road;
    • Cut straight trough the parking lot and follow the path to the main road (stay off the grass, it’s soggy);
    • Without crossing the road, flag any minibus with a coloured strip at the bottom – they all go to town;
    • Lots of luggage might be a problem, but if you’re up for doing this I trust you’ll make it work;

Car Hire

  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s Terminal 1 has 4 car rental companies, all located on Level 1, renting cars as small as 660cc from around RM110 per day, up to vans, 4x4s and minibuses.

Duty Free

  • Duty free shopping is available inside the terminal before clearing customs, but can only be utilised by passengers arriving on international flights (everyone, even west Malaysians, entering Sabah has to clear Immigration, but International equals “a country other than Malaysia”).
  • Malaysia’s Duty free allowances include 1 litre of spirits or wine and 200 cigarettes per person.

Forex and ATMs

  • There are 3 sets of Forex and ATMs at KKIA’s Terminal 1;
  • On Level 1, the arrival hall, there are both a Maybank and a CIMB Bank currency exchange counters with ATMs;
  • On Level 3 there is another Maybank currency exchange with an ATM;
  • ATMs accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards.
  • As you might expect, currency exchanges at the airport gives the least competitive rates, similar to hotel lobbies.
  • Best rates are from non-bank currency exchanges is in Centre Point, Wisma Merdeka and, to a lesser extent, Suria Sabah.
  • LocalBitcoins.com has a growing Malaysian community, and it is worth looking into exchanging Bitcoins for cash;

Left Luggage Facilities

  • Located on Level 3 around the corner from the frozen seafood shop, in front of the entrance to the departure hall (currently the seafood shop provides services when the left-luggage is closed);
  • Open from 7:30am – 8:30pm;
  • RM5 per bag for 3 hours and then RM2 extra per luggage item for every 3 hours thereafter;
  • 12 – 24 hours storage are RM15 per luggage item;
  • Over sized bags, golf sets and other sports equipment are RM30 per day per item;
  • Locker storage is available at RM5 for every 2 hours;
  • Baggage wrapping at RM8 per bag;
  • Baggage Strapping at RM6 per bag;

Internet Access

  • The airport has some sort of publicly accessible WiFi, but success of connecting varies;
  • There are plenty of other options though, McDonald’s on level 3, for instance, has free WiFi;
  • The Malaysia Airlines Executive Departure lounge, after clearing customs, has protected Wifi;
  • Starbucks, in the departure lounger after clearing customs, has Wifi, and their new outlet “outside” near the taxi stand on Level 1, might also have;

Medical Facility

  • There’s a clinic on Level 1 in the hallway past Dunkin’ Donuts next to Old Town White Coffee restaurant;

Airline Representative Offices

  • Level 2 is home to representative offices of the following airlines: Royal Brunei Airlines, DragonAir, Asiana Airlines, KoreanAir, MAS Wings and a Malaysia Airlines Ticketing office. Malindo Air also has a kiosk there.
  • On the far-right of this level you will also find the security entrance for state-wide domestic flights, like those to Sandakan, Tawau, etc.

Restaurants

  • McDonalds & Asian Delights (Level 3);
  • KFC, Old Town White Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks (Level 1)

Other Shops

Located on the publicly accessible side of the departure hall on Level 3: Sabah handicrafts shop, perfume/cosmetics/chocolate, Body Shop, Diamoney (jewellery store), a bookshop, frozen seafood & bird nest shop;

Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s Terminal 2 was the Low Cost Carrier Terminal built specifically to facilitate first AirAsia and intermittently other low cost airlines such as TigerAir, JetStar and Cebu Pacific.The no frills terminal quickly outgrew its capacity and at last count handled over 3 million passengers in increasingly crowded and dilapidated conditions. Since the completion of upgrades at Terminal 1, the airport management company pushed for AirAsia to move there, where more than 6 million passengers can be accommodated.

During the demand-and-refusal process Terminal 2 was barely maintained while passenger numbers grew. Finally, following a Sabah Tourism award to AirAsia which may or may not have had anything to do with it, AirAsia finally got what they wanted, and allowed their customers to start enjoying 1st world facilities by moving to Terminal 1. Terminal 2 was relegated to a cargo-and-vip terminal.

On 1 December 2015 AirAsia started operating from Terminal 1
The rest of the information about Terminal 2 is now obsolete, but remains for reference purposes.

Public Transport

Ever present taxis and the new RM5-per-trip airport bus are options from T2 (both can be used for transfers between terminals as well). You could also still walk out the roughly 800m to the main road and catch a normal, purple-bottomed, public bus to town for roughly RM2, but honestly, for RM3 extra the airport bus is the way to go.

  • Standard taxi rate from the airport to the town centre is RM35 (up to 4 people);
  • Buy a coupon from the kiosk at the terminal’s exit before proceeding to the taxi rank outside.
  • For destinations other than the centre of town, refer to our Transport section.
  • The RM5 bus is pretty regular at 1-hour intervals; ask the Information Kiosk for… you guessed it: Information!
  • Alternatively, you can walk from the terminal out to the main road (5 – 10 mins) and flag reasonably regular buses from there for a wee bit less;

Car Hire

  • To the left of the arrivals exit there are 3 car rental desks next to each other with similar offers at similar prices;

Duty Free

  • A small duty free shop in the departure lounge offers duty free to those departing to international destinations;
  • The arrival area has an even smaller duty free shop for those arriving from destinations outside of Malaysia, but closes quite early;

Forex and ATMs

  • A Maybank currency exchange counter and ATM are located near the departure security check-point;
  • HSCBC now has an exchange desk and ATM immediately right when you exit the arrivals area;
  • The ATMs accepts Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards;
  • Maybank ATMs are usually offline from midnight until anything up to 6am and the forex counter closes early;
  • Currency exchanges at the airport gives the worst rates, same as hotel lobbies.
  • Best rates are from non-bank currency exchanges in Centre Point, Wisma Merdeka and Suria Sabah.

Left Luggage Facilities

  • Located opposite the AirAsia ticketing booth;
  • Open from 7:30am – 8:30pm;
  • RM5 per bag for 3 hours and then RM2 extra per luggage item for every 3 hours thereafter;
  • 12 – 24 hours storage are RM15 per luggage item;
  • Oversized bags, golf sets and other sports equipment are RM30 per day per item;
  • Locker storage is available at RM5 for every 2 hours;
  • Baggage wrapping at RM8 per bag;
  • Baggage Strapping at RM6 per bag;

Internet Access

  • Terminal 2 does not have blanket Wifi Internet Access;
  • There is, however, Wifi Internet access for those dining at KFC located on Level 1;
  • Also on Level 1 there’s an Internet kiosk that charges RM 5 per hour of Internet access in addition to other services such as faxing, printing and CD burning;

Restaurants

  • KFC;
  • Asian Delights;
  • Gloaria Jeans Coffee;

Other Shops

Located on the publicly accessible side of the departure hall across both levels: Malaysia Tourism information desk, convenience stores on either side, Sabah handicraft shop, general gift shop and frozen seafood shop.

The prices below can be found at taxi counter at the Airport’s Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 – last sighted on 6 January 2015, but can change without notice.

Zone 1 @ RM25
Prince Philip’s Park, Tg. Aru Beach, KK Yacht Club, Tg. Aru Town, Sembulan Town

Zone 2 @ RM30
Kota Kinabalu town, Winner Hotel, Jesselton Hotel, Sutera Harbour, Api Api Centre, Asia City, Centre Point, Karamunsing, Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, HSBC Bank, Taman Fortuna, Sabah Muzium, Colonade Condo

Zone 3 @ RM35
Likas Sport Complex, Signal Hill, Putatan Town, Likas Square, Taman Hilltop, Damai Centre, Lintas Ssquare, Foh Sang

Zone 4 @ RM40
Beverly Hill Apartments, Pekan Donggongon, Bukit Padang, Sabah Golf & Country Club, Inanam Town, Yayasan Sabah, Sabah Medical Clinic, King Fisher Park, Kolombong

Zone 5 @ RM45
Menggatal, University Malaysia

Zone 6 @ RM50
Pekan Kinarut, Kinarut Beach Resort

Zone 7 @ RM55
Telipok, Putera Jaya, Bukit Setia

Zone 8 @ RM60
Sepanggar Bay, ILP, Telipok Jaya

Prices sighted at the airport on 6 January 2015

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