Travel Guide: KOTA KINABALU TO BRUNEI: By Ferry and by Bus BORDER CROSSING

Crossing overland to Brunei from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia is just one part of the Malaysian Borneo Overland Trail which stretches from Tawau to Kuching in Sarawak.

 There are 3 options to cross the border from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia to Brunei: by ferry, by bus, and by plane. Here’s a detailed guide:

brunei 1


  BY FERRY


 

Here’s a step by step guide on crossing the border from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei by ferry. Take note that you need to ride 2 ferries for this route: from Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) to Labuan (Malaysia) ferry, then switch to Labuan to Muara (Brunei) ferry.

 

  • Go to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. If your hotel is in the city center, it is walking distance. You may also take a Grab or taxi for about RM 60 (₱753 – $14 – SGD 20). I recommend doing this at least 1 day in advance to avoid long queues.

 

 

  • Purchase a packaged ticket for Kota Kinabalu to Brunei. Fare is RM 60 (₱753 – $14 – SGD 20) for adults and RM 45 (₱565 -$11- SGD15) for children (11 years below). As I mentioned above, you need to take 2 ferries to cross from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei. The 1st ferry is from Kota Kinabalu (Jesselton Point) to Labuan. Then you need to switch to another ferry at Labuan to Muara (Brunei).

 

 

3. Pay the terminal tax. There’s a terminal tax of RM 3.82 (₱48- $1- SGD1.25) for adults and RM 1.90 (₱24 – $0.45- SGD0.62) for children for the Kota Kinabalu to Labuan ferry. Then RM 5 for adults and RM 3 for kids for Labuan to Muara (Brunei) ferry.

 

Total Fare for the packaged ticket: 

Adults – RM 68.82 (₱859 – $16.40 – SGD 22.50) (RM 60 fare + RM 8.82 terminal fees)

Children – RM 49.90 (₱623- $12 – SGD 16.35) (RM 45 fare + 4.90 terminal fees)

 

  1. Ride the ferry from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan (Malaysia). Travel time is about 2 hours. You should arrive in Labuan around 11:00 AM. Take note that there are only 2 trips per day for the Kota Kinabalu to Labuan ferry. So, don’t miss the last trip!

Kota Kinabalu to Labuan Ferry Schedule:

First trip – 8:00 AM

Last trip – 1:30 PM

 

  1. Alight in Labuan. Upon arrival in Labuan, you can ride the ferry to Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara, Brunei at 10:30 AM. But if you miss that, next trip is at 1:30 PM. So, you still have time to have lunch or do some shopping at Duty Free like chocolates, chips, etc. In case you want to buy alcohol, remember you are only allowed to bring into Brunei 2 bottles of hard liquor and 12 cans of beer. And it is against the law to consume alcohol in public, but you can consume it inside your hotel room.

Note: If you decide to get out of Labuan Terminal to explore Labuan, you will be charged again for the terminal fee.

 

6. Go through the Malaysia Immigration process. Queue at the Immigration counter to have your passport stamped for exit in Malaysia.

 

7. Ride the ferry from Labuan to Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara, Brunei. At Labuan, Malaysia, you need to ride the ferry to Muara, Brunei. Show your ferry ticket. There are 3 trips per day from Labuan to Serasa Ferry Terminal. Make sure not to miss the last trip.

 

Labuan to Serasa (Muara, Brunei) Ferry Schedule:

10:30 AM

1:30 PM

4:00 PM

 

8. Go through Brunei Immigration process.  Upon arrival at Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara, Brunei, you have to line up at the Immigration counter to have your passport stamped for Brunei entry.

 

9. Exchange your money to Brunei dollars. There are money exchange centers at Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara. But I recommend exchanging a few bucks only to cover the fare from the port to Brunei city center. You can exchange the rest of your money in the city center. Always ask for receipt since some money exchange center employees have a habit of not giving the exact change. Always calculate and count your money before leaving the counter.

Tip: You can use your Singaporean dollars in Brunei, they have the same rate.

 

10.Go to Brunei city center. At the Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara, you have 3 options to get to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s city center .

 

Bus – Take a bus to Brunei city center (Bandar Seri Begawan). Fare is B$2 (₱77 – $1.46- SGD 2) and travel time is about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Taxi – Taxi to Brunei city center (Bandar Seri Begawan) is about B$25 (₱

Taxi + Bus – If you can no longer wait for the bus at Serasa port, you can take a taxi to the small bus terminal in Muara for about B$5, it is about 5 minutes away. Then at the bus terminal, take a bus to Brunei Darussalam city center (Bandar Seri Begawan) for about B$2. Total fare is about $7.

 

11. Get off at Brunei central bus station. From Bandar Seri Begawan’s central bus terminal, almost everything is walking distance from budget hotels in Brunei to top Brunei tourist spots.

 

KOTA KINABALU TO BRUNEI


BY BUS


 

Here’s a detailed guide to crossing the border from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei by bus.  Take note that this is a long journey, in fact, you’ll get 8 passport stamps for this route! That is because for the border crossing between Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and Brunei it will pass through Sabah, Sarawak, and Brunei, so aside from getting a passport stamped for crossing between Malaysia and Brunei, you also need a passport stamp for crossing between Sabah and Sarawak!

 

  1. Purchase the bus ticket for your trip to Brunei from Kota Kinabalu.

    It is cheaper to book in advance online than purchase it on the day of your trip. You can book via the official website here http://www.sipitangexpress.com.my, or through other bus booking services online. I recommend using booking sites since the official website is not yet https.

Bus fare (online) – MYR 100 ($25.61 – ₱1,256)

Bus fare (walk-in) – MYR 134 ($32 – ₱1,683)

 

  1. Go to the bus terminal.

    There’s only one bus per day from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei, and that is Sipitang Express that leaves daily every 8:00 AM and estimated arrival is 4:30 PM in Brunei. Travel time is 8.5 hours and bus fare is MYR 100 ($25.61 – ₱1,256). The Sipitang Express bus terminal located near the city park. Be there at least 30 minutes before your departure.

 

3. Ride the bus. Usually the bus conductor will collect your passport for their manifest in Immigration.

 

4. Get off the bus for Immigration process. Like I said there will be 8 passport stamps if you use this route, So you need to get off the bus for Immigration process. After that, you need to ride the bus again. You will do this a couple of times.

If you are quite confused with the process. See the sample itinerary/timeline below.

 

08:00 AM – Depart Kota Kinabalu by bus

11:00 AM – Immigration process. Sabah/Sarawak border (Sindumin, Sabah/Merapok, Sarawak). Exit stamp (1) and entry stamp (2).

12:00 PM – Lunch break at Lawas, Sarawak

12:30 PM – Depart Lawas, Sarawak

01:05 PM –  Immigration process. Sarawak/Brunei border (Mengkalap, Sarawak). Exit stamp (3).

01:10 PM – Immigration process. Sarawak/Brunei border (Labu, Brunei). Entry stamp (4).

01:50 PM – Immigration process. Brunei/Sarawak border (Ujung Jalan, Brunei). Exit stamp (5).

01:55 PM – Immigration process. Brunei/Sarawak border (Pandaruwan, Sarawak). Entry (6).

03:20 PM – Immigration process. Sarawak/Brunei border (Tendungan, Sarawak). Exit stamp (7).

03:25 PM – Immigration process. Sarawak/Brunei border (Kuala Lura, Brunei). Entry stamp (8).

04:30 PM – Arrival in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

 

  1. Collect your luggage and get off the bus in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Around 4:30 PM, you should be at the last stop – Bandar Seri Begawan, the main city center of Brunei

 

6. Walk to your hotel or take a taxi. Most hotels in Brunei city center is walking distance from Brunei central bus station. Alternatively, you can also ride a taxi to your hotel.

 


 BY PLANE


 

If you want an easier way to get to Brunei from Kota Kinabalu, you can fly via Malaysian Airlines or Brunei Airlines.  See screenshot of one-way airfare below.

 

Kota kInabalu to brunei by plane

 

 


KOTA KINABALU BUDGET HOTELS


 

KK 8 hotel

 

Mandarin Hotel

Central Business District, Malaysia

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

Borneo Backpackers

Central Business District, Malaysia

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

Skypod Hostel

Central Business District, Malaysia

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 H2 Backpackers

Central Business District, Malaysia

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 Lavander Lodge

Central Business District, Malaysia

   CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 


BRUNEI BUDGET HOTELS


 

brunei 7 hotel

 

Joy Resthouse

Kota Batu, Bandar Seri Begawan

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

Jubilee Hotel

Kiangge, Bandar Seri Begawan

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

The Brunei Hotel

Kianggeh, Bandar Seri Begawan

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

Le Gallery Suites Hotel

Bandar Seri Begawan

  CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 


 

ALSO READ:

BRUNEI TO KOTA KINABALU

BRUNEI TOURIST SPOTS

BRUNEI ITINERARY


About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.

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