Travel Guide : Brunei to Kota Kinabalu By Ferry and By Bus (UPDATED)

* Updated April 10, 2013 – Brunei Malaysia Border Crossing

I’ve been getting queries about crossing the border from this tiny yet wealthy country in Borneo.  Brunei is not usually included in the usual backpacker’s trail (just like my dear country the Philippines) but  it is undoubtedly as charming as the rest of  it’s neighboring countries in SouthEast Asia.

Brunei mosque photo
Brunei mosque photo

Border to Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) from Brunei and border crossing Brunei to Malaysia is quite easy. Even going through the Brunei  & Labuan (Malaysia) Immigration is easy because they’re used to Filipino workers crossing from Kota Kinabalu Malaysia to Brunei and from Brunei to Malaysia. Just be ready to endure the long line. I suggest you get out of the ferry as soon as possible  and  hurry to get to the line first.  But no worries, the ferry won’t leave until everyone is done.

I’ve been asked a few times if the Brunei Malaysia border crossing by ferry is safe and convenient.  Yes, it is safe and although it’s not that spacious and big, there are enough sits to accommodate the passengers and there are hardworking ferry employees  roaming inside to assist the passengers with their luggage.  The ferry is air-conditioned and there’s  a small TV inside for entertainment and  cheap snacks being sold.

  • Brunei to Malaysia Border Crossing By Bus Ferry Boat:


Bandar Seri Begawan bus station photo
Bandar , Brunei bus station photo

How to get to Muara Ferry Terminal from Bandar Seri Begawan?

To get to Muara Ferry Terminal in Brunei, ride a Muara express bus  (bus with pink and silver stripes; bus fare B$2) from Bandar Seri Begawan bus station.  Bus to Muara leaves every 30 minutes and runs from 6:30 am to 7:00pm.  The bus dispatcher is a Filipino named kuya Raymond (or was it Richard?) , you can ask him for some Brunei travel tips like where to eat, where to stay, alternative bus routes, etc.  Too bad I only met him when I was on my way back to Kota Kinabalu , I would’ve saved more on my Brunei holiday trip.

Alternatively, if you have extra bucks to spare, you can also take a taxi from Bandar to Muara ferry terminal for around B$35.

  • Brunei to Malaysia Border Crossing by ferry : Labuan ferry from Brunei 

Take note that you have to change boats.  Ferry from Muara (Brunei) leave for Labuan (Malaysia)  and from Labuan you need to take another ferry to Kota Kinabalu.

Muara Ferry Terminal photo
Muara Ferry Terminal photo

I highly suggest you leave Bandar early, take the earliest bus so you’ll be in time for the 1st trip of the ferry to Labuan.

  • Brunei Bus and Ferry Schedules 

Muara Bus Express to Ferry Terminal: 6:30 am, 11:30 pm and 2:15 pm

Muara (Brunei) ferry to Labuan : 8:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 4:00 pm

Labuan ferry to Kota Kinabalu : 8:30 pm, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm

Bus fare to ferry terminal is B$2.

Bus is the one with pink and silver stripes.

Bus operates until 7:00 pm however you will already miss the last trip of the ferry  to Labuan which is 4:00 pm.

If you miss the ferry from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu. You can stay overnight at Labuan, there’s a cheap dorm room called Papa Jacks for RM20 with A/C. (Be wary though that Papa Jack is kinda nice to Caucasians only and is not too friendly with his fellow Asians. I misplaced his contact info and the dorms address but as soon as I find it,I’ll update this post.)

  • Brunei Malaysi Ferry Fare:
  1. Brunei to Labuan ferry fare is B$17
  2. Labuan to Kota Kinabalu ferry fare is RM 35 for lower deck and RM39 for upper deck.  Ferry ride is 1 and 1/2 hour.  Upon arriving in Labuan, you will pass through immigration and customs.  Then buy a ticket to Kota Kinabalu. The ferry will stop at the Jesselton Ferry Terminal, walking distance to the backpacker’s hub in Kota Kinabalu.
  • Brunei to Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) border crossing by Bus

Alternatively, you can also take an Express Bus Service from Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei to Kota Kinabalu. Bus leaves at 8:00 am and is stationed near the Chinese Temple.

Bus Route: Bandar Sero Begawan to Limbang to Lawas to Kota Kinabalu

Bus station of bus from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu
Bus station of bus from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu photo
  • Schedule of  Bus from Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei to Kota Kinabalu
Bus Fare: Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) to Kota Kinabalu B$45
          Bandar Seri Begawan to Sipitang B$35
          Bandar Seri Begawan to Lawas B$25
          Bandar Seri Begawan to Limbang B$25




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24264_351910964162_336201504162_3580676_6142279_nAbout the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.

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  1. Brunei… may weekend ka rin sakin!

    1. dameng direct flights from SG to Brunei Ron! go! 🙂

  2. Very interesting article!

  3. wow gael, helpful tips na naman! nagamit ko talaga yung BKK to SR mo kaya magagamit ko rin toh once makakapunta ako ng KK! 😀

    1. yeah, will wait for your KK trip! 🙂

  4. nice tip gael! oh by the way, love love love the new header…so fresh:)

  5. nice.. very charming indeed.. gusto ko rin magawi jan 😛

    1. it is, I love their mosque and buildings! 🙂

    2. you should RD. 🙂 thnks for dropping by! 🙂

  6. Abot paa na pala sa Kota Kinabalu eto. Kulang lng sa araw. Brunei may VL ka ren sa akin.

    1. yes! I told you so! 🙂 my nxt time pa naman. 🙂

  7. i should go to Brunei later .. hehe

    1. you should! 😉 thnks for dropping by!

  8. thanks for sharing Ga-el as you always do it in details. i never knew brunei can be so charming as you mentioned. i might fly there soon.

    1. sosyal! fly tlga! 🙂 hey Dom, sorry about your invite. Next time nlng. Miss ko na kau makasama ni Chyng sa byahe. Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  9. Wow! Helpful tips Gael, sana mpuntahan ko to! Hahaha!

    Love the new header! so chic! 😀

  10. Gael, I went to Brunei for the first time last year. It’s certainly an under-rated place that doesn’t get enough tourists. This information here is really useful! I wish I had of read this before I went 🙂

  11. very helpful! thanks…

  12. Gael, your blog is really a blessing! ^^ I have a flight to Brunei next week and I was hesitant to go until I read your post. It inspired me to take the trip and make the most of it like you did. ^^ Since I’ll be staying there for around 4 days, I figured I have the time to go to Kota, too.

    I just have a question about going to Brunei. Is it true that I need to have an invitation from a Brunei-based individual or a company before they allow me to enter the country? An OFW that I had a chat with at the airport last month told me so. When you traveled there, did you really have to show any document or letter from a sponsor/friend?

    Thanks, Gael! I’m counting on your kind reply. ^^ Take care!

    1. no, no questions asked. I crossed from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei and it was no sweat. super sanay na sila kase sa mga PInoy na ang-work doon. pero i spoke w/ a mom who has a spouse working there,sila hiningian kase ata mejo matagal sila mag-stay dun w. her husband. Pero generally, wala naman, show lng your return ticket, pero ako nga when i showed my return ticket binalik lang saken at d naman tinignan. Brunei is tourist friendly. Have fun! 🙂

  13. Hi im Tim, currently working dito sa brunei. If you have any questions about brunei nice place to see and visit just pm me sa FB ko harley.

  14. any cheap backpacker hostel in Brunei?? seems hard to travel there cheap.. any recommendation???

  15. Hi!

    I will deliver a paper in a conference in Universiti Malaysia Sabah this September 26-28, 2012. From and to Manila, I plan to land in and take off from Bandar seri Begawan. From Bandar seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu (and vice versa) I intedn to take the bus. Am I making a wise decision? Please comment, Ms. Gael?

    Oni Camino

    1. the bus leaves at 8am frm BSB and it takes around 7-8 hours to reach KK. I suggest taking a ferry instead.

  16. Hi!

    How long is the one way total travel time for bsb to kota?
    Did you just walk around BSB to visit all the spots? Going Nov month end. Thanks!

  17. Also, which is more convenient & shorter? via ferry or bus? Thanks!

  18. Hi! You’re travels are very inspiring. Actually, I have started discovering South East Asia myself. It’s quite easy since I’m based in Thailand. This Kinabalu-Brunei trip is quite interesting. How long is this trip of you’re taking the ferry? How about by bus? Thanks so much and I hope you keep on writing about the places you visit.

  19. Nice one! this will be very useful in our next trip to Brunei-KK. I hope you wouldn’t mind if i would ask questions regarding this route. 🙂

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