Whether you have a layover, overnight sleepover or you are just quickly passing through, our Kota Kinabalu Airport Guide is a great place to start planning your visit. Here, you’ll find information on services and facilities available inside the airport – including details about airport lounges, WiFi, mobile charging points, lockers, 24-hour food options, nearby hotels, and everything in between.
As a foreign passenger sleeping over in the airport I found that I was treated with curiosity rather than being questioned. – Sean26
To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, here is a quick run-down about what to expect during your time at Kota Kinabalu Airport.
What to Expect
Kota Kinabalu Airport has two separate terminals and a few minutes’ drive connects them. The larger, recently built Terminal 1 handles most traffic. Terminal 2 is older, serving charter flights and low-cost carriers.
Your experience varies on your terminal, but you’ll find a few eateries and shops, plus free WiFi. Bathrooms can be dirty, so bring tissues and hand sanitizer just in case. For added comfort while you wait, there are a few lounges that even have showers. See Airport Lounges in the airport guide below for location and access information.
Where to Sleep
Overnight campers generally have no issue here, particularly in Terminal 1. Look for benches and armrest-free seats on the ground floor and by the KFC upstairs. Travellers report that the upper floor is warmer and quieter and the ground floor is cooler but busier. Bring along earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones and an eye mask to combat noise and bright lights. For uninterrupted sleep, a hotel in Terminal 1 rents 40 sleep capsules by the hour. Otherwise, nearby hotels offer free shuttle service. See our Airport Hotels section below for more info.
In this guide we may refer to locations as “landside” and “airside”. Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, all services and times listed below are subject to change.
Pay-per-use, Single Visit Passes & Lounge Memberships
If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Kota Kinabalu airport either by paying at the door, purchasing a lounge pass or through a lounge membership program (ie. Priority Pass). Visit the individual lounge page for more details about the lounge itself and to also find out how you can gain lounge access with just an economy class ticket!
Passes Plaza Premium Lounge (International) – Location: Terminal 1, International Departures, Airside. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door • Prepaid lounge passes • Lounge membership programs.
Passes Plaza Premium Lounge (Domestic) – Location: Terminal 1, Domestic Departures, Airside. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door • Prepaid lounge passes • Lounge membership programs.
If you are a First or Business Class traveller you may have access to the lounges listed below. For more information, check the airline’s website.
Domestic Terminal – Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge (Domestic)
International Terminal – Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge (International)
If sleeping in Kota Kinabalu Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:
- Napzone KKIA by Sovotel – Located outside of Terminal 1. The hotel has 40 sleep capsules, massage chairs and lockers. Paid airport shuttle is available. According to one Tripadvisor reviewer, this is not the best option if you are a light sleeper.
- Megah D’aru Hotel – (3 min from International Terminal 2) Free airport transfers are available upon request, a minimum of 24 hours notice is required.
- The Crown Borneo Hotel – (5 min to the Air Asia Terminal and 10 min to International Terminal 1) Free roundtrip airport shuttle upon request. Note – if you arrive between 11:00PM and 5:00AM a surcharge of RM30 each way is applied.
- C’haya Airport Hotel – (5 min to International Terminal 2) Free airport shuttle bus is available. Reservations are required. Note – between the hours of 12:00AM and 6:00AM a surcharge of RM15.00 applies each way.
To see more options there is a list of hotels near Kota Kinabalu Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.
Free WiFi is available at Kota Kinabalu Airport.
More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport
ATMs / Cash Machines – Need cash? ATMs are available. Fees may apply, so be sure to check your bank’s fee schedule and your daily withdrawal limit if you are travelling internationally. You may also want to notify your bank of your travel plans. Locations: Levels 1 and 3, near the currency exchange kiosks.
Baby Care Facilities – Facilities are available. At the time of this update, locations are unknown.
Currency Exchange – Maybank and CIMB have currency exchange kiosks on Level 1 (Arrivals Hall). Maybank has an additional kiosk on Level 3.
Duty Free & Shopping – Duty-free shopping is available to passengers arriving in on an international flight. A limited variety of shops are available landside in the Departures hall.
Food & Drinks – Food concessions throughout the airport operate with varying schedules. McDonald’s is open 24 hours.
Luggage Storage & Lockers – There is a left luggage facility at the airport. Rates are RM5 per bag for the initial 3 hours, then RM2 per bag per hour after, or RM15 for a storage time of 12 – 24 hours. Oversized items are RM30 per day. Lockers are also available for RM5 per 2-hour period. Luggage strapping and wrapping services are available for RM6 – 8. Location: Landside, Level 3, opposite the entrance to the Departures Hall and around the corner from the seafood shop. The seafood shop offers luggage storage when the left luggage facility is closed. Hours: 7:30AM – 8:00PM.
Luggage Wrapping – Service is available. Rates and location: unknown.
Medical Services – Level 1 in the hallway under the escalator that leads up to McDonalds.
Prayer Rooms – Prayer rooms for Muslims are available. Location: unknown.
Rest Zones – There are no dedicated sleeping areas, quiet areas or rest zones. If this information has changed, click here to update this guide.
Showers – Showers are available in the Plaza Premium Lounges. [ see Airport Lounges above ]
Travel Agencies – If you are arriving in Kota Kinabalu and need local arrangements or help planning a really last minute trip abroad, there are travel agencies with offices at the airport that can probably be of assistance.
The airport is open 24 hours.
As of May 2019, Kota Kinabalu airport is served by the following airlines: Air Busan • Air Seoul • AirAsia • Cebu Pacific • China Eastern • China Southern • Eastar Jet • Jeju Air • Jin Air • Lucky Air • Malaysia Airlines • Malindo Air • Philippines AirAsia • Royal Brunei Airlines • Scoot • Silkair • Spring Airlines • Thai AirAsia • Xiamen Air.
Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport
Comfortable, air-conditioned airport coaches offer hourly service between the airport and downtown, stopping at Center Point, Horizon Hotel, and Padang Merdeka. Tickets are sold at the Airport Bus booths, located just after Arrivals.
Car rentals companies have offices onsite. At the time of this update, no further details are known.
Travel like the locals do! If your load is light, you can travel at a fraction of the price of a taxi by taking Minibus 17, which pass along the main road near the airport. Minibuses stop next to the footbridge.
Prepaid taxis are readily available for hire in the ground transportation area of the airport. Stop at the taxi window in the Arrivals hall to pay for your ride. You will receive a ticket to give to your taxi driver before boarding the taxi.
Last updated: 2020-03-13
This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning. All information, including rates and hours, are subject to change at any time without notice. The information in this airport guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports, lounges, hotels, transportation providers and their web sites. We are not representatives of any of the above mentioned service providers. To report errors or to add/update any items mentioned in the guide: update the airport guide or write a review.