Malaysia’s second busiest airport Kota Kinabalu International welcomes millions of passengers every year. The airport is the main gateway to the state of Sabah, as well as the island of Borneo. Passengers can stay and explore the breezy oceanside city of Kota Kinabalu, or venture further afield to exotic destinations like Kuching, Mulu and Sipadan Island. Of course, most passengers arriving at Kota Kinabalu International are also hoping to glimpse Borneo’s iconic orangutans during their trip.
Facilities at the two terminals are first class, with a variety of shopping and dining venues located on-site. For architecture enthusiasts, the Departure Hall column head design is worth noting. It’s inspired by the ”Wakid” basket design, which symbolises preparation for a meaningful journey in Sabahan tradition.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport is located 8 kilometres south-west of the city centre and is a short 25-minute drive from the CBD. A shuttle bus also ferries passengers from the airport to the city in under 40 minutes. Traffic can get chaotic, so it’s always a good idea to allow plenty of time to get to the terminal.
While today Kota Kinabalu International Airport is a hub for both business and leisure travel, it was originally built as a military airfield by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It operated under the title of Jesselton Airfield, as was once a major bomb target for the Allied Forces.