Just like any other first timers, I have to researched a lot in order to get from Kota Kinabalu to Brunei on a budget or discount travel rates. I was looking for the best way to travel which in my language means cheap, tolerable comfort (cheap doesn’t really match with comfort), quickest possible time because I’m flashpacking in Malaysia and Brunei and not slow travelling. I found out that ferry somewhat fits in to that category.
Kota Kinabalu to Brunei
Head to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal at 7am to get the ticket for 8:00am trip; Arrival time in Labuan is 12:15PM. The ticket costs 63.60RM (PHP 954), just unfortunately increased last January 2012 from 58RM. Ticket includes the fare from Kota Kinabalu(KK)-Labuan, then Labuan-Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei’s Capital City) but you still have to pay terminal fee of 5RM(PHP75) in Labuan.
TIP: Bring snacks on board and sweet candies. Snacks for your gut and candies for motion sickness.
Ferry departs to Labuan at 1:30PM so you have time to get something to eat. There are few restaurants around that serves 3-5RM for a meal. Arrival time in Brunei is 3:15PM.
From Terminal to the City (Bandar Seri Begawan)
There is express shuttle buses there waiting, B$2 is the minimum fare. You can also take a taxi which is a little bit expensive.
Brunei to Kota Kinabalu
Going back is somehow the same. You have to be at the bus terminal at 6:30am to figure out what options you have. We were lucky to have a Filipino bus driver named Allan going to the city and gave me several options for my return that helped a lot.
Bus Option 1
You can take the express bus again which travels straight to the ferry terminal for B$2 (PHP70), however it arrives at 7:30am at the terminal (which is impossible to catch the first trip of 8:00am), although I found out that there’s another ferry company that leaves 9:15am which you can take if you missed the 8:00am trip.
Take buses 37, 38, or 39 at 6:30am for B$1 (PHP35) and ask the driver to drop you off at the terminal where you can transfer to bus number 33. You won’t have to pay again, just keep your ticket and get it stamped at the terminal.
(Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal)
Ferry from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu
It’s almost the same price as going there, only, you need to buy tickets separately. Brunei to Labuan is B$17 (PHP595) and 34RM(PHP510) from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu.
(Bandar Seri Begawan Ferry Terminal)