You have fallen in love with wildlife pictures from Sepilog or Danum Valley, are not bothered by the history of head hunters and can’t wait to visit Sabah in Northern Borneo – good choice, it’s one of the most amazing nature and wildlife destinations and it’s easy to reach as well! To help with your trip planning, find out how to find low cost flights to make this dream trip come true!Kota Kinabalu has grown in popularity over the years and is now the easiest to reach gateway to Borneo. A number of the regional full-service carriers, including Malaysia Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Asiana all have non-stop flights from their hubs, connecting to the rest of the world. That allows for a convenient one-stop flight from major hubs around the world. And you can find flights from the US or Europe easily for $700-$1,000 by booking in advance and using a portal like Kayak.com!
A lot of thanks to the increased options and reduced prices goes to AirAsia: They have built Kota Kinabalu’s airport into a hub and are serving not only domestic destinations within Malaysia, including their huge hub Kuala Lumpur, but also a number of international hubs, like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Manila and Bali! A roundtrip ticket on AirAsia to these cities can frequently be found for under $100, making it a bargain for travelers in the region.
Insider Tip: AirAsia’s flights to international hubs also offer a great savings opportunity. Special deals and sales usually target the major carriers hubs, like Hong Kong, Bangkok or Manila and you can frequently find low, low fares for them. Over the last three years, I’ve also seen regular Business Class fares to those cities for around or under $2,000 – but you won’t find those deals to Kota Kinabalu. Why not snatch those great deals to a major city and make it a stop-over on your trip – it will break up your long trip and provide a contrast to Borneo. By booking a cheap AirAsia flight for the short flight from any of those cities to Kota Kinabalu, you can save some money and see more of the world! If you have more time, you can even pick one city for your inbound trip and one for the return!
Mileage Tip: If you are planning to use miles for an award trip, you are best off with OneWorld or StarAlliance. You could use the idea above and do a stop-over in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur by combining Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific for OneWorld or Singapore Airlines (Singapore) and Asiana (Seoul) on StarAlliance, and add those cities to your adventure! As a SkyTeam member, you are (as so often with that alliance) out of luck. Your best bet is to combine these two tips and get an award ticket with one of the SkyTeam carriers to Jakarta, China or Seoul and connect to an AirAsia flight from there!
When to go: But before you book that cheap ticket, make sure you like the weather during your time of travel – some flights are cheap for a reason, often during low-season. Kota Kinabalu is warm throughout the year. The most rain falls April through December, with the peak rains between June and November. While it’s certainly doable, keep in mind that a lot of outdoor activities are less fun (and you’ll see less wildlife) while it’s raining!