10 ways to save your money backpacking in Kota Kinabalu.
- Travel with somebody else. You may need to use the service from local tour and travel operator maybe once in a while, and most of the time, the budget package that they have is quoted for 2 pax (or a couple). If you are a solo traveler, there will be a 30-50% surcharge for you, and that is almost a standard practice to cover the expanses. If you want to save more, travel with more.
- Stay in one of the backpackers/travelers lodge inside the city center. There are more than 10 backpackers/travelers lodges here in Kota Kinabalu city center, and staying in one of the lodges, will cut your cost of moving around. By staying in the city center, you can easily get access to almost all the important places by foot. And it will be easier to get help if you are lost.
- Board a low cost carrier. The most popular way to get to Sabah is by air. Boarding a low cost carrier is one of the way to cut your travel cost. Airasia is the sole provider for Malaysian low cost carrier (as at the moment FAX is currently not that reliable). Airasia serve most of the capital cities around South East Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Philippine and Indonesia. While boarding the flight will cut your cost, you still have to pay ’some price’ for it. Free sitting, flight delays and small seats and legroom are the common complaints by the passengers.
- Sabah Tourism Building
- Use public transport. While renting a car or 4WD may be a good idea (provided that you are familiar with the road here and have an updated map), the best way to travel in Sabah is still the public transport. However, you must carefully choose a suitable transport for you, especially if you plan to travel to Sandakan and Tawau. Some of the buses are really not comfortable, especially if you are 6′ tall!
- Eat seafood once in a while. While uncooked seafood is considered cheap in Kota Kinabalu, the seafood restaurants around town serves first class services, which might put a hole in your pocket. And careful with the spices. You might end up purging away your entire trip…
- Bring your own first aid kit. Lomotil, Imodium, Brufen and Charcoal tablets can be very useful during your difficult time. It might save you some money from spending it for a medical treatment. Oh, consider anti-malarial tablet also…
- Bargain up to 50% discount if you are shopping for souvenirs at the Filipino Market. Filipino Market is the best place to look for local handicraft souvenirs to take back home. Most of the traders will put the price tag almost double, purposely for the more ‘wealthy’ foreign tourist. And surprisingly, most of the time they tend to agree with the price tag for the item. There are 106 traders inside the Filipino market. Find the one that can give you the best price.
- Use a prepaid phone calling card. While internet connection and internet cafes are easy spot in Kota Kinabalu, it is a different story anywhere else. If you are heading to some adventurous travel where there are no mobile phone coverage, using a prepaid calling card with a public phone can save you a lot of money. For example, iTalk calling card from TM. You can get a really special rate calling overseas. Handy communication tools for emergency too.
- Use cash. While credit card is an easy way to pay for something you like, you have to bear in mind the interest generated. Debit card is not widely use here, so having enough cash is a better way to not get into trouble, especially if you are away in a place where barter trade is still practice…
FootNote : Article taken from Kinabalu Blog
Kota Kinabalu Public Transportation
The city of Kota Kinabalu is really not that big, and once you're in the main city area, everything is really within walking distance. From the one end of the town (where the harbour lies) to the other end (near Wawasan Plaza and the mini-bus station) is no more than 3 kilometers.
As such, the most popular form of transport are taxis. They do have meters, but often trips are negotiated upfront. Destinations like the resort hotels are often fixed at either RM10 to the Sutera Harbour Resort and RM15 to the STAR. Any other trip will be around RM5 or RM6. After midnight and before 6am, it's the meter plus 50%.
You can also organise a taxi to take you to places like the Mt Kinabalu National Park. The guy willing and waiting to do this usually gather around the Millimewa supermarket in the centre of town, near the Sugar Bun Plaza. They usually ask a flat fee and unless you want to pay the whole cab, will wait for the car to fill up with four people.
If you want to go to the outlying areas like Tawau, Inanam, Penampang, Luyang, Beverly Hills, etc. a cheaper option would be the ever popular minibus. Not the most comfortable form of transport, especially as it isn't air conditioned, but it's cheap. Depending on your distance it's around RM4 or less. The mini-bus station is at the end of the waterfront near the Wawasan Plaza and in close proximity to the bridge they're working on. Find your bus, hop on and wait to go.
Yes, Kota Kinabalu has a train, in fact, one of the oldest lines in the region. The North Borneo Railway operates a scenic run with a steam engine and original, renovated, 1800's coaches, every so often (enquire for details at your hotel), but also operates a scheduled (more or less), public service that runs between the train station in Kota Kinabalu and Beaufort. The train journey is interesting, cutting along the coast and into mangrove swamps, and along some padi fields with water buffalos. Destinations include Papar, interesting for the market and some other things, and onwards to Beaufort.
Long Distance Buses
Bigger, air conditioned coaches, located in the vicinity of the Golden Screen Cinema complex, will take you to the further places like Tawau, Lahat Datu and Sandakan. Significantly cheaper than flying, it does take a little longer, but the drive is scenic. Enquire at the little wooden kiosks about price and departure times.
FootNote : Article taken from TripodAdvisor
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-- Joan Baez ~~