街も自然も楽しめるボルネオ島のコタキナバルに行ってみた。成田発の直行便も復活して渡航も楽に – トラベル Watch

街も自然も楽しめるボルネオ島のコタキナバルに行ってみた。成田発の直行便も復活して渡航も楽に – トラベル Watch

Direct flights from Narita to Kota Kinabalu, the gateway to East Malaysia, have resumed. With enthusiasm, we visited the tourist attractions near today’s Kota Kinabalu.

Malaysia is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia. The country, located in the south of the Malay Peninsula, where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located, and the northwest of Borneo, the world’s third-largest island, is visited by many Japanese tourists.

Recently, routes suspended due to the corona crisis centered on Kuala Lumpur have resumed one after another, and travel from Japan to Malaysia has also returned to normal. In addition, from 15 December 2022, new options are being added, such as the low-cost airline Batik Air Malaysia will launch scheduled flights with Japan (Narita-Kuala Lumpur) for the first time.

This also applies to Kota Kinabalu, which is also the gateway to Sabah state on the Borneo side of the island, where Malaysia Airlines’ Narita-Kota Kinabalu route resumed on Dec 19 with two flights a week (Monday and Thursday). This time I participated in the investigation of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah by Tourism Malaysia and Sabah State Tourism Bureau, so I will report the situation in three parts.

Travel to Malaysia returns to pre-corona levels

Regarding Malaysia’s worrisome admission system, during the epidemic period, strict entry and exit restrictions were set up like other countries, such as pre-departure inspection and post-entry inspection, but after the peak, border measures were gradually relaxed. .

And from August 1, 2022, all travel restrictions will be lifted, returning to a pre-coronavirus accessible environment. However, in rare cases, when entering a store, facility, hotel, etc., you may be asked to show the government’s novel coronavirus countermeasure application “My Sejahtera”, so you can download and register on the spot. OK

Regarding masks, there is no obligation to wear them both indoors and outdoors, but they are required when taking public transport or taxis, so keep that in mind. In addition, in case of infection, you need to be quarantined for 7 days in principle, so it is recommended to purchase overseas travel insurance. For the latest information, please check the Tourism Malaysia website.


Tourism Malaysia’s website has a wealth of practical travel information, from basic immigration information to popular tourist attractions.

Sabah is a treasure trove of nature, home to Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s tallest peak.

Let me briefly introduce Sabah and Kota Kinabalu that I visited this time. Malaysia is roughly divided into the Malay Peninsula including Kuala Lumpur and the northern part of the island of Borneo including Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Kuching (Sarawak).

Sabah is located between 4 degrees and 7 degrees north latitude, so it is warm all year round and has abundant rainfall. 73,630 km, slightly smaller than Hokkaido2Rare animals such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and Bornean elephants live in this vast land, which is also famous for its richness in the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia.

There is also Mount Kinabalu (4095m), the highest peak in Southeast Asia. Many climbers from all over the world come here because it is easier to climb. By the way, Kota Kinabalu, which means “City of Mount Kinabalu”, is the largest city in East Malaysia.


Kota Kinabalu city and airport seen from airplane window

If you are going to Borneo, the re-opened Narita-Kota Kinabalu line is handy!

Of course, this time I went to Sabah, I used the Narita-Kota Kinabalu route that Malaysia Airlines had just resumed. . Return flight MH80 departs Kota Kinabalu at 00:50 and arrives at Narita Airport at 07:20. The aircraft is a Boeing 737-800 (16 business class seats, 144 economy class seats).

There are many flights from Japan to Malaysia, but most are to the Malay Peninsula, which is currently the only route to Borneo. It is very common to go to Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur, but it takes about 7 hours and 50 minutes from Narita, plus 2 hours and 30 minutes to the east, it will take half a day if you count the transit time. Flights with poor connections can take nearly a day.

In this regard, a direct flight from Narita to Kota Kinabalu will arrive in approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes. If your goal is the island of Borneo, you don’t have to worry about transit, and the time difference is huge.

This time, I boarded the first flight MH81 after the resumption, heading for Kota Kinabalu. I got up before dawn on the day of the trip, and arrived in Narita at 7:00 in the morning, so I didn’t get enough sleep. Thanks to the fact that I went to bed without watching a movie I had prepared on my smartphone, I got there in no time. Upon arrival at the airport, the first flight of Fuxing was greeted with water cannons, and a welcome ceremony was held in front of the boarding gate. I feel like this is the regular flight the locals have been waiting for.

To my little surprise, Kota Kinabalu International Airport, which I arrived at, was renovated in 2008 and the terminal is a modern and very nice space. I imagined it as a more local regional international airport, so I was captivated by the high ceilings and spacious interior.


Malaysia Airlines flight MH81 waiting to take off. The aircraft used is a Boeing 737-800, code-shared with JAL (JL7979)


Since it is the third-generation 737, the seat facilities are slightly retro.


For in-flight meals, choose from the fish menu. Boiled white fish is delicious.


Water cannons greet you with water cannons when you land at the airport.


Since it was the first flight after the resumption, they welcomed the arriving group. The airport is also beautiful.

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