Crossing from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu was tough mainly because of the lack of information online. The day Karen and myself had to make the trip, we couldn’t find the bus terminal that would take us from Bandar Seri Begawan to Serasa, the city where ferry terminal was located.
Feeling desperate, and not wanting to miss the ferry that typically leaves at 8am, we shelled out $53 USD to hire a taxi just take us from Bandar Seri Begawan to Serasa.
Scrambling to Make it Happen
Upon arrival, we realized we didn’t have enough money to pay for our ferry tickets. I quickly asked Karen to stay in line for the tickets, while I exchanged some USD for Brunei dollars. The exact moment I got my money, Karen was at the front of the line, and just in the nick of time, we managed to pay for our tickets.
And by pure luck, we managed to purchase the LAST two tickets for the ferry, leaving the rest in line empty handed. It was now 8am and we were quickly ushered through security and boarded the ferry, which departed exactly on time.
Talk about a close call!
The rest of the trip was rather straightforward. The ferry took us to a small Malaysian island called Labuan, where we spent the next several hours waiting for the next ferry to take us to Kota Kinabalu. We spent this time productively, as we filled bellies with delicious local food, and even managed to get our photos taken for our Myanmar E-Visa.
After some time, the ferry took us from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu and everything went well from there.
How to Cross from Brunei to Malaysia
In a nutshell, if you want to cross from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu, here are the important steps to take:
Step 1: Take a taxi from Bandar Seri Begawan to the Serasa ferry terminal. The ferry typically leaves at 8am, so make sure you arrive ahead of time. The transit time between Bandar Seri Begawan and Serasa can take up to 40 minutes, so give yourself plenty of time to get there!
Alternatively, you can also take a bus from the city centre for a much cheaper price. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure it out, but I’m sure your hotel can help you find it. Karen and myself stayed in a hotel just outside of the city, which was a huge mistake, as it ended up costing us extra money for the taxi later on. Do yourself a favor and stay in the city centre, even if you have to pay more!
Step 2: Board the ferry in Serasa and head over to Labuan. Once in Labuan, buy your ticket to Kota Kinabalu and wait several hours before it departs. I believe the wait time was as long as 3-4 hours.
Step 3: Lounge around in Labuan, eat lunch, get a SIM card for Malaysia. The city has tons of tourist coming from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia so it’s a pretty interesting place.
Step 4: Take the ferry to Kota Kinabalu in the Labuan ferry terminal.
Enjoy your time in Malaysia!