Earlier this year, we went for a vacation to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. After experiencing the Circular Train at Yangon, Myanmar, we think that boarding a local train is a good way to experience local culture and have a glimpse of the locals’ daily life.
There are currently 2 types of trains operating in Kota Kinabalu:
- The local train, operated by the Sabah State Government, which goes from Tanjong Aru, Kota Kinabalu to Beaufort and ends at Tenom.
- The North Borneo Railway operated by Sutera Harbour mainly caters to tourists. The route it from Tanjong Aru, Kota Kinabalu to Papar Station and then returns to the Tanjong Aru station in Kota Kinabalu.
Cost & Duration:
We decided on the local train to try to see more local life and get off the tourist trial. We paid RM4.80 (~USD1) per person for a one way ticket from Tanjong Aru to Beaufort station and the same price to return on the train back to the Tanjong Aru station. The train ride took around two hours in each direction making for about a four-hour total of train ride experience. It took a little longer on the way back due to more people, especially school children, getting on and off the train at some of the smaller stations.
We made a video of our ride experience from Tanjong Aru to Beaufort.
Directions and Tips:
We took an Uber to the Tanjong Aru railway station from Kota Kinabalu city. If you are planning to take the train ride, our suggestion is to take the morning train which departs around 7.45am and check the train schedule or call to make sure that the train is running on that day. The railway station’s phone number is 088-279300. There is some construction in the area when we went, which made it confusing, but there are lots of friendly construction workers around that can help point you in the right direction.
We enjoyed our ride, saw lots of green and spent around an hour in the town of Beaufort.
Have you taken this ride before? Let us know your experience.