• Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
  • Duration: 4 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 190.64 View price calendar

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Discover the beauty of Borneo on this North Borneo Railway journey that covers coastal landscapes, rural regions, and plenty of space between. Enjoy the nostalgia of an old steam train as you make your way through villages, ride paddies, rainforests, rubber plantations and coffee fields on this trip from Kota Kinabalu to Papar. Enjoy a complimentary tiffin lunch of rice, curry and vegetables or meat, as well as round-trip hotel transport.


  • Morning train trip aboard the North Borneo Railway
  • Enjoy the lush landscape and rural scenery of Sabah
  • Stop at Kinarut and Papar to experience the sights and sounds of rural life
  • Complimentary British tiffin lunch, including rice, curry, vegetables and meats
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off included

What You Can Expect

North Borneo Railway Train Ride from Kota Kinabalu to Papar

Nostalgic steam train ride

Experience the feelings of romance and nostalgia on this North Borneo Railway train ride from Kota Kinabalu to Papar. Travel back in time to the days when locals journeyed by steam train to Sabah. You’ll relax on a refurbished train car that’s designed to evoke the sense of stepping into the 1900s, as you make your way on the 36-mile rail trip. 

Your trip begins at Tanjung Aru Station, where you’ll board the train and head out towards the pastoral landscapes of rural Malaysia. You’ll pass the coast of Lokawi Bay where window seat travelers have access to stunning views of the South China Sea. Make a visit to the traditional trading village of Kinarut, as well as Tien Shi Temple and enjoy a bit of free time to explore tiny shops in the foothills near the temple. 

Your train ride continues through the Kawang Forest Reserve, over a steel bridge past the Papar River, finally ending in the town of Papar. Enjoy a taste of local life in the nearby wet market and engage with residents as you take in the sights, sounds and smells of this lively place. Return via train to Kota Kinabalu and savor your traditional colonial tiffin lunch en route.

Customer Reviews


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

An unusual and enjoyable trip.

Keith P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

We had a really nice time - what an adventure. The final destination was not that interesting but the train journey itself with breakfast and lunch was something very special. Certainly would recommend this trip.

Keith and Valerie from the UK

Patricia S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

Excellent day out with a chance to get out in the country. Very good service from the lovely crew and the food was quite good. A few nice stops on the way with a chance to visit local markets and temples.

Janet P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

A very interesting and fun tour. A must do. The service and food was top notch.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2012

5 stars experience!

Lynne D

4 star rating: Recommended March 2014

My sisters and I were delighted to be transported to the bygone days of steam train travel. the north Borneo railway tour is extremely well organized. The staff were very pleasant, perhaps a bit more theatrics would contribute to the atmosphere. Temple visit was interesting and would have liked a longer stay. Papar was disappointing,the market even though it is authentic local market, is quite dirty and of little appeal. the food served for luncheon was very tasty and being served in the tiffen was lovely. all in all a fun experience.

Kenneth G USA

4 star rating: Recommended September 2012

loved the train, food was way better than expected, disappointed in the general sites along the route. Did not realize it just ran along the road

David M

3 star rating: Worth doing July 2016

The experience was unique and most enjoyable. The food on the train was memorable and the service from the staff was extraordinary. However you must bank on a whole day because the delays caused by the train having to build up steam made the trip a whole day trip, not one that ends at 1.40pm.


3 star rating: Worth doing August 2013

The train trip was really good until the return from Papar. The steam engine lost power on several occasions (each lasting 20 minutes) so we arrived back at KK very late.

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