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Transportation in Borneo

Getting around on Kalimantan

The Pan Borneo Highway

About the Highway

The Pan Borneo Highway is a road network on Borneo Island connecting the two Malaysian states, Sabah and Sarawak, with Brunei. The highway is numbered AH150 in the Asian Highway Network and as Malaysia Federal Route 1 in Sarawak. In Sabah, the used route numbers are 1, 13 and 22. The part of the The Pan Borneo Highway which runs through Indonesia is known as the Trans-Kalimantan Highway. It connects Pontianak to Tebedu.
The highway is a joint project between the governments of Malaysia and Brunei. It started with the formation of Malaysian Federation in 1963 which included Malaya (The Malaysian Peninsula), Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

The section which connects Sarawak, Sahah and Brunei is called the "Lawas–Temburong" Stretch. It has been completed in 1997. Since then it is possible to travel from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu by car. Malaysia has continued to expand the road network into rural areas ever since.

The whole of the The Pan Borneo Highway is to be about 2,083 kilometres in length. The section passing through Malaysia is about 1000 kilometres in length with the last section between Kalabakan and Sepulut starting the build in 2008.

Until the time of writing in early 2015 the Highway has so far remained toll-free.

Getting around on the Highway

You may obviously drive yourself if you have or rent a car. Should you need or want other means of travel you will be pleased to hear that the coastal cities within Malaysian Borneo are connected by a network of fairly cheap and comfortable busses. The bus terminals are usually located in the outskirts the towns but are connected by local busses and taxis.
Normally the departures are more frequent during the morning hours but some lines also feature afternoon or overnight busses. Should you not have a ticket reservation don't panic. Large billboards above the counters in the bus terminals do show the daily departures.
However - not all routes are paved yet or served by public transport so depending on how remote your destination is you might need to rely on rental vehicles or join a tour group.