All About Currency Exchange in Kota Kinabalu

The official Malaysian Ringgit is widely accepted all over the city of Kota Kinabalu, both locally and internationally. 1 RM is made up of 100 Sen (cents) and is issued by the Malaysian Central Bank.

Official Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
Currency Code: MYR
Currency Symbol: RM Coins
Bank Notes: RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50 & RM100
Coins: (1, 5, 10, 20, and 50) Sen
Central Bank: Bank Negara Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu Currency Exchange Rates (MYR/RM)

As per August 2020,

1 Unit of a foreign currency equals:
Foreign CurrencyMYR /RM
USD (USD)4.17
Euro (EUR)4.96
British Pound (GBP)5.56
Canadian Dollar (CAD)3.18
Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)0.54
Indian Rupee (INR)0.057
Chinese Yuan (RMB)0.61
Singapore Dollar (SGD)3.07
Japanese Yen (JPY)0.04
Australian Dollar (AUD)3.07

Where to Exchange Currency in Kota Kinabalu?

Though it is advised to exchange Malaysian Ringgit at your own country for a better exchange rate, there is nothing to worry, as there are several hotspots in Kota Kinabalu, where you can easily exchange money after your arrival:

1. Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)

Inside the Kota Kinabalu International Airport
Kota Kinabalu International Airport
It is one of the easiest and the fastest ways to exchange upon arrival, but one drawback is that the exchange rates are too low! You can find these banks for currency exchange on the Level 1, arrival halls of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport:
  • Bank Islam
  • Maybank
  • CIMB

2. Banks

Banks are a second option for exchanging Malaysian Ringgit in Kota Kinabalu, as they are a trustable source. However, they can only be accessible on working days and seem to have low exchange rates. Some of the banks in Kinabalu, Sabah include:
  • Maybank Money Exchange
  • CIMB Bank
  • HSBC Bank
  • Bank Islam
  • Hong Leong Bank
  • Al-Rajhi Bank

3. Shopping Complexes

This is the best option to exchange money in Kota Kinabalu as there are plenty of money exchange agencies to choose from, with the best exchange rates. Check out these shopping centres:
  • Center Point Sabha
  • Imago Shopping Mall
  • Asia City Mall
  • One Borneo Hypermall
  • Wisma Merdeka
  • City Mall

Top Currency Exchange Centers in Kota Kinabalu

Malaysian Ringgit Notes

1. E-Globex Money Changer

E-Globex is a licensed agency that provides great service with good exchange rates. The staff is friendly here, however, be precautious as they do not accept coins.
Location: 44, Jalan Pantai, Pusat Bandar Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 9 am to 4:30 pm
Telephone: +60 88-223 126

2. Traveller’s Money Changer

Established in 1978, Traveller’s Money Changer is one of the pioneers of currency exchanging in Kinabalu. They are a licensed and trustworthy agency providing retail money and forex changing services under the Money Services Business Act of 2011. Many local tourists, business corporations, and foreign visitors prefer this agency. They are also found in main centres such as Lorong City Mall and Asia City Complex.
Location:  Wisma Merdeka, Jalan Tun Razak, Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Telephone: +6088-234 772

3. EZ Money Express

This agency is a leading money services business company in Kinabalu that covers all the major currencies at highly competitive exchange rates. They also provide remittance services and are partnered with several major banks in the ASEAN region.
Location: T.B No.97, Jalan Chester, Tawau
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +6089 762 399

4. Focurek Services Sdn Bhd

Located in one of the most established multiplexes - Wisma Merdeka, this agency is easily accessible from the city’s main hotels. They have three main branches in the city centre shopping complexes such as City Parade, City Mall, and Wisma Merdeka Branch.
Location: BG 28, Wisma Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 10 am to 7 pm
Telephone: +60 88-234 972

5. Arcade Money Changers

This agency has been established since 1979, and offers the widest currency choices and offers the best services too. It is advised to check the exchange rates with the other agencies before visiting this place.
Location: Kinabalu Daya Hotel, Jalan Haji Saman, Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 9 am to 10 pm
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +60 88-534 464 

6. TML Remittance Center

They provide a complete choice of money transfer services to their customers and foreign agents. They are under the Bank Negara license to provide remittance services and are one of the most trusted money exchange services in town. Their service is fast and reliable.
Location: Centre Point, Kota Kinabalu
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +60 7-438 1492

7. MoneyGram

They are found in almost 35 areas in Kinabalu and are one of the fast, affordable, and reliable resources that help in currency exchanging and money transferring services.
Location: One Borneo Mall, Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 8:30 am to 6:30 pm
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +60 88-485 156

8. Garuda Cahaya

Located in one of the central shopping malls named KK Plaza, this exchange office is also a licensed agency that is found nearby many major hotels and street markets.
Location: G16, Tingkat Bawah, KK Plaza, Kota Kinabalu
Timings: 9:30 am to 8 pm
Telephone: +60 88-222 500

ATMs, Credit Cards, Traveller’s Cheques

ATMs are available in almost all shopping complexes, airport arrival floors, hotels, restaurants, banks, and public transport stations.
Note: There might be local ATM fees charged by the ATM operators while using an ATM which does not come under your bank’s network.

As credit cards are widely accepted at all hotels, shopping centers, and tourist places, you would not have any problems. However, make sure that you avoid cash advances, as they may come with hefty fees.

For those having traveller’s cheques, make sure that you carry a secure ID proof to cash the cheques. Many places in Kota Kinabalu might also have commission charges and handling fees applied to it. However, you may avoid hotels and go to foreign exchange centers to get better rates.

How Much Currency to Carry to Kota Kinabalu?

On average, it can cost you around RM 185 per day, which is USD44. 

An average basic meal per person costs around RM 25, and for a day, around RM 60.
Note: Fast foods and street food restaurants are much cheaper than dine-in restaurants, and breakfasts are comparatively cheaper than lunch or dinner.
Hotel accommodations per person will cost you around RM 70.
A dinner for two in a neighbourhood pub would cost around RM 60.
Local transportation like taxes, buses, trains, subways, etc. should cost you around RM 85.
Note: The cost of a taxi is considerably higher than those of public transports, approximately 45 RM for 5 miles.
A cocktail in a downtown club will cost around RM 25.
Any entrance tickets to shows or movies must cost around RM 24
A bottle of water (500 ml) costs around RM 1.8, while a can of beer (500 ml or 1 pt) costs around RM 16. 

Should One Carry Foreign Currency or Malaysian Ringgits to Kinabalu?

It is necessary for you to carry some amount of Malaysian Ringgits when you visit Kota Kinabalu. Make sure that you do not carry more than RM 1000 per person with you while entering Kinabalu, however, there is no limit on your local currency. As you need to state a high amount of money at customs, it is advisable that you change your currency in Kota Kinabalu for better exchange rates. Currencies like the U.S, Singapore, and Australian dollars, and pound sterlings are easiest to change. Considering that you will find plenty of money exchange centers to change your currency to ringgits, you need not worry about the exchanging process. Keep in mind, that there is no fee charged for exchanging currency, however only the exchange rates differ from one agency to another.

Tips for Currency Exchange in Kota Kinabalu

  • It is best to always carry some amount of cash, as not all local shops and markets accept credit card payments.
  • Very few places in Kota Kinabalu accept travellers' cheques. Hence, you should be ready with other payment options.
  • Tipping is not common in many restaurants in Kota Kinabalu, as service fees are already included in the bills. You may tip if you wish to.
  • As the exchange rates might change often, make sure that you confirm the total cost with the agency before handing over huge amounts.
  • In some places, you might need to pay more as part of the foreigner’s tax. But if you feel the pricing is not justified, then it is advisable to walk away or look for other options.
Whether you are travelling to Kota Kinabalu for leisure or business purposes, make sure that you have all your financial plans and accounts sorted. With the above monetary details, expense information, and tips, you are all geared for an amazing trip!

This post was published by Gayathri Babu

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