Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo.
The city of Kota Kinabalu is surrounded by small islands that offer rich marine life, clear water, sandy beaches, scuba diving, water sports & more. These islands are part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and are only 15 to 20 minutes away from KK by speedboat.
In KK, there are three boat / ferry terminals that can take you to most Sabah islands at west coast. Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty, Star Marina.
We set of from our hotel, Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa and we were brought to Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty which was pre-arranged by Sabah Tourism Board.
Besides boat transfer and island tour, they have watersport centre that offers diving courses / services, parasailing, jetski, flyfish, banana boat ride, sea-walking, kayak, sunset cruisee, fishing, etc.
Kitted out in our life jackets, sunscreen applied, sunnies on, finally we were off on an exhilarating island adventure.
There are five islands in total that forms Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia. We visited the most accessible and convenient islands for day tripping – Manukan, Sapi and Gaya.
Sapi Island or Pulau Sapi is one of the smallest islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. There are plenty of activities a tourist can do on Sapi Island that includes swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, banana boat ride, sea walking & coral flyer.
Gaya Island Kota Kinabalu or Pulau Gaya Sabah is the largest of the five islands that forms Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia. Also known as a virgin island because of rich and untouched coral reef.
Recently a new activity opened on Pulau Gaya Sabah is the Coral Flyer. The 250 meter zip lining will take you from Gaya Island to Sapi Island in less than a minute at the speed of 55 km/hr. This the longest island to island zip line in the world.
For some reason, we waited for more than an hour just to push through with that activity but it was worth the wait!
There is a bit of an uphill trek to reach the zip-line platform.
Minimum weight for a solo ride is 40kg, children below that weight can ride in tandem with a parent.
Maximum weight for a ride (solo or tandem) is 120kg. I suggest you wear shorts, leggings or pants as you need to wear a hefty harness over your legs.
There are walking trails on all of the islands. We were extremely shocked and felt lucky in a way, as we encountered a local wildlife, a very huge monitor lizard on Sapi Island. Unfortunately, I was unable to take a picture of it. But here’s a replica of the monitor lizard which I took a shot during my visit at Sabah Museum.
Another boat ride and this time we arrived at our third island for the day – Manukan Island.
Manukan Island, is one of the most popular, most developed and quite busy island as it is better geared to accommodate day trippers with lots of water activities on offer as well as good restaurants and clean toilets/change rooms. The island has sandy white beaches.
A barbeque buffet lunch was included in our tour, and it was very sumptuous. There was a selection of local style dishes too.
Such a cute and cozy BBQ place. It feels like you’re having a fun and colourful BBQ kiddie party set up.
What a great way to end an action packed half day escape.
I would highly recommend a trip out to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park for a mini tropical island adventure.
To know more and help you plan your next adventure, click the Sabah Tourism Board website below.
The Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan operation hours are as follows:
Sabah Tourism Board :
Monday – Friday : 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday : 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday : 9.00 am – 4:00 pm
Public Holidays : 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thank you so much Sabah Tourism Board for the wonderful experience.