Sapi Island Overview

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday by the calm waters in the Peninsular region of Malaysia, then Sapi Island is the perfect escape to enjoy the cold breeze and serene blue sea. One of the must-visit islands in Sabah, a state in Malaysia, Sapi Island attracts tourists from all over the world. Famous for Coral Flyer - the longest zipline in the world, the beautiful island offers a plethora of activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and more that will give you an adrenaline rush.

Located very close to Kota Kinabalu, the 25-acre Sapi Island is one of the five islands constituting the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park that covers 50 square km of the islands. Shaped like a cow’s head, this picturesque island in Malaysia has long been a favorite tourist destination for its distinguishing natural beauty, exotic culture, thrilling adventurous activities and thriving marine life. Some of the top attractions include the island’s distinctive wildlife, quaint hidden beaches and coral flying.

For enchanting travelers and animal lovers who want to soak sunlight by the white sandy beaches and relax under rustling palms, Sapi Island can provide them a comfortable stay. While you are here at the ravishing island, try out the coral flyer zipline activity that will give you a tour of other surrounding islands. Fish and turtles in the clear water and macaques, wild boards and monitor lizards dot the island. You will enjoy snorkeling and diving in the surrounding reefs and hiking through the dense forests. 

In addition to exploring the coolest and thrilling Coral Flyer activity, Sapi Island is also famous for its monitor lizards. These 2-meter-long wild creatures on the island are harmless unless humans cause any disturbance to them.One of Sapi Island’s top attractions is a secret cliff which is located 800 meters from the ground. The picture-perfect and pristine view from the cliff is worth exploring.

As you follow the trail towards the cliff, you will reach an open area with sedimentary rocks and a magnificent view of the mesmerizing blue and green colored water. Sapi Island also features a few hidden beaches which are less crowded and offer a peaceful spot, drawing similarities to a castaway dream location.

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How To Reach

The only mode of transport to explore the Sapi Island is through boat as the island is surrounded by water from all sides. Sapi Island is just a 20-minute boat ride from Kota Kinabalu city. To catch the boat to Sapi Island, you will have to reach either of three boats or ferry terminals: Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty and STAR Marina.

These terminals open at 8 AM and close by 5 PM. The last boat departs from Sapi Island to Kota Kinabalu at 4 PM. With an additional fee, you can also go island hopping and explore other nearby islands.

Jesselton Point is the most visited ferry terminal and is within walking distance from KK city center. You can collect the tickets to the Sapi Marine Park from counter 1 to 11 where you will also find some shops to buy food, beverages and important items such as sunglasses, swimwear, sunblock lotion and more.

The boat will drop you at Sapi Island Park from where you can explore the beautiful island and engage in several thrilling activities. You need to purchase tickets for the boat journey and Conservation Fee ticket to enter the island. For locals, the entrance fee to Sapi Marine Park is RM 1 for children and RM 3 for adults. For non-Malaysian tourists, it is RM 10 for adults and RM 6 for a child.

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Best Time To Visit

One of Malaysia’s go-to tropical escapes, Sapi Island welcomes visitors throughout the year with warm and friendly smiles, although the best time to visit these ravishing islands is in August and September. Sapi Island has its rainy season which falls from June to December.

Since the Sapi Marine Park is largely covered with tropical rainforests, it receives a good amount of rainfall. Sapi Island is located on the west coast of Sabah state of Malaysia and the beginning of the year is relatively drier with better conditions that won’t disrupt your travel plans.

During the month of June, the island receives heavy rainfall until December. Considering the water sports, the months of August and September are the ideal months to visit Sapi Island.

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Other Essential Information


Sapi island is located very close to Kota Kinabalu which is the capital city of Malaysia’s Sabah state.

Best Time

While it is a year-round destination, the best months to visit Sapi Island are August and September.

Distance from the city center

Sapi Island is around 20 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu (KK). It can be easily reached by boat which you can find at several boat terminals in Kota Kinabalu. These boat terminals are located within walking distance from KK city center.

Places to Stay in Sapi Island

There is no accommodation facility available on Sapi Island, however, camping is allowed with prior permission from the Park Warden at the reception counter. Campers have to pay a small camping fee of RM 5 for adults and RM 2 for children below 18 years.

Camping tents are easily available on rent at RM 30 a day at the local shops on the island. As the shops get closed by 4 PM, you need to make arrangements for food and other essential amenities yourself. If you are looking for budget accommodation, camps on Sapi Island are safe and secure and will bring you closer to nature without burning a hole in your pocket. 

The neighboring Gaya Island offers two extravagant resorts – Gaya Island Resort and Gayana Marine Resort. While Gaya Island Resort features exquisite beaches and infinity pools, Gayana Marine Resort is home to the Marine Ecology Research Center and provides a comfortable stay amidst natural surroundings.

Another luxurious resort is Manukan Island Resorts that has its own private beach and offers exciting activities such as diving and snorkeling.There are also hotels available in the city of Kota Kinabalu at affordable prices with basic facilities and connectivity to the ferry terminals.

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Tourism Board Alliances

Sapi Island FAQs

What is the traveling mode on Sapi island?

Sapi Island is a 20-minute boat ride from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. It is a 10-minute walk or 2-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu city center. To reach Gaya Island from Sapi Island, you can take a boat ride followed by the return journey through Coral Flyer zipline – the longest island to island zipline in the world.

What is the condition of mobile connectivity?

Mobile connectivity is low at certain places on the Sapi Island in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. However, the luxurious resorts located on Gaya Island or hotels in Kota Kinabalu provide free Wi-Fi service.

What are the places to eat near the Island?

Located on Sapi Island, Sapi Café offers a wide range of delicious food items and beverages at a nominal price. The Café is open to the public from 8 AM to 4 PM every day. Other nearby places to eat are Nando’s – the popular restaurant offering scrumptious chicken specialties and other dishes, Capital Café and RSMY – famous for its authentic Malaysian, Asian and Indian cuisine.

What is the condition of medical facilities on the Island?

You will find a small shop on the island that provides basic medicines and a first-aid kit. If you face any serious health issue, you can visit the Dekat Medical Center or Jesselton Medical Center which is located in Kota Kinabalu.

How much time duration is needed to visit the whole of Sapi Island?

A day trip to Sapi Island is enough to explore the several attractions such as quaint hidden beaches and nature walk through the palm-studded dense forests. Engaging in activities such as snorkeling and diving and the zipline adventure will require around 6 hours.

How far is Sapi Island from Kota Kinabalu?

The gorgeous Sapi Island is approximately 8 km away from Kota Kinabalu. It is a 20-minute breezy boat ride from Jesselton Point ferry terminal to Sapi Marine Park that will bring you to the sun-kissed Sapi Island. Jesselton Point is walking distance from KK city center.

Is there any emergency help service on the Island in case of any emergency?

Local shops in Sapi Island close by 4 PM, however, local authorities and professionals are available 24X7 in case of any emergency.

Any travel tips before visiting Sapi Island?

1. Sapi Island is famous for monitoring lizards, so be cautious with them while exploring the island. They are harmless unless they are provoked or disturbed.

2. Do not visit the island from November and February as the weather is bad and the sea can be rough due to heavy rainfall. You won’t be able to dive or snorkel during these months.

3. The local shop on Sapi Island closes by 4 PM so make sure you buy the necessary items such as camp tents and drinking water if you have plans to camp. For camping, you need to seek permission from the Park Warden.

4. Do not feed the fish as it will make the sea dirty and affect their eating habits.

5. Carry enough water, energy drinks and light snacks while visiting Sapi Island.

What are the things I must carry before visiting the Sapi Islands?

Remember to carry the following items while visiting Sapi Island.

- Sunscreen lotion

- Swimwear and snorkeling gears (You can also buy these at the local shop)

- Sunglasses and sunhat

- Flip-flops and shoes if you plan to hike through the forest

- Water bottles and energy drinks

- Light snacks

- Insect repellent

- Beach mat

What is the best time to visit the Sapi Islands?

While Sapi Island is a year-round holiday destination, August and September are the best months to visit the island. The climate is appropriate for water sports during these months.

What can I do on Sapi Island?

From snorkeling to scuba diving, ziplining to hiking, Sapi Island offers several exciting activities for the tourists. If you do not want to snorkel, swim or dive in the sea, you can enjoy the pristine view and bask in the sun on the shore.

Is Sapi Island worth it?

Irrespective of the time of the year, Sapi Island has all the perfect attributes for an unforgettable holiday experience. The trip to this beautiful island will give you a much-needed break from the mundane by offering the natural beauty of the sea and marine life.

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