Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a group of five different islands, which include Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. There are various beach activities that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park organizes. However, all these beach activities require a prior booking and it is one of the best places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.
You can also indulge in various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and witness the beautiful coral and marine life of the island. The island tours can be booked on the spot from where you will take your ferries.
Location: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is just 20 minutes boat ride from the Kota Kinabalu.
How To Reach: The Jesselton Jetty ferry terminal consistently operates the boats to the Island, which takes around 20 minutes to reach there.
Price: The approximate cost for the complete tour starts from 53 MYR per adult.
Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM
Sapi Island is one of the most beautiful Island in the whole Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Though the island is smaller as compared to the Manukan Island, but you can still find a good crowd here. If ever visiting these islands, Sapi Island is one of the best tourist attractions in Kota Kinabalu and you cannot afford to miss it. One, must try activity on the island is the “Scuba-Doo” mini submarine experience, which is a little motorbike style submarine to do a sea walk.
Location: Sapi Island is one of the five Islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine park and is just at a distance of 15 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu.
How to reach: The Sapi Island can easily be reached from Kota Kinabalu via two ways: Either you can take the hourly ferry from the Jesselton Pier or you can reach Sapi Island from the Sutera Harbor.
Price: You have to pay an entry fees of 10 MYR per adult on the island.
Manukan Island Resort
The Manukan Island Resort is a luxury private island resort. This serene retreat offers exquisite accommodation, sophisticated cuisine and unparalleled water sport activities in one of the most pristine corner of the world. Manukan Island is surrounded by a protected coral reef, and the island boasts a pristine rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches and it is one of the popular places to visit in Kota Kinabalu.
Location: Manukan Island, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Highlights: This resort features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and spacious villas with private terraces and dining areas. The resort offers a wide range of activities such as diving, snorkeling and trekking. For views of marine life, glass-bottomed boat rides are available.
Price: Approximate price for a room starts at 700 MYR.
Beautifully impressive and romantic but the island is actually a sand bank island and is one of the most enchanting islands in Sabah Borneo. What makes this beach special is that the resort is a stand-alone unit with no one else around it. Usually when the tide is down, the sand bank becomes a spectacular beach, otherwise, they have an elevated man-made beach deck with special white sand where you can chill.
Highlights: This private island is well known as the romantic paradise for special honeymooners and exclusive private weddings.
How to Get There: The unique Kapalai Island stands above a huge sand bank which is about 1 hour by boat from Semporna in east coast Sabah. It is also a 10 minute boat ride from the well-known Mabul Island.
Bohey Dulang Island is a mountainous island forged by the remains of an ancient volcano. The southern side of the lagoon is open but just below the surface is a protracted stretch of reef which represents the southern cratered fringe. The island is best known for its spectacular views at the top of its peak. It is possible to trail around the island at low tide by following the narrow edges of the beach and mangroves, although this involves scrambling over rocks or through vegetation's.
Highlights: Prepare to be greeted by a host of
tropical flora and fauna during the arduous but rewarding hiking trail to the
top of Bohey Dulang Peak. Majestic views of the sapphire blue lagoon await
those who make it through the hour long climb.
How to Get There: Bohey Dulang is located about 35 minutes by boat from Semporna, 20 minutes from Pom Pom, 30 minutes from Mataking and 1.5 hours from Mabul.
Pulau Mantanani is a cluster of three isolated tiny islands to the northwest of Kota Belud. It was so isolated in fact that not until recently, only a few locals knew the existence of the islands. One of the main reasons that Mantanani Islands is popular among tourists is because of its picturesque scenery, cool breezes and serene environment. But most popular attraction of Pulau Mantanani are the dugongs. The Mantanani Islands seem to provide the ideal habitats for dugongs with sea grass beds and shallow sandy areas within the encircling fringing reef of the islands.
Highlights: These islands present popular diving and snorkeling destinations because of their crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs.
How to Get There: The islands are accessible by a one-hour speedboat journey from Kuala Abai jetty, Kota Belud, 80 km north-east of Kota Kinabalu.
Lankayan Island is a tiny tropical coral resort island in the Sulu Sea, northeast of the island of Borneo, in the state of Sabah. This beautiful little island with thick tropical growth and sandy beaches offers an absolutely pure tropical wildlife experience. It's situated in a National Park region. A Turtle Rehabilitation centre is present on the island and is open to the visitors and you can watch egg laying and turtle hatch lings at times.
Highlights: The island is also one of Sabah's top diving spots with the availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts both divers and non-divers love to tour Lankayan.
How to Get There: The island is also one of Sabah's top diving spots with the availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts both divers and non-divers love to tour Lankayan.
A tiny island off the south-eastern coast of Sabah boasting fine beaches of coconut trees, soft white sand and aquamarine waters, Mabul Island is one of the world’s top rated destinations for muck diving. What’s more, Mabul Island also boasts one of the world’s most concentrated reserves of small marine life that includes species like frog fish, scorpion fish, cuttlefish and various shellfish. Visitors here can easily stroll around the island within an hour to explore attractions like the traditional villages with their thatched huts.
Highlights: Mabul Island is a popular place to stay for travellers that plan to dive at one of the worlds' best dive spots and also venture out to the more secluded areas, you will find some truly fantastic beaches.
How to Get There: It is about 40 minute’s boat ride from the mainland of Semporna.
Another resort island with one of the best beaches in Malaysia, Mataking Island is the furthest from Semporna in east coast Sabah where a boat trip takes nearly an hour one way. Just stroll around the island to look for your own secluded place. One of the unique things about the island is that they have an underwater post office where you can literally post a letter or postcard. Highly recommended for those who want a 'Maldives' experience in Malaysia.
Highlights: This is the perfect romantic getaway as the island has a spa, private bungalows, an outdoor Jacuzzi by the sea and all the romantic walks by the beach you want. Special arrangements can be made for honeymooners, weddings or private parties. The only way to get here is by booking a tour package from the resort. There are no day trips or visits here.
How to Get There: It is about 40 minute’s boat ride from the mainland of Semporna in the province of Sabah.
. Tanjung Aru
This spectacular sweep of sand begins around the Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and stretches south to the airport. Tanjung Aru is a local beach, nestled with picnic spots and white sandy coast’s. Tanjung Aru has one of the best shorelines where visitors can enjoy shinning crystal clear ocean and powder-fine sands. This area is absolutely secluded and therefore, it gives a very peaceful and quiet ambiance. Imagine you basking in the sun while listening to the sound of the waves or plunging into the crystal clear water for a swim.
Highlights: The main attraction here is the beach, which stretches to over 2 kilometers long with stunning sunset views.
How to Get There: The beach can be accessed through any local transport.