Islands Hopping in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

What to do in Kota Kinabalu when you are not climbing the mountain?

If you have a day in Kota Kinabalu you may want to try out islands hopping at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The national marine park consists of 5 beautiful islands located at South China Sea not far away from Kota Kinabalu. It takes less than 20 minutes boat ride to reach the islands from Kota Kinabalu city.

Looking at Pulau Gaya (Island Gaya) from Pulau Sapi (Island Sapi).
I love the crystal clear ocean water and relaxing white sandy beach of Pulau Sapi.

Tunku Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park located at the West Coast of Sabah state. IT consists of 5 islands:
  1. Pulau Sapi (Sapi Island)
  2. Pulau Manukan (Manukan Island)
  3. Pulau Mamutik (Mamutik Island)
  4. Pulau Gaya (Gaya Island)
  5. Pulau Sulug(Sulug Island)

Let's put it this way, these islands provide little marine wildlife experience to begin with. These are popular tourists locations. But these are relaxing places to go with comfortable (and short distance) boat rides, beautiful beaches, well maintained facilities, food stalls on the islands, clear ocean water, etc. The islands hopping activity is perfectly suitable for people who loves and enjoys nature yet desirous of conveniences provided by our "over-civilized world". ;-)

Boat ride to the islands.

In September 2011, we spent a day in Kota Kinabalu after our Mount Kinabalu climb. We made the booking for islands hopping just one day before the trip. We started the trip next morning at probably 9.00 am and reaching the first island, Pulau Sapi, within 20 minutes. Later, we had our lunch at Pulau Manukan. We finished our island hopping trip at Pulau Mamutik before reaching Kota Kinabalu city by 4.00 pm.

Whether it is a half day trip or one day trip depends on the number of islands you want to go and how long you spend in each island.

Sapi Island

We spent long hours at Sapi Island to swim and snorkel. There were fishes in the water. The beach at Sapi Island is beautiful, especially you can over see the other island beach, i.e. Gaya Island. But for lunch, we need to move to another island.

Beach of Sapi Island. Gaya Island in sight.

Looking at Gaya Island from Sapi Island.

Manukan Island

Manukan Island has the most beautiful park and chalets among the islands at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. I am guessing that this island is being maintained by Sutera Sanctury Lodges (the same company that operates Kinabalu Park) since these chalets are managed by them.

Clean and beautiful park on Manukan Island.

Crystal clear water at Manukan Island.

Mamutik Island

This island has less to offer other than Malaysian food. You can find many food stalls operate by different people. It is still a nice island, but with too many uncoordinated design of food stalls.

Mamutik Island.

Here are a few really useful websites: