You are absolutely right when you think about Borneo’s lush rainforests, wild jungles, orangutang, probiotic monkeys, mountains and caves, but Sabah has, even more, to offer, from its amazing reefs, marine wildlife, paradisiac beaches to the pristine waters.
From Kota Kinabalu you can easily access the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park, that is composed of 5 islands: Sapi, Mamutik, Manukan, Gaya and Sulug. I will leave the feedback for the ones I have been to.
You have two ways to reach the islands, you can get a boat trespassing the central market (Pasar Besar) where you will find a small smelly jetty, used mostly by locals (and me ?) or at Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Both have the same prices. Before going make sure you have plenty of water, fruit and snacks with you.
?Pulau Manukan (10RM conservation fee)
Can be a bit crowded near the place you pay the entry fee, just walk a bit and you will find an empty beach. We tried to do snorkelling but the visibility was poor that day, but we still had a great lazy day, laying down, swimming on the warm water and trekking thought the nature trails. It has touristic facilities, an extensive shore and many monitor lizards.
?Pulau Mamutik (10RM conservation fee) Mamutik is the smallest one, and my favourite. After paying the entry fee, just walk a bit to find an empty paradisiac beach with clear cristal waters great to do snorkelling.
?Pulau Gaya Its really peaceful and less crowded than the others and it’s covered in a tropical forest. In the island, there are small water villages, with mosques, schools and simple shops built on stilts.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha