Just several minutes away from the city is the Jesselton Point where you can take speedboat to nearby islands. The earliest boat trip is at 7:30am and the last trip from the islands is at 5pm.Other jetty are located in Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Sutera Harbor Resort. Base on my research the cheapest fares are located in Jesselton Point.
Boat prices vary depending on the number of islands that you would like to visit. For just one island the two-way ride cost RM13.00 – RM15.00 and that you need to share the speedboat with other passengers. Usually a boat can accommodate 6-8 persons.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
The Marine Park, comprising five relaxing islands called Pulau (island): Palau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug.
I only visited Palau Gaya, Palau Manukan and Palau Sapi, since I cannot manage to charter the full boat which will cost around RM200.00. I joined the other groups of travelers and cost me only RM37.00 for the three islands.
This is the biggest among all five islands. Marine Ecological Research Center is located here. The center provides shelter to sick marine species. This island according to locals is the best destination for trekking and swimming.
This is a small island good for snorkeling. You may also do some trekking and hiking activity. I didn’t check the hiking trail in this island; I was so contented with snorkeling and was amazed with coral reefs and fishes that are gleaming in different colors. There are also some interesting birds in the area and monitor lizards are just roaming around.
This is the most developed amongst the islands I may say. It has the most number of visitors that can make it a little crowded and noisy. The boatman told me this is the best island for snorkeling. And yes I agree. When you go to the sea to snorkel, you’ll see school of fishes of different sizes and colors. No kidding, you’ll feel like the little mermaid Ariel swimming with hundreds of fishes.
Kayaking is also a common activity in this island. In here you can find the Marine Education Center. It is like a museum displaying various marine creatures.
Palau Sulug and Palau Mamutik
Too bad I failed to visit these two islands so I just have to be contented with the information I got from the boatman. He said Sulug Island is the less develop one, if someone is looking for privacy this is the best choice. On the other hand Mamutik Island is the smallest among the five islands of Tunku Abdul; best for beginner divers.
All the three islands I visited offer white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and reefs in shallow waters, coral gardens, lowland rain forests and nice walking paths. According to the boatman which is a Filipino the other two islands I failed to visit are pretty much the same with the first three islands I visited. Actually yes, I realized that the three islands are almost akin with each other.
Island hopping should be a part of one’s ‘to-do list’ when visiting Kota Kinabalu. Since Tunku Abdul caters five islands you have definitely options to choose from.