A trip to Sabah will not be complete if you have not visited the islands in the state. While Semporna is the most popular spot to visit islands in Sabah, it is quite far away from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. If you are visiting Kota Kinabalu, fret not about the distance to islands because these islands in Sabah are just a 20-minute speedboat ride away from the city via Jesselton Point! A complete island hopping experience in Sabah, get ready to be amazed by the view and experience at the islands in Kota Kinabalu.
Island Hopping in Kota Kinabalu
How to get there?
The departure point to island hopping in Kota Kinabalu is at the famous Jesselton Point. The Jesselton Point Waterfront is the main and cheapest boat terminal to travel to the islands. Is it located at the city centre, near the Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, allowing tourists to find convenience in travelling to the terminal.
‘Do I need to book for island hopping in Sabah?’
No, you don’t have to book anything unless you want to purchase the packages online. Upon arrival, you will just have to head to the ticketing hall to purchase tickets on the spot. There will be many tour operators there selling the tickets to reach the islands. This is where you have to choose the types of tour you want to go on. They offer many packages that include:
- Island hopping (either 2,3, or 4 islands to hop)
- Scuba diving
- Snorkelling (including equipment)
- Sea walking
- Banana boat ride
- Flying fish
- Jetski, and more water activities!
Once you have chosen a package that suits you, the tour operator will brief you with things you need to know and you are set to go. One crucial thing to do is to remember the face of your tour guide or the speedboat operator as you’ll need to look for them to go home!
Best time to visit the islands
Get ready and purchase your tickets around 8 am to catch the early trip to the island. Going there early will allow you to optimise the time you have at the islands as there will be a lot of activities that you will want to experience there.
Islands to explore in Kota Kinabalu:
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park consist of the most popular islands to explore in Sabah. Excluding Sulug Island, the other four islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park are easily accessible to visitors.
1. Manukan Island
Manukan Island is one of the most crowded islands in Sabah. From restaurant to accommodation, this island offers excellent options to choose from. However, if you plan to stay overnight, you may have to check for availability and book the accommodation online before heading there. Spanning 1.5 kilometres is the sandy white beach that the island boasts where you can have fun beach activities or just chill there for the view.
2. Gaya Island
Gaya Island is the largest island among the five in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Because of its rich and untouched coral reefs, the island is hailed as the ‘virgin island’. This will be the best destination to catch sight of the mesmerizing coral reefs when you go snorkelling.
3. Sapi Island
The water around Sapi Island is said to be exceptionally clear. It boasts the best view of marine life and offers the best snorkelling experience. To hop to this island, you may opt for the 235-meter Coral Flyer ride from Gaya Island instead of the speedboat rise. The island zip lining is 45 meters above sea level and will ‘zoom’ you to this island at a speed of 55 km/h. Try it to complete your island-hopping experience!
4. Mamutik Island
If you are looking for a less touristy island, Mamutik is your go-to island. Although it is not as famous as the other islands in the park, Mamutik Island is nothing less than its counterparts. Its view is as stunning and it offers the same thing you can do on other islands. It is a perfect option if you need some space and privacy.
Why you should visit the islands in Kota Kinabalu?
Near, convenient, beautiful and fun!
More islands in Malaysia: