It is natural for us to overlook things that are right in front of us. The waters around Kota Kinabalu has some islands that compares favorably with islands anywhere in the world. For this simple reason, it is not overly commercialized. I mean, no glitzy chalets and loud music. It is all natural.
When was the last time you went on a trip to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks? I can imagine chilling out in a tropical white sandy beach, surrounded by pristine, clear water.
The Islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park comprise of Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Gaya and Pulau Sulug. In case you are wondering, pulau is the malay term for island. These islands are located in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park which is the second National Park in Sabah. It was gazatted to protect the fauna, flora and marine eco-system found in Sabah.
Sabah’s Historical Islands
The names of the islands are symbolic, given by the early discoverers. Manukan island for fish, Mamutik island for sea shells, Sapi island represents the sound of buffalo, Gaya island meaning big, and Sulug island for the ancestry of the Sulu people of Sabah.
The islands are only accessible by boats, which leaves from the Jesselton Pier in Kota Kinabalu city. You can buy a ticket from any of the boat operators, the journey to your island of choice takes about 30 to 40 mins. Sometimes, it depends on where they go first. The fare includes to and from the islands, normally pick time can be arranged. There are also plenty tour operators in Kota Kinabalu or your hotel can arrange the tour outing for you.
It usually hot and sunny in Sabah, with calm seas. You can expect rain in the months between October and February, and the sea can be rough at the end of the year. But you can never keep the sun away for long in Sabah.
I get a little nervous traveling on water, more concern about the people with me and my camera and DVD recorder. But it is always an exciting feeling. You feel like you are traveling away from the bustle and noise of city life. By the time you see the island jetty, you are already feeling relaxed.
Manukan island is the second largest island in the park and the most developed. Hence, this island probably see the most visitors. The Sabah Parks headquarters is located here. The island itself is one and half kilometers long, crescent shaped. There are nature trails if you wish to explore the island. I don’t know if this is the place for bird-watching.
Most of us come for the beach and sea. Here, you can snorkel, dive, swim or walk under the sea. The equipment and services are for rental, so you don’t need to bring a lot of stuff. The sand in Manukan island is quite rough for the most part, and the corals are sharp. The waters are very clear, and you can see the fishes as soon as you reach the island.
Bring your beach towel, sunscreen, camera, water and food. You can stay overnight in the accomodations but this require advance booking. Gone are the days when we could just stay anytime we want. There are restaurants on the island, but I always felt that a picnic is a lot more fun. As you would expect, food and drinks costs more on the island.
Here are some amazing beautiful photographs of the islands found in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
The Sunsets In Kota Kinablu, Sabah
Sunset is my favorite time of the day. It is also my favorite image of Sabah. No matter where you go in Sabah, the sunsets are beautiful. Sometimes, it looks as though the sky is on fire.
Common sense guide. Please don’t screw up our natural heritage.
- Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.
- Do not bring pets.
- Respect the silence of nature.
- Remember safety. Keep an eye on your kids.
- Don’t dive, swim or snorkel alone.
- Do not disturb or harm the wildlife.
Conservation Fees For Sabah Parks
All visitors going to Sabah Parks have to pay a conservation fees. Foreign visitors are charged more but the charges are by no means excessive. It is to help preserve the natural beauty of our World Hertigae Site and Parks.
See The Latest Rates Here: SABAH PARKS, look under New Rates.
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