Tunku Abdul Rahman Park – Sabah Attraction

The marine park is a cluster of islands comprising Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, all only 10 – 20 minute speedboat ride from the city of Kota Kinabalu. The five islands of the Marine Park are characterized by shallow waters, sumptuous coral gardens and all boast splendid white sandy beaches.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park - Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Attraction

Flora and Fauna

The plant life features a mix of typical shoreline vegetation like the Pandanus dubius and Podocarpus polystachyus. Representative of the latter group is Keruing, with their narrow crowns of large dark green leaves and unique ridged two-winged fruits. The Seraya, Kapur and Selagan Batu are also in abundance. The only undisturbed coastal dipterocarp forests are on Pulau Gaya, where the Hopea phillipineansis and Quassia borneensis are found. The Fish Tail and Nibong Palm flourish in the shady gulley.

The park is home to the bearded pig, scaly pangolin, rats, squirrels and monkeys. Snakes and monitor lizards make up the reptile population. Large birds such as the white breasted sea-eagle, pied hornbill and green heron are found in large numbers. Smaller varieties such as the sandpiper, the pink-necked green pigeon, bulbul, flycatcher, sunbird and swiftlets also flourish within the park.

One of the most intriguing birds around is the Megapode or Burung Tambun, a ‘chicken look-alike’ with large feet that ironically, meows like a cat! It lays its eggs in huge mounds of sand and leaves them at the edge of the beach. The fermentation of the leaves produces the heat, which is necessary to incubate the eggs for successful hatching.

The best coral reefs are those between Sapi Island and Gaya Island. The colourful and delicately beautiful corals are living organisms which feed on the plankton floating in the sea. The reef is home to many different kinds of fish like butterfly fish, parrot fish, clown fish and dragon fish. If you’re lucky, you will stumble upon the bigger species such as red grouper, barracuda and catfish. Other interesting marine life to look out for are mollusks, giant clams, sea cucumbers, the beautiful feather starfish, sea urchins in brilliant hues, cowrie and scorpion shells .


Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (Manukan Island) - Sabah Attraction

Shaped like a boomerang, Manukan covers 51 acres and is the second largest island in the group. The surrounding crystal clear water is ideal for snorkeling, diving and swimming. Trails around the island provide endless hours of trekking in the cool, shady forest. Facilities such as chalets, clubhouse, restaurants, souvenir centre, diving centre, a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts are provided to make your stay an enjoyable and fun-filled experience.


Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (Sulug Island) - Sabah Attraction

This 20-acre island, being the least developed and the farthest from the other islands has an almost untouched quality making it ideal for those seeking tranquillity. The shoreline is filled with rock and beautiful patches of reefs at the southern end. Corals such as the Acropora, Echnipora, Montipora and Seriapora are a visual delight as it comes in a variety, delicate shape and brilliant colours.

Facilities such as changing rooms and toilets; picnic shelters and tables are provided for day trippers. There are no accommodation facilities but overnight camping on the island is allowed with prior permission from the Park Warden.


Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (Sapi Island) - Sabah Attraction

This island has a distinct advantage of having some of the nicest beaches with white sand, sparkling crystal clear water and a coastline fringed with beautiful coral reefs. It is the ideal place for snorkeling, diving and swimming. If you can do neither of this but do not want to be left out from discovering underwater treasures, take a glass boat rental service instead. Hiking trails through the interior provide an excellent opportunity for nature appreciation. There are no accommodation facilities but picnic shelters, barbeque pits, tables, changing rooms and toilets are provided for day use. Camping is allowed with the permission of the Park Warden.


Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (Gaya Island) - Sabah Attraction

The island is located about 15 miles off Kota Kinabalu. The 3,665 acre island has 16 miles of shoreline and stretches consisting of fine white sand. Popular beaches include Bulijong Bay and Police beach that comes with a quarter mile of beautiful sand sloping, perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving. The untouched coastal dipterocarp forest makes it ideal for trekking and graded nature trails. It also provides opportunities to study the various species of plant and animal life within. Facilities include public shelters, changing rooms and public toilets

To dive in the marine park you must contact one of the local dive centers based in Kota Kinabalu who also offer a full variety of PADI courses ranging from Discover Scuba to Instructor.

Among the sandy seabed a good variety of marine life can be found such as Scorpion fish, Blue-spotted rays, cuttlefish, mantis shrimps and the occasional green or hawksbill turtle. At some locations, rare creatures such as the harlequin ghost pipefish and mandarin fish can be found especially with the help from local dive guides.

During the cooler months from November to February, plankton blooms attract krill which in turn attract whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. At times, the density of the krill can be so thick in these murky conditions underwater encounters with these colossal animals can be exciting as they suddenly appear out of the gloom.

Non-diving visitors can still have as much fun in the islands with other optional activities such as snorkeling in Pulau Sapi and Manukan and seawalking in Pulau Sapi. If water sport is your cup of tea, you may contact any local tour companies for more information regarding the water sport activities that are available.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is open daily from 8.30am to 5pm.

Getting there

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is accessible via 15 – 20 minutes speedboat ride from Kota Kinabalu. The departure and arrival point for the boat transfers is at the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, situated next to the Malaysia Royal Custom Department. Boat transfers to the islands are available daily from 7.30am to 5pm.

Boat transfer fares to the Islands are listed as follows:


*Fare per pax/boat

Adult (return)

Children (return)

Manukan Island



Mamutik Island



Sapi Island



Sulug Island



Two island hops



Three island hops



Four island hops



Boat charter for one island


Boat charter for Malahom Bay


Boat charter for Police beach


* A levy of RM50 per boat will be charged for special pick up times or overnight stays

The following rates are not inclusive of charged terminal fee (RM7.20 for adults, and RM3.60 for children under 12); each entrance fee is valid for 5 islands per day.


Other fees and additional charges are listed as follows:




Entrance fee


Children below 18 years of age


RM3 per pax

RM1 per pax


RM10 per pax

RM6 per pax

For Info

Sabah Parks
Lot 45 & 46, 1st – 5th Floor,
Block H, Signature Office
KK Times Square
Coastal Highway
88100 Kota Kinabalu

Telephone: 088-486 432/486 430/486 420 (General Line)
Fax: 088-486 435 (General)

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