Photo Credit: deepgoswami
Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu is one of the recommended things to do in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for tourists. Island Hopping allows tourists to see more than one island in a day nearby Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. Some of the recommended islands to explore in Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping tour includes Manukan Island, Sapi Island Mamutik Island & Sulug Island.
The popular Pulau Gaya of Sabah is not covered in Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu tour. You can read more about Pulau Gaya Sabah.
Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu
The city of Kota Kinabalu is surrounded by small islands that offer rich marine life, clear water, sandy beaches, snorkeling experience, coral reef, scuba diving, water sports & more. These islands are part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and a 15 to 20 minute speedboat ride will take you to these islands from the main city of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. The coral reef & marine life of these islands are also protected by the local authorities.
Some of the popular islands to cover in your Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu experience are listed below.
One of the most popular, most developed and crowded island of the lot is Manukan Island. The island offers 1500 meter long sandy white beaches for tourists to unwind and relax. There are various activates a tourist can do on Pulau Manukan such as snorkeling, scuba diving, beach volleyball, parasailing, banana boat ride, jet ski, swimming, hiking & more. The island also offers accommodation to tourists in Manukan Island Resort.
There are shops and basic facilities available on the island for tourists. Perahu Restaurant, Arang Barbecue & Koktas Café will fill the empty stomach as these are the restaurants available at Manukan Island. To read more about Manukan Island, check out the below article.
Sapi Island or Pulau Sapi is one of the smallest islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The island is preferred among tourists as it offers a srich marine life & snorkeling experience. Sapi Island is a preferred destination by tourists on their Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu tour. There are plenty of activities a tourist can do on Sapi Island that includes swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, banana boat ride, sea walking & coral flyer.
Coral Flyer is a 235 meter fun ride that will take you from Gaya Island to Sapi Island in less than a minute. It is an island to island zip lining with an altitude of 45 meters above the sea and speed of approx 55 km/hour. To read more about Sapi Island, check out the below article.
Mamutik Island or Pulau Mamutik is another island that is available for tourists in their Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu tour. The Mamutik Island is not as popular as Sapi & Manukan islands so you will experience fewer crowds & more privacy on the island. You can also view all the islands that form Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from Mamutik Island. The island is just 3km away from the main city of Kota Kinabalu and tourists can see a great view of KK city from the island.
Mamutik Island offers snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, water sports, grocery shop, camping & hiking trail facilities to the tourists. The island is also a training site for Borneo Divers, a Padi certified dive center in Kota Kinabalu. Read more about Mamutik Island below.
Sulug Island or Pulau Sulug is the least developed & least visited island in the group. The island is also known as rocky island and it provides white sandy beach and crystal clear water for swimming, snorkeling & scuba diving. There are not many facilities on the island as compared to other islands, but tourists can enjoy a great deal of privacy due to lesser crowd. Read more about Pulau Sulug below.
Where to Start your Island Hopping Tour?
The starting point of Island Hopping Kota Kinabalu tour is Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. You can book your island hopping tour from one of the tour operators inside the terminal. The speedboat departs from the ferry terminal as early as 8am and 7:30am on public holidays & weekends. If you spend 2 to 3 hours on an island, then you will be able to cover three islands in a day with ease.
You should check with the boat crew about the timings and especially the departure time of the last speedboat. The last speedboat departs between 4pm to 4:30pm from the islands. If you will miss the last boat, then you have to stay on the island overnight.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the Island Hopping Kita Kinabalu tour is not much as compare to the experience. The cost depends upon the number of islands you want to visit. The cost for the speedboat round trip to Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping is listed below.
- Two Islands – RM 33 (US $9) per adult & RM 28 (US $8) per children
- Three Islands – RM 43 (US $ 12) per adult & RM 38 (US $11) per children
- Four Islands – RM 53 (US $15) per adult & RM 48 (US $13) per child
Beside the speedboat fair, there is also a RM 10 (US $3) per person entry charges to the island. You can also charter a boat by paying RM 204 (US $55) for a round trip.
Facilities available on the Islands
As the islands experience great number of tourists & local so all the basic facilities are available on the island. There are shops & restaurants that offer quick snacks, lunch, drinking water, soft drinks, beach mat, insect repellent, beach slippers, hats & more. Tourists can also rent basic snorkeling & diving equipment such as fins, life jacket & masks from the island shop.
Water Sport Activities
There are plenty of water sports activities available on these islands for tourists to have water fun. Tourists can avail these activities by paying minimal charges. The detail of some popular activities along with the charges is listed below.
- Sea Walking – RM 250 Per Person (USD $70) – For 30 minutes
- Scuba-Doo – RM 250 Per Person (USD $70) – For 30 minutes
- Parasailing – RM 90 Per Person (USD $25) – For 15 minutes
- Banana Boat Ride – RM 40 Per Person (USD $12) – For 15 minutes
- Flying Fish – RM 70 Per Person (USD $20) – For 15 minutes
- Jet Ski – RM 165 Per Person (USD $45) – For 30 minutes
Related Article: Scuba Diving in Kota Kinabalu
Tips to Remember
Below are some safety tips & advice to remember on your Island Hopping tour.
- You might come across “Monitor Lizard” which can be found on these islands. If you do then don’t engage with them.
- Only book your Island Hopping tour or other water sport activities from a tour operator and avoid dealing with friendly local individuals if they approach you.
- Camping is allowed in most of the islands and you need to take permission from the island main reception. Camping tents are also available for rent which can easily accommodate up to four people. Manukan Island does not allow camping facility.
- You must accompany children under water as there might be sudden 2 to 3 meters deep incline in some areas near the beach.
Take a note of departure time of the last speedboat which is usually between 4pm to 4:30 pm.
Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping is a must-do activity for tourists to enjoy rich marine life, snorkeling, scuba diving, water sports & more. Please share your Island Hopping experience by adding comments below.