Three days in Kota Kinabalu means you can enjoy most of the highlights in the area, including the beaches and islands, wildlife, culture, and outdoor recreation. Here are a few ways to make the most of your 3-day journey.
Sapi Island (Pulau Sapi)
Along with Manukan Island—the second-largest and best-developed island in the marine park—Sapi Island (Pulau Sapi) is on the itinerary of most island-hopping tours of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from Kota Kinabalu. Tours typically include round-trip transfers by boat and bus, and give you free time to swim, snorkel, and hike on between two and four of the islands. Some tours also include a ride on the Coral Flyer Zipline, which connects the islands of Sapi and Gaya.
Things to know before you go
- Look out for the prehistoric-looking monitor lizards that roam the island, but be sure to keep a safe distance from the wild reptiles.
- There’s a rustic restaurant, snack kiosk, and restrooms on the island.
- You can hire snorkeling masks and flippers from a shop at the end of the island’s main jetty; lockers are also available to hire here.
- There’s a small admission fee to step foot on the island.
How to get there
The only way to reach Sapi Island (Pulau Sapi) is from Jesselton Port, located just off the waterfront promenade in Kota Kinabalu. Motorized boats are operated by several different companies and depart regularly from the early morning. The journey takes approximately 20 minutes.
When to get there
From Jesselton Port, the last boat departs for Sapi Island just after lunchtime; all boats return to the port in Kota Kinabalu at around 4pm. Sapi Island is most crowded during peak season, which spans the months of June, July, and August.
The Islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is comprised of five islands, which include Sapi, Gaya, Manukan, Sulug, and Mamutik. Manukan Island is the most developed and popular of the five; its 1-mile (1.5-kilometer) beach is lapped by the calm waters of the South China Sea, which are ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Plus, there’s the highest concentration of restaurants and watersports opportunities on the island.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Sapi Island (Pulau Sapi)?
What else should I know about attractions in Kota Kinabalu?
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- Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (TARP)
- Gaya Island (Pulau Gaya)
- Manukan Island (Pulau Manukan)
- North Borneo Railway
- Kota Kinabalu City Mosque (Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu)
- Signal Hill Observatory Platform
- Sabah State Mosque (Masjid Negeri Sabah)
- Sabah Museum (Sabah State Museum)
- Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre
- Monsopiad Cultural Village
- Mari Mari Cultural Village
- Kota Belud
- Mt. Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu)
- Kinabalu National Park
- Poring Hot Spring & Nature Reserve (Poring Hot Springs)