Discover Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park - Kota Kinabalu
When people think about a national park, they immediately imagine a place full of towering trees, exotic animals, and water formations that are secretly hidden within the thick forest. Although these ideas are not wrong, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in the city of Kota Kinabalu has somehow fashioned its own park by integrating these ideas, and expanding it a thousand fold. Because unlike most national parks, travelers will need to explore five different islands to say that they have visited the entirety of the marine park.
Consisting of islands namely: Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi, and Sulug, this enormous marine park is spread over 4,929 hectares, two-thirds of which are covered by the sea. This is definitely the place for travelers, who not only want to be in touch with the wonderful creations of nature, but also want to relax by the sapphire waters. Yes, although these five islands are under the “national park” umbrella, they are able to offer a unique experience, which can only be found on their shores. Gaya is the largest one in the park, and is covered with a thick blanket of virgin forests. Manukan is the most popular, and has the most developed tourist facilities. Mamutik might be the smallest, but is the perfect spot to get a glimpse its coral reefs. Sapi Island (a.k.a Cow Island) is the best place to snorkel and scuba dive. And lastly, the untouched island of Sulug is where visitors come to rest in complete silence.
Besides the usual water related activities, travelers can also explore the park’s surroundings by taking a mangrove walk. For those who prefer taking a more informative journey, they can visit the Marine Ecology Research Center, which focuses on Giant Clam propagation and coral restoration, or the Marine informative museum, and take a hike along its nature trail.
The marine park is accessible via a speedboat ride at the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal in Kota Kinabalu, and the rates vary, depending on the island you want to visit. Majority of the travel cost is around 23 MYR for adults and 18 MYR for children, but can be expensive if you plan to visit more than one island. The park is open from 8:30AM to 5:00PM and the admission fee costs around 10 MYR for foreign adults and 6 MYR for foreign children, and 3 MYR for Malaysian adults and 1 MYR for Malaysian children.
What our experts tell about this experience.
When I saw that there was going to be a Marine Park, I knew I had to go. It's different because I can just relax and have fun under the water, snorkeling and observing the pretty coral reefs. I'm already planning a second trip, but bringing along a friend to make it even more fun.