Island Hopping in Borneo

Just off the coast of Malaysia‘s Kota Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a popular spot for visitors to go island hopping in Borneo. This daytrip from Kota Kinabalu is a good choice if you’re looking to go snorkeling in crystal clear waters, partake in some water sports, or just kick back on a white sandy beach.

Island hopping borneo

It is possible to get to the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park by public ferry, but we were lucky to be invited by tour operator Amazing Borneo to join them on their Beautiful Twin Islands Hopping Tour.

Our first stop was Manuakan Island, the second largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, and the most developed. And by most developed, I mean it is home to the Sabah Parks Headquarters, a couple of shops, a restaurant, changing rooms and toilet facilities, beach barbecues, and even a small hotel, the Manukan Island Resort. Not bad for an island that is just 1.5km long and around 300m wide.

Manukan Island Borneo

After just a 15-minute ride in the speedboat from Kota Kinabalu’s Sutera Harbour, we arrived at Manukan Island. The first thing that struck us as we jumped off the boat and made our way down the long wooden jetty, was just how amazingly clear the water was. It was like looking into a tropical fish tank. There was an abundance of different fish, all perfectly visible from the jetty.

Manukan Island jetty

The second thing that we noticed, unfortunately, was the enormous amount of jellyfish. While our guide assured us that they were unlikely to give us a nasty sting, there were just too many of them to risk frolicking in the water with a 5-year old and 3-year old. A huge shame as snorkeling on Manukan Island is the main reason to come.

We also had about three hours to kill on Manukan Island before our boat came back to pick us up, so we quickly looked around for other options that didn’t involve swimming with jellyfish. First we took a stroll along the beautiful beach.

Manukan Island Beach

Then we played on the beautiful beach.

Playing on manukan island beach

Next we went exploring to find the 3-kilometre round-trip jungle trek that takes you up to the lookout… but soon discovered that flip-flops weren’t going to cut it (you should bring some better walking shoes with you if you fancy doing this hike).

Manukan island jungle trek

And then my five-year old came up with a great idea. “Let’s go up in that parachute”, she said. There are plenty of watersports activities on offer on Manukan Island – and paragliding is one of them. So we took my 5-year old daredevil up on her challenge – and off paragliding we all went! Including my 3-year old! So much fun.


Adrenaline-inducing activities over, it was time to move on to our second stop of our island hopping in Borneo trip – Sapi Island. Sapi Island is tiny – just 500m long by 200m wide – but that doesn’t impact its popularity. We were a bit disappointed to discover that we had to share our little slice of paradise with several hundred other daytrippers.

Sapi island beach

Despite this, we were happy to see that there were no jellyfish surrounding the white-sand beach here, and so, although the visibility wasn’t quite as good – we got to take the kids snorkeling finally, which they loved.

snorkeling sapi island

A great end to a fun day out.

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Island hopping Borneo

Mum on the Move were guests of Amazing Borneo for the tour. This did not influence my review in any way, and all opinions expressed are honest, and my own.


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