The largest island within the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Pulau Gaya is also the closest to the city of Kota Kinabalu and home to the best hotels within these emerald waters. Covered in dense virgin jungle, Gaya Island is fringed with palm clad beaches and is home to a number of bustling water villages built on stilts in the largest bays. Hidden within the tropical fauna on their own secret beaches lies the boutique luxury of our favourite hideaways; Gaya Island Resort, Bunga Raya and Gayana Marine.
The crystal clear waters off Gaya are excellent for snorkelling and diving. Donning a mask and fins and going under may lead to an exciting encounter with some of the famous local residents – the sea turtles, as well as blue ringed octopus, black tip reef shark and if here during November to February, the majestic whale sharks. With so much life below the waves, the island is also an important conservations site with the resorts home to their own Marine Centres where you can learn about the work being undertaken to recover the reefs.
Gaya Island makes the perfect base to relax, rejuvenate and reflect on an epic Borneo holiday, or simply wind down between stops along the way.