Gaya Island is the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, closest to downtown Kota Kinabalu within 6 km and 10 minutes from the city of Kota Kinabalu. The island is covered with a dense virgin, tropical forest. It has been a forest reserve since 1923. The name Gaya came from a Bajau word 'Gayo' which means big. The island is 3,700 acres in size and has an elevation of up to 300 meters. The island has 20 km of hiking trails and two 5 star resorts named Gayana Eco Resort, home to the Marine Ecology Research Centre, and Bunga Raya Island Resort on the north-east part of the island. Historically, Pulau Gaya was also the site of the English colonialists British North Borneo Company's harbour, razed by the folk hero Mat Salleh on 9 July 1897. In recent years, there has been a plan to turn Gaya Island into a city island and tourism hub. A cable car line has also been proposed before to connect with the city centre.
Direct international flights from major destinations around the world to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) are available via Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia. From the airport, you may take a taxi to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal where it takes 20 minutes’ drive from the airport to the terminal.
Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal is the most popular public ferry terminal in Kota Kinabalu City Centre. You can take a boat ride to Gaya Island where it takes 15 minutes to reach the island. The boat service can start as early as 7.30 am and the last boat will be at 4 pm.
From Kota Kinabalu City you may take taxi or city bus to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. From the terminal, you can ride a speedboat to Gaya Island.
There are a lot of excitement activities you can explore during your stay in Gaya Island. You can join the Gaya Island Resort programs to enjoy snorkelling and diving at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park lie within The Coral Triangle, known as the world’s marine epicentre. Programs are conducted around 5 islands within the marine park.
Marine Ecology Research Center is located in the Gayana Eco Resort. The program focuses on Giant Clam propagation and coral restoration. The Marine Biologists at the MERC offers insights to visitors to help create awareness on the importance of taking care of the environment. The MERC is open to the public for day trip visits.
If you enjoy exploring marine life, the Down below Adventure Centre is the place for you. This is true whether you are an experienced scuba diver or a novice. Qualified guides will help you spot seahorses, giant turtles, “Nemo” fish and numerous other marine animals. Instructors are available for those who have never gone scuba diving before, and therefore regardless of who you are travelling with, the entire group can go on this fun excursion.
Many visitors enjoy the Coral Flyer zip-line, which actually goes from Gaya to the neighbouring island of Sapi island (Pulau Sapi). The latest technologies and the highest construction standards have gone into the Coral Flyer to bring to you one of a unique zip line experiences to be found anywhere on earth. Well worth the wait even if there is a line, you will never forget the amazing views from the Coral Flyer zipline.
You can take a boat ride to downtown Kota Kinabalu where it’s just 10 minutes from Gaya Island to visit Gaya Street (Sunday Market). You may shop everything here from everyday clothing and accessories to freshly ground Borneo coffee, freshly baked Sarawakian cakes, Sabah snacks, herbs, batik sarongs, fruits and flowers, arts and craft, footwear, antiques and souvenirs.
Staying at Gaya Island Resort is a perfect choice when you are visiting Gaya Island. This 5-star resort situated directly on the beach only 5 km of the Likas Stadium, Sabah State Mosque, and the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. In addition, Wisma Merdeka and KK Esplanade are located within 2 km of the resort. Then get a precious and unforgettable moment during your stay at Gaya Island Resort.
Well-positioned in Gaya Island, Gayana Eco Resort is the ideal point of departure for your excursions in Pulau Gaya. Only 8.3 km away, this 5-star hotel can be easily accessed from the airport. A haven of rest and relaxation, the resort offers a full-service health spa, where you can indulge in a variety of treatments. In addition, there are four on-site restaurants, children’s programs, kayaking and diving excursions for those who wish to sign up, and a heated swimming pool. Enjoy luxurious treats and incomparable experience by staying at Gayana Eco Resort.