Marine paradise on Gaya Island
Loved for its fantastic snorkelling and swimming, Pulau Gaya is special amongst Borneo’s islands in that it also boasts several accessible wildlife trails through the rainforest, and a small canopy walk. Just 15 minutes off the west coast of Sabah, with idyllic white beaches sandwiched between dense jungle and deep blue seas, Gaya is a beautifully balanced blend of jungle adventure and tranquil island retreat.
What to expect on Gaya Island...
Richly eco-diverse, Gaya is one of five islands comprising the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Its forest is home to long-tailed macaques, hornbills & monitor lizards, while its coastal waters safely harbour seven of the world’s eight giant clam species, amidst a profusion of colourful reef-life.
The island gets its name from the Bajau word ‘Gayo’, meaning ‘big’ - at 15 square kilometres, it’s the largest of the five islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Although it's covered with dense virgin rainforest, that certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be roughing it, as Pulau Gaya boasts three luxurious resorts.
Gaya Island Resort offers an all round indulgent experience; by day you can snorkel, swim, cruise the ocean or relax in the unique spa, which is set in the mangrove swamps. By night, take to the roof top terrace for a seafood dining experience and the chance to absorb the atmospheric nocturnal sounds and starry stillness that make Gaya, in our opinion, one of the most magical places in Borneo.
For absolute rest and relaxation, the Bunga Raya Resort’s luxury stilt-mounted villas, stunning hilltop jungle spa and 24 hour room service make for a truly indulgent tropical island experience.
At the nearby Gayana Marine Resort you'll find the Marine Ecology Research Centre. It isn’t huge, but it is a nice way to learn about the work being done to replenish the coral reef and protect the clams, and what you learn will certainly enrich any time you spend snorkelling around Gaya. You’ll get the opportunity to touch and hold local sea life such as starfish, and you can even adopt and plant your own coral.
Also based at the resort is the Marine Ecology Research Centre. It isn’t huge, but it is a nice way to learn about the work being done to replenish the coral reef and protect the clams, and what you learn will certainly enrich any time you spend snorkelling around Gaya. You’ll get the opportunity to touch and hold local sea life such as starfish, and you can even adopt and plant your own coral.
As well as the abundance of colourful marine life, Pulau Gaya’s tropical rainforest is home to a veritable treasure trove of exotic wildlife so when you’ve finished in the water, do take time to explore the jungle. Look out for beautiful long-tailed macaques, hornbills and monitor lizards amongst other things.
Location: Sabah, Borneo
Duration: as long as you like
Accommodation: a choice of three luxurious resorts
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'Borneo isn't all about the rainforest; experience a whole different side to this diverse location with Gaya's clear waters, thriving marine life, and luxurious eco-friendly accommodation."