Sabah: Tunku Abdul Rahman Park – Islands

When you are in Kota Kinabalu, you must spend at least one day in the sun and by the sea!   Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (aka Jesselton Point) has five islands which you can go hopping to snorkel and swim.  

Hmm, shouldn’t it say “TAR Park says goodbye to you” instead of “KK welcomes you” coz we are seeing this from inside out of the entrance. 
Just trying to be naughty here.  Hehe.
This sign says Jesselton Point but we were told this is Tunku Abdul Rahman Park!
There are many restaurants on both sides of the walkway into the jetty where we found our boat.
Let’s look at how you can do it:
1) pay individual fee (do your own arithmetic to do comparison if you should charter boat, okay?)
or
2) charter a boat, which max to 12 person per boat
The above are standard prices when you check out at one of the counters there.
Our chartered boat belongs to Andy @ 016-8382201, was recommended by our driver.
We paid only RM280.00 (life jackets included) for 3 islands instead of the standard price of RM350.00
Mask / snorkel was charged at RM10.00 each (standard price).
Call him a day before your trip to make your booking.
Don’t know if he will give you the same price!
All the best!
Note:
Only 3 of the 5 islands are popular so it may not be necessary to go 4 islands hopping.
Honestly, two islands may be good enough.
Compulsory fees you have to pay (one time only) other than for the boat above:
1) Terminal Fee + tax (before you board the boat)
2) Marine Park Fee (on the first island)
Keep your tickets.  You need to show them when you enter the other islands
Note:
Once the boat is chartered, the boat is used solely by your group only, with no time limit.
If the boatman requests if he could take one or two person from one island to another, he is actually trying to earn extra at your expense because he will charge those people individual fees.
Things to bring:
1) Beach mats or newspapers.  Even if you did not, there are many benches and chairs at the beach.
2) Sunblock is a MUST!  Especially when you snorkel from one island to another. 
(Make sure you apply on every part of your exposed body!)
3) Your dry clothes – there are shower rooms on the islands.  No extra charge!
4) Pack some food for snack and lunch.  Don’t forget to bring your water bottle!
5) Yes, your waterproof camera and/ or handycam too together with your batteries!
You do not need to go through agents with all sorts of island packages/ pax!
They will bring you to the same places and do the same things!  Trust me!
This is our chartered boat!

You can find this board at the entrance into the island(s).
See how many species of the fish you can sight!
A wide angle view of the boat ride.
If you are not an expert swimmer, wear the life jacket when snorkelling!
Better float to watch the fishes swim than let the fishes watch you sink! 
Ahahahah!
Yeay!  We sighted one of the species!
The first island we stopped by was the Mamutik Island.
There are lots of colourful fishes and corals in the clear water.
You can even find nemos there!
Tips:
Just swim a little further or into deeper waters, float for a little while and the fishes will swim around you.
If you are at shallow waters, you can try throwing bits of bread to lure the fishes to swim to you.
Beware
Feeding fishes is an offence.  If you want to do it, do it with small pieces and do not get caught!
The second island we stopped at was Sapi Island.
Show tickets at entrance, if someone is there to check you.
There was not many fishes here, compared to Mamutik Island.
However, we sighted a sea urchin under a rock!  See!
Later, we found out that this island is popular for sea walking.
Yup, that means we could only see more fishes when we do the walking!
Fee/person
Malaysian Adults @ RM180, Children @ RM150
Foreigners @ RM250
The above charges are advised by Borneo Seawalking Sdn Bhd,
014-3574070 or 88-236860, 
which office is at Sapi Island itself.
Look!  There were more fishes at the Sapi Island’s jetty than where we snorkelled!
We should snorkel at the jetty instead; if only it is allowed!
Let’s look at some “interesting” signages found on the islands:
Eh, they really have lifeguards at the islands; just like BayWatch!  Hehe.
Yah, swim at your own risk!  And don’t step/ stand on the corals!  They will die!!
This one is more scary!  
When it says “stingers”, it means jelly fish, sea urchins, lion fish, stone fish, scorpion fish etc.
Some candid shots of the fishes in Manukan Island.
Look at the orange fish!  So shocked to see the camera!  Hahaha!
Look at this one!  Swam at the right spot at the right time!  Smile!
All these fishes were blur blur, not knowing we were taking their pictures!
We took the above pictures at the Manukan Island’s jetty.
The first boatman told us there were nothing much on this island and sent us directly to Sapi Island.
He went missing after that and Andy (the boss) had to send another boat to complete our island hopping!
We paid for 3 islands, remember? 
We did not snorkel here because we already took our bath at Sapi Island!  Sigh!
Our fee paid included boat ride to round other islands and coral sightings.
The above island is a deserted island; nice scenery, yah?
See the remaining of some wooden frames on water (on the left side of the picture)?
The boatman said that it used to be somebody’s house by the sea. 
You believe?
This boatman took us to see corals.
Got corals meh?  No matter how hard we look, they looked like big rocks only.
Did this boatman fool us ah, I wonder???
(No pictures lah!  Cannot see mah!)
Reached the jetty to get back on land!
End of the day’s adventure in the sun and by the sea!
Have you been here too?
Any experience you like to share?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Hye there,Great info. I have few queries and appretiate if you could reply.If we buy the boat ticket to the islands, do there includes life jacket as well? can we use it for the snorkeling or do we need to rent it separately?By the way, which island you would suggest to visit? manukan, mamutik or sapi? oh ya can we bring our own food to the island? from what i heard the food are expensive at the island.Thanks

  2. Zul, if you read my post again, you will find answers to all your question lah! Hehe..Anyway, I could only answer from my experience:1) I assume you intend to buy individual boat ticket. a) About the life jacket, I believe you can negotiate with the person at the ticket counters (which are different companies competing with each other).b) Honestly, they are pretty flexible and kind people there. Try your luck and you may be able to wear the lifejacket to snorkel and after your bath, wear another dry life jacket back to the TAR Park. NOTE: If you rent a boat from the the same guy we did, the life jackets came free which we used to snorkel and changed to a dry one after we took our bath.2)If you are interested in sea walking, Sapi Island will be the choice. If you are interested in snorkelling, either Mamutik and Manukan Island are better choice.3) We packed our food to the island and had lunch there. There is no rule that says you cannot bring your own food to picnic at the islands.Hope you find the above useful. Have fun and wonderful time there! Feel free to update here after your trip!Enjoy!!!

  3. Hello….just want to know ur opinion…among the 5 island at TARP..which is the best for snorkeling….

  4. Rashdan, out of 5 islands the more popularly promoted islands are Mamutik, Manukan and Sapi.Those were the three islands we visited so I have no idea about the Gaya and Sulug islands.As far as the 3 islands we visited, in my opinion, Mamutik and Manukan are better choices to snorkel.Hope you find the info useful. Feel free to update here after your trip!Enjoy!!!

Have a Happy Day! ;D

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