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March 29, 2012 |
Off the western coast of Sabah, about 20 minutes from Kota Kinabalu by speedboat, lie the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Covering some 4,929 hectares of land and sea, the islands of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sulug, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sapi were gazetted as a National Park in 1974.
Accommodation is available on three of the islands. There is an international standard resort on Pulau Gaya offering luxurious chalet accommodation. A rest house is available on Pulau Mamutik while Pulau Manukan offers several wooden chalets, public shelters, a restaurant and picnic tables. Camping facilities are also available, and permission should be obtained from the Ranger-in-charge, Sabah Parks.
To visit Pulau Layang-layang is to encounter an oasis of enchanting marine life and tropical allure. Located 165 nautical miles northwest of Kota Kinabalu, the ovalshaped island is nearly 7 square kilometres wide and 1.2 square kilometres long.
Pulau Layang-layang has adequate accommodations for those wishing to stay. Visitors can choose between chalets or a resort hotel.
Those who want to cruise around the island or dive might find it more convenient to check with a tour operator. Usually the tour price includes rental of equipment, experienced guides, in addition to accommodations, meals and transportation.
Northeast of Sabah lie the Turtle Islands of Pulau Selingan, Pulau Gulisan and Pulau Bakkungan Kecil. Located approximately 40 km from Sandakan, these islands are famed for the Green and Hawksbill turtles, which are found in the surrounding seas and come ashore to nest on the beaches all year around. The Turtle Islands were gazetted a National Park in 1977 to protect the turtles from extinction.
The surrounding sea also supports an abundant coral garden. Add to this, pristine waters and unspoilt beaches, the islands are ideally suited for diving, swimming and picnicking.