Last Updated on Saturday, 31 August, 2019 10:02:53 PM

ISLANDS OF BORNEO > Sabah Islands > Pulau Gaya




Pulau Gaya

Gaya island occupies an area of 15 km² (3,700 acres 1,500 ha) with an elevation of up to 300 meters.
Only 10 minutes off Kota Kinabalu City.
Gaya island is the largest island in TAR park covered with dense virgin, tropical forest reserve since 1923.
The island has 20km of hiking trails.
Three 5 star resorts named
1) Gayana Eco Resort, home to the Marine Ecology Research Centre
2) Bunga Raya Island Resort on the north-east part of the island.
3) Gaya Island Resort
Sabah Parks, the body charged with protecting the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, is headquartered on the south-eastern part of Gaya Island in a bay shared with the Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures dive station.
A development on the edge of Gaya island nearest to Sapi island is also used by Sabah Parks and offers a small, quiet beach for public recreational use.
Gaya island is also known for a legendary beach at Police Bay.
The 400 metres (0.25 mile) stretch of white sand, gently slopes out to the sea and makes Police Beach ideal for swimming in the crystal clear water. Police Beach fronts the upmarket Bunga Raya Island Resort.


The coral reefs along the entire coast of Gaya island are in excellent condition, making it a surprisingly good diving destination, considering its proximity to Kota Kinabalu city.
Pulau Gaya was the site of the English colonialist's British North Borneo Company's harbor until the site was razed by Mat Salleh in 1881. After which British North Borneo Company move the harbor to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu City).
Mainly uninhabited and protected as Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
But the eastern shore squatter an international disputed illegal Filipino colony territory, the "Kampung Lok Urai".
"Kampung Lok Urai" is a water village of 5,000 stilt houses along the beach. They live there happily even thought Malaysian and Sabah state governments do not officially recognize these illegal immigrants from the Philippines and their village is considered a dangerous high crime area by the police and Malaysian city people.
However this village is the main source of cheap labour supply to the economy of Kota Kinabalu City.
The houses are linked by walkways of weathered planks but new houses spread seaward each year with sanitation problem spreading toward the city. Fires wiped out half of Kampung Pondo 2 times in 1994 and 1998.
The speedboat owners of the village are kept busy, ferrying schoolchildren, then housewives, then traders who sell craftwork at the Filipino market in town.


Gaya Island Resort

YTL Hotels will open the Gaya Island Resort in Borneo on July 1, 2012.
Gaya Island is located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), it is the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
Gaya Island Resort is a launching pad to discover Borneo, which offers beaches, diving sites, rainforests home to many rare species, including orangutans and proboscis monkeys.

Gaya Island Resort will incorporate elements of Sabahan architecture and contemporary design complete with modern amenities and Wi-Fi capabilities.
The resort comprised of 121 spacious stand-alone hill villas with a view of the ocean and Mount Kinabalu, starting at Rm 600 per night. The resort is easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu International Airport and is a 30-minute combined car and speedboat ride from the airport.

The resort offers a unique PURE program, which immerses guests in the vibrancy, scents, textures, sounds and tastes of the natural environment and cultural heritage of the region through four paths --

1) Discovery,
2) Vigour,
3) Creativity,
4) Balance.

1) The Discovery path will take the curious through land and marine explorations, such as scuba diving, island hopping, nature walks and private yacht charters.
2) Vigour is designed to initiate movement and will include activities such as kayaking, paddle surfing and jogging.
3) The Creativity path nurtures creative expression through intriguing activities, such as handicraft classes, storytelling session of local tales and a Borneo culinary journey.
4) Activities in Balance enable guests to focus on restoring peace to the psyche by traditional Borneo spa treatments or meditating to the soothing sounds of natur

YTL Hotels to Open Gaya Island Resort Off of Borneo :
The first turtle rescue centre in Sabah

Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre is operated by YTL Hotels.

The rescue centre is located at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which also carries out coral reef restoration and marine conservation education programmes. The resort's marine biologist, Scott Mayback

Gaya Island



To build 1,400 houses in 3 phases to cater for relocation of Pulau Gaya residents
To allow Pulau Gaya to be developed as a World Class Tourism Destination

• Development of the new houses for the illegal squatters maybe costly
• The relocation plan may require strong political will
• Identifying the Malaysians and Non-Malaysians (some of them claim to have Malaysian IDs)

Enablers Required to make it happen
• Co-operation from National Registration Department to identify residents
• Gazetting the vacant land at Kg. Gusi and Pulau Gaya

Key outcome / benefit of this project
• Develop Pulau Gaya into a world class tourism spot

Boosting Tourism Attractions

• Relocation & Redevelopment of Pulau Gaya

• Ma’ang Hill Resort Development

• YTL Resort in Pulau Gaya

• Karambunai Integrated Resort

• South China Sea Place (Ming Garden)

• Development of Kokol Hill

• Gondola at Inobong Substation, Penampang

• Expansion of Diving Academy

• Tanjung Dumpil Resort

• Water Taxi, Sports & Maritime Centre

• Development of Wet Market / Safma


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