Sojourners to Sabah Land below the Wind who are only here for a few days and want to enjoy the sea, sun and sand don’t need to go very far.
They can just take a taxi and visit the Tanjung Aru Beach, about 10 minutes drive from the State Capital Kota Kinabalu.
For those who wish to visit the islands, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is sited just off our State Capital, about 20 minutes on a boat ride.
The park established in 1974 is about 50 square kilometres. It comprises of five islands, mainly Pulau Gaya, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi and Pulau Sulug.
The Pulau Gaya has an area of 15 sq kilometres, with several ridges. It is the largest island of the park and closest to Kota Kinabalu. It is covered with dense tropical forest which is an interesting feature for tourists. There are trails there that can be utilised by bird watchers.
Pulau Manukan comes next as the second largest. It is a beautiful island and well liked by locals and tourists alike because of its stretches of sandy clean beach. The coral reefs are well worth looking at here. Manukan has been developed more extensively than the other island.
There are now chalets, clubhouses and restaurants as well as a diving centre in this island. Other facilities include water, electricity and telephone services.
Pulau Mamutik is the smallest island at 15 acres. Despite its size, the island has good beaches and coral reefs. There is also a jetty as well as changing rooms, toilets, picnic shelters, tables and barbecue pits. Fresh water and electricity are also available.
As for Pulau Sapi, it is about 25 acres in size and has one of the best beaches in the park. Pulau sapi meaning Cow Island is popular for snorkling and scuba diving. There are tourists’ facilities such as picnic shelters, barbecue pits, tables, changing rooms and toilets.
Sulug may be the farthest island of them all but the tranquillity that exudes from it is coveted by tourists who wish to have a quiet moment with nature. The 20 acres island also has good reef patches and can be an ideal place to snorkel leisurely. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is under the purview of Sabah Parks.-Sayangsabah.