ISLAND hopping in Kota Kinabalu (KK), Malaysia, isn't really the highlight of our trip. It wasn't special and to be honest, I believe Philippines has better beaches. But the beach person that I am, we went anyway. So here's an honest breakdown on our island hopping in KK.
While walking at the waterfront near the iconic Marlin Statue, Rovin (not his real name), a Filipino living in KK, approached us and offered us an island hopping tour. Since it's a lot cheaper than the usual tours we found in the internet, we decided to get his number and go with him the next day. He asked for 50 MYR per person per island. It's up to you what island you want to visit. We decided to visit the 4 main islands: Manukan Island, Sulug Island, Manukan Island and Sapi Island.
Take note that Ruben isn't really a licensed tourist and that's why this way of island hopping is inexpensive. Are you willing to take the risk? If yes, message us if you want to get his number. You don't really need to book him months or weeks for the tour, tho. Actually, you could just walk around the waterfront area and people like Rovin will walk up in front of you and offer you different kind of tours.
There are a lot of people on this island. There's a resort here. There's a part of the beach that I wanted to hang out at but it seemed that it was only for the customers that are staying in the resort. The part of the beach for the day-tourers have a lot of stones and just plain meh. We didn't stay long here. Nicole swam and I just soaked in the heat of the sun and slept. It was nice tho.
If you're with the licensed tour, the entrance for the resort is inclusive with the payment (thus, expensive). Rovin just told us to walk pass the reception and go along with the flow of tourists.
If it wasn't for the pesky sand flies and a lot of junk in the island, this is the best beach for Nicole and I. I think this was the only island with no entrance and fees whatsoever. It was just a naked island.
We took our time taking photos but with a great cost. The sand flies' bites are hella itchy afterwards! They look like boils and are super duper itchy the next day! That explains when we arrived at the island, there was literally no one but us (which we loved until the bites and itchiness started).
It was already a little bit late and we just looked at the resort and left. Set up is the same with Manukan. There's an entrance fee which we didn't pay. Every time we entered a resort, my heart pounded like crazy! I don't do illegal!!!
When we got to Sapi Island, tourists are already heading to their boats to leave (since the last boat going back to KK is around 5 p.m., I guess). We trekked through a path going up to witness the sun set for the day.
Unfortunately, it was hella cloudy that day. But nonetheless, it was a beautiful sunset. I noticed that sunsets in KK are way better than our sunsets in the Philippines. But all sunsets are beautiful anyway.
Final thoughts island hopping in Kota Kinabalu
Sunset in Sapi Island | The Kid Wanders photo was taken with Note 4.
Save money and skip the island hopping and go directly to Sapi Island if you're just going for a day tour. We recommend staying until the sun sets.
The sea water in Sapi Island reminds me so much with Sugba Lagoon's water.
If you haven't been to Siargao yet, read our post now and plan now! It was so blue (but sadly, as I said, we arrived really late in the afternoon and we didn't even take a dip because we were sunset chasing).
I can't say anything about the resort in Manukan Island. It's probably best that you do your own little research. But if you're like us who likes to visit places regardless of "negative" reviews of others, read this interesting post here and visit each island and be more adventurous than we were.
Will upload complete set of the Island Hopping in Facebook Page. So stalk us there! (Lovelle Liwanag)