We often fantasize about frolicking in the crystal-clear waters of Krabi and of romantic getaways in the Maldives, but little do we know of the seaside treasures right next to us here in East Malaysia! Peek through our list of 10 stunning islands in Sabah, and we guarantee you’ll be booking your next flight within the hour! 🌴😍
1. Sipadan Island
Of course, this list will have to be started off with Sipadan Island, one of the more infamous islands in Sabah and Malaysia’s most popular “secret” diving destination. 😍 It’s centered in the Indo-Pacific basin which is known for its exceptionally high richness of different species, so expect to see huge HUGE schools of fish like barracuda, turtles galore and reef sharks!
The island was formed by corals growing on top an extinct volcano mound which lends to its steep drop-offs. Truly the crown jewel of Sabah, Sipadan is at the top of most international diver’s list and for good reason. 👍
2. Mabul Island
Just 15 minutes away from Sipadan is another beautiful island in Sabah. Meet Mabul Island, a fishing village turned diving site famous for muck diving! While this term may sound awful, it’s actually just shallow diving in sediment-heavy areas and is perfect for catching glimpses of tiny exotic critters. Think blue-ringed octopus, eels and colorful little sea slugs! Most of the resorts here are also built over stilts! 🤩
3. Gaya Island
Gaya Island is part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. What really caught our attention is the, wait for it…longest island to island zip-line in the world! Also known as flying fox, the one here zips you from Gaya Island to Sapi Island at 55km/hr! Another highlight here is also Police Beach, a long stretch of beautiful coastline (but don’t worry, no police here!) 😅
4. Mengalum Island
Now, this is one Sabah Pulau that is truly remote and less-trafficked. The sands here are so pristine and white that you wouldn’t believe your eyes. As for the waters? Crystal-clear sky blue. We’re not kidding! Just google “Mengalum Island” and you’ll see why we rave about this beautiful beach in Sabah so much. 😍
However, this island is increasing in popularity among tourists from China so make sure to experience it in all its untouched glory before the crowds begin to trickle in! 😁
5. Bodgaya Island
The biggest island in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, expect no sand beaches or resorts here. Instead, most tourists make it a point to stop by here on the way to Bohey Dulang Island to experience the way of life of the Bajau Laut, the sea gypsies of Malaysia.
They live a truly unique lifestyle where life goes by on houses of stilts, hardly ever setting foot on land. As city dwellers, just being able to witness their way of life is truly an eye-opening experience. ❤
6. Si Amil Island
If you want to play your part in not contributing to the rise of population in Sipadan and its neighbor Mabul Island. Or if you simply want a secluded Sabah island for your diving activities, This hidden beach in Sabah called Si Amil Island is the place to check out!
With no permanent residents there nor tourism activity, you can set your mind at ease that you can be one and alone with nature. There are four main diving points here. East Point, Celebes Reef, Maratua Reef and Jeffery’s Reef. It’s also said that there is an abandoned vessel of sorts from WWII! 😁
7. Pom Pom Island
Home to a luxurious resort with both on-ground villas as well as water villas, this would make for a beautiful honeymoon vacay! (All air-conditioned, of course!)
If you’re looking for a more high-end all inclusive getaway comprising of afternoon diving, evening massages and nights at the bar, Pom Pom Island should be on the top of your list! We also love the fact that the resort plays its part in conserving marine life with their turtle hatchery! 😍
Tip: Set aside an afternoon to hop over to the nearby Timba Timba Island! One of the most secluded islands in Sabah!
8. Kapalai Island
Less “island” and more “chalets built over the sea”, Kapalai island is a luxury water village of sorts situated on a sunken sand bar. Just a couple minutes by boat from the ever popular Sipadan island, Kapalai is popular among honeymooners, newly-weds as well as for wedding purposes.
We can see how this romantic destination would be the perfect place for a pre-wedding shoot! Oh so dreamy! 😍
9. Tiga Island
This hidden gem of Sabah is also known as Survivor Island thanks to a reality TV show of the same name that was filmed here! Like the name, (tiga means three in Malay!) there are three islands here. Tiga Island, Sands Spit Island as well as the deadly Snake Island.
Tiga Island is a must visit for its natural volcanic mud which you can immerse yourself in. Sands Spit island is a beautiful stretch of sand. Long, narrow and untouched. And lastly, Snake island! This tiny little island is home to tons of deadly sea snakes! There’s also a very interesting legend behind the story of these three islands in Sabah, but that’s for you to find out! 😁
10. Bohey Dulang Island
Even if you’re not a hiker, diver or birdwatcher. Bohey Dulang is a MUST VISIT in Sabah! What really sets this island apart from all the rest is the breathtaking panoramic view you get from the peak of an ancient volcano which erupted 2.5 million years ago.
Do as the rest do by hiking the short 600m nature trail up to the peak and witness firsthand this majestic view. Also home to a giant clam museum/hatchery, abandoned pearl cultivation centre and exotic birds, Bohey Dulang is truly like none other. 😍
Which island sounds like your dream paradise? 😍 Is it the rich marine life of Sipadan island? Or perhaps you’d prefer the pristine white sands and serenity of Mengalum Island?
Instead of spending a small fortune on overseas trips, we can contribute to our own country’s economy!
Let us know, which one are you more likely to go with your him/her? 😎😙