Gayana Eco Resort

8 Most Popular Sabah Resorts For Holidaying

Sabah, being a region in a tropical country includes the endless list of exotic destinations. Hop on a three-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu to start your adventures. Enjoy your holiday in trail of pristine beaches, lush rainforest and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

To escape your busy city life or to just rejuvenate yourself, this should be your go-to place. There are more than enough lavish resorts and hotels to choose from as you make your way across Sabah.

These are the few amongst many that should be perfect for your holiday.

1. Bunga Raya Island Resort

Bunga Raya Island Resort ©


As sensual and fascinating as the hibiscus flower that bears its name, Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious jewel. It is set on a coral reef island just off the coast of Borneo.

A secluded island with 47 timbered villas, the resort is famed for white sand beach and virgin jungle. Hillside villas reflect the simplicity of the Borneo architectural style.

One can experience the finest Traditional Asian and Western treatments at a hilltop spa. Calm your senses through the restorative powers of indigenous plants and oils.

2. Gayana Eco Resort

Nestled at the edge of a mangrove forest in Gaya Island, the marine resort has 45 overwater tropical villas. The magnificent views of the aquamarine sea, mangrove forest or tropical jungle make it perfect for a relaxing holiday.

The villas are located on the crescent Malohom Bay off the coast of Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia. It is amongst the few destinations that strike a balance between ecology and indulgent luxury.

Gayana Eco Resort ©


Being an eco-resort, it has wooden houses. Each abode is designed in such a way that it enhances the lulling sounds of the surf beneath the villa.  This is the perfect place to unwind and to recreate.

This is also the only resort with the on-site Marine Ecology Research Centre. It advocates the conservation of the endangered giant glams as well as restoring the coral reefs.

This island resort is an ideal destination for a romantic holiday or a family getaway. From Kota Kinabalu, it is only a 15 minutes boat ride. It is a beautiful escape from the hustle-bustle of the regular city life.

3. Gaya Island Resort

Perched among the lush rainforest and white beaches, Gaya Island Resort can be reached by boat from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Kota Kinabalu International Airport is a short drive from the Terminal.

At Gaya Island Resort, time seems to take a pause. Breathtaking views, unique fauna, and flora make this place is irresistible.

Accessible only by boat, this paradise is a natural sanctuary hidden away in beautiful Borneo. Do not confuse it with Gayana Marine/Eco Resort.

This one is located at the pristine beach of Malohom Bay. Set within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, it is committed to ecologically-sustainable practices to minimize carbon footprint.

You will get to enjoy the wonders of Gaya Island here. For example, the sighting of proboscis monkey, a mangrove tour and witnessing rare flora and fauna.

Gaya Island Resort ©


The place is wrapped in luxury and has the theme, “intimacy with the natural world”.  Spread over acres of land, the Gaya Island Resort offers numerous activities to keep you entertained. The events include:

  • Handicrafts
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Sunset cruise
  • Traditional cooking
  • Movies under the stars
  • Swimming

If you are a person who loves silence then you can meditate or read a book in the resort library. One can stretch out on the beach, laze by the pool or simply wander around.

The three villas namely – Bayu, Kanopy, and Kinabalu, face the mountain view. It has 121 mansions and two-bedroom suites. Constructed with local materials, the island architecture blends seamlessly with its environment.

The amenities available are:

  • Laundry service
  • Free Wi-fi internet
  • Spa
  • Butler service
  • Outdoor swimming pool

The resort has a diverse menu which includes palate-pleasing and soul-satisfying local and international cuisines. The spa beckons with an array of pampering treatments like massages, etc.

4. Dream World Resort Kundasang Sabah

Dream World Resort Kundasang Sabah


The resort is placed on a fantastic refreshing hilltop. It encompasses the majestic Mount Kinabalu, the panoramic view of Kundasang and often times enveloped by misty clouds.

This is the place where one wants to be – a site amidst the clouds. It is so magnificent that it is often referred to as Heaven on Earth. It’s only 4 km away from Kundasang town.

There are ample of chalets to enjoy, restaurant to dine, with spacious lovely open deck. This is a place where one can view and enjoy the awesome beauty of the mountain and its surroundings

5. Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort And Spa

Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort And Spa ©


Settled at Kota Kinabalu, this makes a great stop for those who don’t want to stray too far from the city. Enjoy the comforts at this idyllic beachfront resort that is about 10 minutes from Kota Kinabalu Airport.

Alternatively, go island hopping from STAR Marina, the private jetty exclusively owned and operated by the resort. The neighboring islands are part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Enjoy the amazing snorkeling experience with tropical fish and coral in the clear blue water surrounding the islands.

6. Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu

Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu ©


This is an urban sanctuary in the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu. Lose yourself to the beauty of the Bornean sunset while sipping cocktails from the poolside bar. Get little knickknacks to take home and sample local cuisine at Gaya Street, just a 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel.

Ignite your senses with inspiring views of the scintillating South China Sea and an ideal location in the city center. Treat yourself to 5-star services and amenities, including:

  • Leisure outdoor pool
  • 24-hour local concierge
  • A stylish sunset bar
  • Functional spaces.

Enjoy a thoughtful range of perks, along with personalized experiences, sea view club lounge, and a reception and tour desk.

Indulge in nearby cultural fascinations. Complement your itinerary with distinctive local and international cuisine at our restaurants.

7. Poring Hot Spring And Nature Reserve

Poring Hot Spring And Nature Reserve ©


This is possibly the retreat with the best view in Sabah, located right at nature’s doorstep. Situated about 40km from Kinabalu Park, it is famed for its hot spring. It is a popular spot amongst hikers to soothe tired muscles after a long climb up Mount Kinabalu.

There are nine airy and spacious accommodation units with all the necessary amenities to rest your weary bones. There’s also a butterfly farm, orchid garden, several bird-watching spots to enjoy. You can go on a breath-taking treetop walk on a 43-meter tall canopy walkway.

8. Manukan Island Resort

Manukan Island Resort ©


Located on the second largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the place is an absolute beauty. It is surrounded by a protected coral reef, pristine rainforest, and beautiful white-sand beaches.

If you are an adventure enthusiast then an endless variety of water sports awaits you.  Vacationers can go on a glass-bottomed boat ride to enjoy the colorful marine life. On this island, it is all too easy to lose yourself in the tranquil beauty of nature.

The Sabah resort list can go on and on. The islands, beaches, rainforest, the natural beauty of this state is unmatched.

Whether you are an avid traveller or a nemophilist, this is the place that you shouldn’t miss. Surrounded by misty mountains, dense rainforests, scenic beaches it is a pure gem to be explored. The beauty of this landscape is so captivating that you would want to come over and over again.

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