The cluster of five scenic inshore coral islands called Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, lying between 3 and 8km west of Sabah's capital, Kota Kinabalu, had by 1979 all been declared the 'Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park' in honour of Malaysia's first Prime Minister.

The islands are covered with lowland forest and mangrove, which form a sanctuary for a variety of birds, insects, reptiles and small mammals.

The waters are mainly colonised by hard corals with isolated patches of black and colourful soft tree corals. Some areas have spectacular aggregations of lionfish and stonefish. The reefs lie in shallow water with little current, ideal for training novice divers.

A major surprise so close to a densely populated area is that during the cooler months from November to February, a build up of plankton attracts krill, which in turn attracts Whale Sharks, the world's largest fish. As many as five of these majestic animals have been seen in a circular formation, feeding. The Krill are so thick that the water is brown and the visibility terrible, in these conditions underwater encounters with these colossal animals can be frightening as they suddenly appear out of the gloom.

Among the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Pulau Sapi is the favourite for an easy day's diving. Though no deeper than 10m, the abundance of marine life along the 100m stretch of sandy bottom in front of the jetty has excited many marine naturalists and yielded many rewarding close-up images for photographers.






 

Payar Marine Park | Pulau Jarak | Pulau Perhentian | Pulau Redang | Pulau Tenggol | Pulau Tioman | Johore MarinePark |
Louisa & Royal Charlotte Reefs | Pulau Layang Layang | Dallas & Ardasier Reefs | Erica & Mariveles Reefs |
Pulau Labuan | Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | District of Semporna | Pulau Bohaydulong |
Pulau Pandanan | Pulau Mabul | Pulau Sipadan

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