Pulau Tiga is part of a small group of uninhabited islands located in Kimanis Bay off the western coast of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. The island is also referred to as Survivor Island, as it was the location for a reality tv series filmed there. The island has plenty to offer adventurous travellers from snorkelling, scuba diving, trekking, mud bathing and best of all true escape from modern life, with limited WIFI its the perfect place for a digital detox and enjoy a much slower pace.
Pulau Tiga translates to island three in Malay and is referring to the three humps seen on the island from a distance. Formed after a volcanic eruption towards the end of the 19th century, it is the youngest island in Malaysia’s stretch of the South China Sea along Sabah’s west coast.
The island is one of three islands which make up Tiga Island National Park, the other two islands are called Kalampunian Besar and Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island), known as snake island as it’s a breeding ground for a variety of snakes.
Pulau Tiga has several forest trails but the most popular one being the trail to the islands mud volcanoes, with its mineral rich mud bubbling away. Pulau Tiga has some great snorkelling and scuba diving spots with vibrant coral and diverse array of marine life. The island has lots of wildlife species with a variety of eagles and hornbills, macaque monkeys, monitor lizards as well as other snakes, reptiles and insects that all call the island home.
Pulau Tiga Resort
The island has limited accommodation, there is a Pulau Tiga Resort which has 23 wooden chalets and rooms or there is the luxurious boutique Borneo Eagle Resort which has 13 villas available. There is also a small campsite available for people to pitch a tent, however with so many macaques and monitor lizards roaming around, I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel sleeping in a tent?!
You can visit Pulau Tiga on a day trip from Sabah, however, I would recommend that staying overnight on the island. We stayed at the Pulau Tiga Resort for one night and loved the place, the island was so quiet and relaxing. We had the beach to ourselves which was absolute bliss, and even when we went through the jungle on a trek we hardly saw anyone. If you want a break from modern day life then this is the place to come!
Pulau Tiga Resort is an amazing place to stay, we absolutely loved staying there. The price of this accommodation may seem expensive for a basic chalet however the price does include breakfast, lunch, dinner and bottled water as well as your boat transfer to get to and from the island. We also got picked up from our accommodation in Kota Kinabalu and driven to the jetty.
The chalets are simple but have everything you need for a comfortable stay with a bed and hot shower and a veranda to sit out on, just be aware of the macaques roaming around, one even tried to get into our room!
Even though it’s a little on the pricey side for one night we honestly would do it again as we had the best stay! I just don’t think visiting the island on a day excursion is enough time to enjoy it fully.
Transport & Getting Around
To get to Pulau Tiga is quite straight forward it’s about a 2 hour drive from Kotu Kinabalu to the Pulau Tiga jetty in Kuala Penyu. The boat to the Pulau Tiga Island takes another 40 minutes. I would suggest booking through Amazing Borneo as they offer 1 day trips and the overnight trip. Once on the island, there aren’t any roads and everything is accessible by foot and hiking trails.
Must Do Itinerary
- Snorkel & water sports
- Volcanic mud baths
- Pagong-Pagong Beach
- Larai-Larai Beach
- Walk around the whole island (6 hours if you have time)
- Batu Barung also known as Bird Rock
- Take the boat to Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island)
I would recommend taking plenty of reef-safe SPF lotion and bug spray as the island doesn’t have any shops, and it’s covered in jungle. Be very careful when walking around the island and try to avoid the wild macaques, and don’t carry food on you as they will try and take it.
- Language: Bahasa Malaysia
- Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
- Exchange Rate
- Laws & Customs
- Safety & Security
- Visa Requirement
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