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Gaya Island Resort

Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo

Gaya Island Resort is a luxurious retreat just off the coast of Kota Kinabulu in Borneo. Backed by lush green forest, and facing sandy shores and cerulean-blue sea, offering beautiful views towards Mt Kinabalu, this is an idyllic place to unwind.

At a Glance

  • Gaya Island Resort is nestled into a lush hillside, offering wonderful views over the sea towards Mt Kinabalu

  • Gaya Island Resort has plenty of exciting activities, including walks with the naturalist and kayaking through mangrove forests  

  • The Spa Village is a tranquil haven, with a focus on traditional treatments using fresh, local ingredients

  • The beach in front of the resort is sandy but slightly narrow, however the resort also has another beach only a 5-minute boat ride away with a restaurant and wider shore

  • There are some great restaurant options including candlelit dinners over fresh seafood, and authentic Omakase-style Japanese dining    

Honeymoon, Adventure, Beach

Insider's View

Take the shuttle speedboat over to Tavajun bay for lunch and an afternoon snooze on the sandy beach there.

Scott Dunn team

Insider's View

Spending the day at Tavajun Bay is an absolute must. Their local cuisine is delicious and with only a few dishes on the menu, it makes it easy to choose. The jungle does a good job at giving you some shade too.

Scott Dunn team

Insider's View

Upgrade to the Kinabulu Villa for the best views.

Scott Dunn team

Insider's View

Make sure you book an evening at Omakase – Gaya Island's Japanese restaurant. There is
limited dining space and it is an experience not to be missed.

Victoria Reynolds

Call us on 858 345 1762 to start planning your vacation to Gaya Island Resort or take a look at our itineraries to Borneo


With a relaxed atmosphere, plenty of activities available, and only a 30-minute journey from Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island Resort is a great location to start or finish any Borneo itinerary. The island lies within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which is home to a number of coral reefs and plenty of marine life. The resort has two house reefs just off the jetty, which can be explored on guided snorkeling tours or at your own leisure.       

The accommodation is located up on the hillside, with 120 villas and one suite. The design is sophisticated and modern, using natural materials. All of the air-conditioned rooms have spacious en-suite bathrooms with large bathtubs, and verandas looking towards the rainforest or sea, furnished with day beds.   

Gaya Island Resort has a great choice of restaurants. Feast Village offers a vibrant atmosphere, serving a diverse range of international dishes. Fisherman's Cove is perfect for a romantic evening, offering delicious fresh fish and seafood. For an exciting and authentic Japanese dining experience, head up the hill to Omakase. The Pool Bar and Lounge is also a pleasant seafront spot for light lunches and sundowners.

The resort has an enticing 40-meter lap pool down by the beach, and if you go in the opposite direction up the hill you will find the tranquil Spa Village, offering a range of treatments using local ingredients and techniques. The beach directly in front of the resort is on the narrow side, however the idyllic Tavujun Bay is just around the corner, and the resort offers shuttles throughout the day. The resort has a private beach here with its own Thai restaurant, or you can bring a gourmet picnic.

Gaya Island Resort has its own marine and wildlife centers, providing an interesting and educational opportunity to learn about Borneo's biodiversity. There are some fantastic tours with the resort's naturalist, including walks in the rainforest and kayaking through mangrove jungles.  


There are three different villa categories at Gaya Island Resort. Each villa is exactly the same in terms of size, it is just the view that differs. The Bayu Villas are located on the lowest level of accommodation. Whilst this means they have garden rather than sea views, they are closer to the main facilities. The Canopy Villas have partial sea views and are located on a slightly higher level and the Kinabulu Villas are on the highest level and have the best sea views. The Suria Suite has two en-suite bedrooms and an outdoor bath. Spread over two floors, the bedrooms are upstairs and the living and dining areas are downstairs.  


Children are welcome to stay at Gaya Island Resort, however this is probably a more suitable property for couples or families with older children. There are a lot of steps to reach some of the villas, and whilst some are able to interconnect, the number is limited therefore cannot be guaranteed. The Fisherman's Cove only welcomes guests over the age of 12.     


There are a number of dining options at Gaya Island Resort. Feast Village serves a diverse range of buffet and a la carte options. The Fisherman's Cove is the resort's romantic fine dining option, featuring a menu of fresh fish and seafood. Omakase offers a fun and authentic Japanese dining experience. The Pool Bar & Lounge is a good spot for a light lunch or watching the sunset behind Mt Kinabalu, cocktail in hand. If you take the shuttle to the nearby Tavujun Bay, the resort has its own restaurant here, or can provide gourmet picnics. There are also some lovely destination dining options available.

The resort has a 40-meter lap pool down by the beach. The Spa Village is a peaceful haven up on the hill, offering traditional and culturally-inspired treatments using fresh local ingredients.         


There is plenty to see and do at Gaya Island Resort. There are two house reefs close to the resort's jetty, which you can either either explore on your own, or on a guided snorkeling tour. There are also some lovely boat trips and kayaking adventures through the mangrove forests. back on dry land, it is possible to go on nature walks with the resort's naturalist, or why not visit the wildlife or marine center to learn more about their conservation efforts.

Location & Directions

Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo

Gaya Island Resort is located on the stunning Gaya Island on the east coast looking towards Kota Kinabulu with Mount Kinabulu in the distance in Sabah.

When to go

Like the rest of Malaysia, Sabah’s climate is hot and humid. Expect temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s throughout the lowlands. The state’s rainfall averages about 300cm annually and though it rains throughout the year, the heaviest rainfall generally occurs between October and January. At higher elevations the temperature is refreshingly cool, dropping to colder temperatures at night. Mount Kinabalu has its own climate and, above 3500m, temperatures can drop to freezing.

Best time to Visit

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Call us on 858 345 1762 to start planning your vacation to Gaya Island Resort or take a look at our itineraries to Borneo

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