Bunga Raya Island Resort
Islands and Beaches, Borneo, Malaysia
At a Glance
'Bunga Raya' is the Malay Bahasa word for 'hibiscus', the country's national flower, and each villa is named after a different variety
For complete privacy, opt for one of their Tree House Villas reached by a jungle walkway high up among the tree tops, and with incredible views across the bay
Bunga Raya boasts a stunning jungle spa, which is set high up in the rainforest and accessed by its own suspended bridge
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a wine buff, then venture down to Bunga Raya's own award-winning wine cellar, which is considered to be one of the best stocked wine cellars in the whole of Malaysia
With a stunning mountain backdrop Bunga Raya is the perfect retreat for the more active traveller, with amazing treks and hikes on offer in the most beautiful surroundings
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
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.
Call us on to start planning your holiday to Bunga Raya Island Resort or take a look at our itineraries to Malaysia
Set on a picturesque island off the coast of Sabah in Borneo, Bunga Raya is a stunning and secluded island hideaway. Framed by a crescent of white sand beach in a tranquil bay, and backed by centuries-old virgin rainforest, Bunga Raya is rather special.
Situated on Pulau Gaya (Gaya Island), just off the coast of Sabah's capital, Kota Kinabalu, Bunga Raya Island Resort is a luxurious and laid back property. Boasting stunning accommodation and a beautiful location on a white sand beach with a rainforest backdrop, Bunga Raya is the ideal spot to end your adventures in the wilds of Borneo.
Each villa has been hand crafted by local tradesmen. Terraced into the hillside, the design reflects traditional Bornean architecture, with local timber and simple but stylish soft furnishings, all blending seamlessly with sophisticated modern comforts. Private balconies offer wonderful vistas of the beach below and the South China Sea beyond.
Bunga Raya boasts some fantastic dining options, including the Pantai Restaurant and Bar with its laid back, beachfront setting, the Longhouse, an alfresco restaurant serving authentic local cuisine and The Longhouse Wine Cellar offering the largest wine selection in the region; there is something to suit every taste.
The resort has a large infinity pool with stunning views and a beautiful jungle spa, where each pavilion is entwined amongst the natural boulders and rainforest. For those feeling adventurous, there is a zipline through the rainforest. It is also possible to explore the local area with a guided jungle and mangrove walk, looking out for the amazing flora and fauna that cover the island, from tropical hardwood trees and forest flowers to hornbills, monkeys and lizards.
There is also plenty to see and do on the beach and in the sea. There are non-motorised watersports such as kayaking and hobie-cat sailing, and there is great diving and snorkelling on the reefs that surround the island. The PADI Certified Dive Centre, located at the resort's nearby sister property, is fully equipped to address the needs of both the novice and experienced diver, and the local waters are home to a myriad of species, from sea turtles, giant groupers and clown fish to colourful corals, trigger fish and occasionally the majestic whale shark. The nearby Marine Ecology Research Centre is a must-visit for those interested in the underwater ecology of the area, where you are able to actively participate in restoring the vibrant life back into the ocean, with their coral and Giant Clam projects.
Bunga Raya has 48 private villas. All of the villas have modern amenities, including air-conditioning, LCD TVs and an in-room safe. As an extra treat, they all also feature a complimentary minibar (excluding wine).
The Superior Villas are scattered throughout the hillside above, with a mix of jungle and sea views. The Deluxe Villas have even more space, and allow you to enjoy the splendid island views from your bedroom or extended lounge. Plunge Pool Villas are sea-facing, and offer a good-size private plunge pool. The Treehouse Villas are ideal for honeymooners, accessed by a jungle walkway to your private hideaway, with an intimate outdoor Jacuzzi or plunge pool and a comfortable lounge.
The two-bedroom Deluxe Suites are ideal for families, with king-size and twin bedrooms, surrounded by lush jungle with views of the South China Sea. The three-bedroom Deluxe Suite is perched at the highest point of the property, with jaw-dropping views of the sea. This unique two–storey hilltop retreat has an expansive master bedroom with a giant bath and two downstairs bedrooms with a wrap around deck and an indulgent plunge pool.
Children are welcome to come and stay at Bunga Raya and they will love the Robinson Crusoe setting. There are no specific facilities for them except babysitting, however there are family-friendly accommodation options including the two and three bedroom suites.
Bunga Raya has two restaurants. The Longhouse is the resort's main restaurant, serving local and international dishes all day in an alfresco setting. The Pantai Restaurant and Bar is on the resort's sandy shores, offering delicious fresh meat and fish, as well as relaxed options such as salads, burgers and pizza. For something rather special, enjoy a private dining evening at The Longhouse Wine Cellar, which houses over 4,000 bottles, or in the Pavilion, a romantic setting by the beach.
The resort has a lovely infinity pool, with beautiful views towards the sea. There is also a gym and heavenly spa.
Whilst Bunga Raya is the perfect place to simply unwind, there is also plenty to keep you busy should you wish. The resort's nearby sister property has a Padi Certified Dive Centre, and it is also possible to snorkel on the rich coral reefs around the island. There are non-motorised watersports including kayaking and hobie-cat sailing, and beach games such as volleyball and football.
Make the most of the wonderful rainforest setting with guided nature trails and canopy walks. For an extra adrenaline rush, the resort also has its own zipline through the trees. Guests are invited to visit the nearby Marine Ecology Centre to learn about the local eco-system and the ongoing conservation and restoration projects. It is also possible to participate by joining in the coral replanting project.
Katie Kennard (Staff)
Bunga Raya, located in a private cove, with a beautiful beach stretching a good kilometre in length. As I stepped onto the jetty, I could tell I was in for a treat, with hibiscus trees dotted along the full stretch of the jetty and stunning coral in the water below me, surrounded by fish. Bunga Raya has two restaurants, an incredibly large pool and the most exceptional sand on the beach. I have to say, I think its the nicest sand I have walked on. There is excellent snorkelling and a lively bar, serving happy hour for guests too. The location of Bunga Raya really sells it, along with its incredibly spacious bedrooms.
Clare Barratt (Staff)
A resort with a wonderful rustic feel to it, I found it hard to leave. Perfect for a few nights or even a week or two! Bunga Raya has arguably the best location on Gaya Island, hidden away in a bay with a gorgeous white sandy beach front and lovely clear water. The villas are scattered throughout the resort and they all have quite a private feel to them. Plunge pool villas have a beachfront location, a little less private but great views! There are two restaurants at the resort a western style grill and fusion one but you can also take a boat across to Bunga Rayas sister property, Gayana, which has a great seafood restaurant too.
Victoria Hogg (Staff)
Deep in the South China Sea, Bunga Raya is a true gem perfect for those wanting to relax and rejuvenate after the excitement of Borneo's adventures. Boasting some of Borneo's most luxurious accommodation, Bunga Raya is made up of traditional style villas hidden away on the remote Gaya Island, 40 minutes off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. As soon as I stepped off the boat onto the beautiful jungle surroundings, I was so excited to explore what this idyllic retreat had to offer. Spend your days lying by the stunning main swimming pool, or relax on one of the most inviting beaches on Borneo, with gorgeous golden sands and crystal clear waters. For the more active you can enjoy treks deep in the jungle, take a kayak out for the day or explore the marine life with some fantastic snorkelling on offer; and if you are a keen diver, it also boasts it's own PADI Dive Centre. However you enjoy spending your days, Bunga Raya is the perfect retreat for both couples and families alike, wanting pure relaxation in luxurious yet traditional surroundings.
CL, July 2011 (Guest)
Bunga Raya was very quiet, but this suited us down to the ground, we had the choice of 3 Chalets when we asked for a change because ours was more set back than we would have ideally liked (and we had the rainforest feel at Borneo Rainforest Lodge). The service was top class as was the accommodation, attention to detail around the resort, the landscaping, and the care the staff took in all areas.
Kuala Lumpur, Sandakan, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley & Gaya Island
from £5300 pp inc flights & transfers for 12 nights
- This itinerary takes in some of the key wildlife areas in Borneo, but allows you to travel at a fairly gentle pace
- Finish the trip on the idyllic Gaya Island, where you can be as relaxed or as active as you would like
- You will have plenty of opportunities to spot the local wildlife, exploring by boat, jeep and on foot
Epic Malaysia and Borneo
Gaya Island, Kinabatangan River, Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi
from £4100 pp inc flights & transfers for 13 nights
- A great adventure perfect for those wanting to combine fascinating wildlife with beautiful beaches
- Discover the diverse city of Kuala Lumpur from the mighty Petronas Towers to the local Batu Caves
- Langkawi offers the perfect respite at the end of your holiday. Relax on the white sand beaches or discover the underwater world in the calm waters
Location & directions
Islands and Beaches, Borneo, Malaysia
Bunga Raya Resort is located on Gaya Island, a pristine coral reef island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.
How to get there
17-hour international flight (one change) to Kota Kinabalu International Airport. A quick drive from the airport will take you to the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, and from there, it's a 30-minute boat out to Bunga Raya. Airport and ferry terminal transfers can be easily arranged through the resort.
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- Award-winning tour operator