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.
'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
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.
When to visit
I had the most amazing spa treatment in one of their over water sala's down by the beach, or if you prefer visit their jungle spa for a treatment in the heart of the rainforest.
Bunga Raya Resort is located on Gaya Island, a pristine coral reef island off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Borneo.
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.