Escape into Nature – Gaya Island Resort, Borneo

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Have you ever considered holidaying in Borneo instead of Bali, Ko Samui or Phuket? Probably not! So, we decided to give you a list of reasons on why you should take your next vaca-break in Borneo, which, by the way is the third largest island in the world, not to mention the largest such in Asia. Nevertheless, Borneo is a favourite with true-blue adventurers, who are keen to explore the rainforests and get up-close and personal with the wildlife.

The scenic Gaya Island Resort is hidden away on the Gaya Island, within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and YTL Hotels, the resort excels in island escapology with immaculate accommodation by way of the Kinabalu Villas, Canopy Villas and Suriya Suites overlooking mountains, mangrove canopies and rolling hills.

Aiming for holistic health, R&R? Get up early in the morning and join the yoga sessions. Transform yourself into a spa enthusiast at the Spa Village: with the menu of amazing treatments, you’ll not want to leave the spa anytime soon. The spa programmes reflects the cultural healing traditions of Sabah's indigenous people and includes specialised rice scrubs and age-old treatment practices of the Bajau sea nomads.

Guided by the resident marine biologist, snorkel your way around the reefs to take a good look at the marine life; explore the clear waters around the Mamutik and Sapi Islands; and go kayaking in the 100-year-old mangrove forest. The Kinabalu Park is dotted with villages; meet the Dusun natives at Kampung Himbaan Kundasang. Trek through the Kinabalu National Park or go on a cruise to neighbouring island on board the resort’s private yacht Little Princess.

Food enthusiasts could sign up for Sabahan culinary adventures with the chef; it does wrap up with a communal-style food tasting!

Getting there: Fly in to Kota Kinabalu International Airport; the land transfer from the airport to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal takes less than half-an-hour. A quicker way to arrive at the resort is by a speedboat (from the ferry terminal).


Smitha Sadanandan