How to Book Island Hopping in Kota Kinabalu – 2024

Gaya island Kota Kinabalu things to do in Sabah the backpacking family

If you are hoping to take an island hopping tour in Kota Kinabalu, you may be trying to work out the best way to book your trip.

Travel planning can be quite paradoxical. It is both exciting but at times it can be overwhelming and a little confusing. As a full-time travel family, we love to equip you with specific advice and information to help you plan your own adventures. We really enjoyed the island hopping trip from Kota Kinabalu, so we are excited to share this information to help you plan your own trip.

In this article, we’re going to share the cheapest and the best way to book your island hopping trip in Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping Trip in Brief

Island hopping in Kota Kinabalu drone beach

There are 4 islands that you can visit. Once you are on a tour, they will give you timings and provide a boat between the islands. Once you have booked your tickets, you just kind of need to go with the flow.

  • Gaya Island – the biggest island
  • Manukan Island – busy and developed
  • Mamutik Island – nice, small, quiet island with good snorkeling
  • Sapi Island – small and lovely island just next to Gaya

Most island hopping trips take around 5 to 8 hours depending on how many islands you visit. There are opportunities to relax on the beach, paddle, swim, snorkel, or even try water sports. To learn more about the Kota Kinabalu island hopping trip, don’t miss our full and in-depth guide.

How Do You Book Your Island Hopping Trip?

1 Book Your Trip at the Jetty

Island hopping in Kota Kinabalu Sapi island

The cheapest and best way to book your island hopping trip in Kota Kinabalu is to go directly to the Jesselton Point jetty (which is within walking distance from most guest houses and hotels in the center of Kota Kinabalu). When you arrive at the jetty, the ticket office is very obvious. You will find it is quite a busy place with a lot of locals hanging about. They are very friendly and eager to help (and of course sell you things).

Jetty Kota Kinabalu

If you turn up and purchase your tickets on the day, an island hopping trip will range in price from RM35 (roughly £7 or $10) to RM65 (roughly £13 or $15) depending on how many islands you wish to visit.

We recommend arriving nice and early to book your trip, ideally between 8 AM and 9 AM. The ticket counters open at 8 AM, with the first trip departing shortly after. Arriving early will allow you to avoid the busiest crowds and also make the most of the cooler hours of the day.

The price of the island hopping trip depends on how many islands you wish to visit. Here is an overview of the pricing system:

  • 1 island: Adult RM35, Child RM30
  • 2 islands: Adult RM45, Child RM40
  • 3 islands: Adult RM55, Child RM50
  • 4 islands: Adult RM65, Child RM60

These prices are fixed, so you don’t need to worry about bartering. Also, they do not have the typical Malaysian dual pricing system (which can feel very frustrating as a foreigner). So, you’re paying the same price as locals when you do this island hopping trip.

2. Book Your Trip online

Island hopping Kota Kinabalu boat trip

If all of this sounds like too much of a hassle, you can also book the Kota Kinabalu island hopping trip online in advance. If you are investing loads of money planning a dream trip to Sabah, you may well want to get your island hopping trip booked up in advance. It always feels nicer to know that your trip is sorted.

For example, you can book the two islands trip (Manukan and Sapi Island). This trip takes around 7 hours (8:30 AM – 3 PM). This trip costs £30 – £40 (or $35 – $50).

Price includes:

  • Admission to the islands
  • English-speaking guide
  • Lunch (this is not included in the price if you book your trip at the jetty)
  • Snorkeling equipment and life jacket
  • Boat transfer

It may feel risky investing money in a trip before you actually travel. The great news is that they have a fantastic free cancellation policy (free cancellation up to 7 days before the trip departs).

Do Kids Need to Pay for the Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping Trip?

Gaya island Kota Kinabalu Sabah

Yes, kids do need to pay for this island hopping trip. Children 3 years and above need to pay full price. Infants 0 – 2 years old are free of charge. Also, they have a minimum of two people per booking (which is frustrating if you are flying solo).

If you book your trip on Klook, you can also select an optional extra for hotel pick up (around £5 or $6). This is only a little bit more expensive than arranging a taxi in Kota Kinabalu and it may give you additional peace of mind.