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Gayana Marine Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Hips Info

Location : At a remote bay of Gaya Island

Design : The wooden villas boast elegant, timeless, tropical interiors

Food : A full board package that is guaranteed to add that few kilos at the end of the trip because you are entitled to an appetizer, a main, and a dessert on every meal

Comfort : Sleep tight after being lulled away by the sound of the waves and rainforest

Cleanliness : 10/10 for sure

Instagram Worthy : Definitely! If you are lucky, a selfie with the monkey would also be possible. Don't forget to bring the underwater camera housing to make your friends jealous with good underwater shots with the thriving corals and small wildlife such as starfishes, crabs and resident fishes.

A secluded resort that offers 45 overwater tropical villas, strike a balance between ecology and indulgent luxury

I can still remember clearly how excited we were, counting the days to get ourselves away from the bustling city life for a relaxing weekend being tucked at one of the Gayana Marine Resort’s overwater tropical villas.

The beautiful journey began at the Jesselton Point Pier. We checked ourselves in the lounge area and once checked-in, we headed to the waiting area. While waiting, Karl, the cheerful and friendly resort’s manager greeted all the guests while sharing bits and pieces of information about what’s waiting for us at our headed destination.

We left the terminal at 12 pm for a 20-mins boat ride where we got to enjoy the scenic view of the Borneo. Upon our arrival, the beautiful sound of Gamelan that was being played by one of the staff greeted us. A welcome drink was given to all the guests to quench the thirst.

I can see smiles on everyone’s face, I guess the feeling was mutual, everyone was ecstatic to see that the reality was as good as the pictures that are being advertised online.

We settled in our rainforest villa that faces green rolling hills of dense tropical forest. All rooms have spacious decks.

The staff warned us to always kept the door closed because our new friends – the Borneo monkeys love the villa as much as we do. They might come in uninvited to get the party started.

We freshen up and changed our attire to head to Macac Restaurant for lunch – the only restaurant that was opened throughout our stay. Other restaurants were closed, a hit from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Macac Restaurant offered various types of food. And with views overlooking the turquoise sea, we were more than happy to dine in at Macac for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A dine-in place that presents Western fusion food with a distinctly Malaysian twist.

The rest of the first day was spent at the swimming pool before the rain hits the island. After dinner, the sound of the waves beneath the villa lulled us into a deep sleep.

The rainforest sound was our alarm the next morning. It’s so serene and calming, unfamiliar for someone who’s used to the sound of car honking and construction in the city.

Our second day was filled with sea activities because guess what, equipment for the activities is provided free of charge. We started with snorkeling and like a kid, we were overjoyed to spot Nemo ( clownfish ). We spent almost an hour socializing with the small underwater wildlife. And there were also lots of coral reefs underneath that caught our attention.

Next, we went kayaking around the resort. The breeze made everything enjoyable. We stopped at the center of the resort for a good rest. That’s the best spot to see the whole resort! After a couple of good views, we kayak back to the activity center. The last activity for the day was paddleboarding. It’s tough with the strong current. It took us a while to paddle back to the activity center. Fun yet tiring. We doze off like a baby on the last night at Gayana Marine Resort.

Those who dive can discover the marvelous underwater world in the waters off Gaya Island. No license is needed as Gayana’s specially-trained PADI-certified instructors will lead you by the hand.

Another activity that you can plan if you are planning to visit this beautiful resort is jungle trekking. Embark on any of the various marked trails or take on the four-hour trek to Bungaraya Island Resort on the other side of the island, something we would be doing on our next trip here.

We woke up as early as 6 am on our last day. Managed to snap some good pictures of the resort before leaving Gayana. We embraced the peace that the resort offered for the last time.

A sense of sadness as we bid farewell to Gayana Marine Resort. We knew we would miss the scrumptious meals by Macac Restaurant. We would miss the rainforest and waves sounds that accompanied our day and night. And we would certainly miss being spoilt by Gayana’s family members, who attended to every little request made by us. But most of all, we would miss the serenity of this place, in our heart we whispered..

We will definitely come again! We already started planning the next trip activities – a visit to the Marine Ecology Research Centre(MERC) and jungle trekking. Until then, till we meet again…

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From RM 550 per night

Gayana Marine Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

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