There are several balmy islands just a short boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. Pulau Tiga one day tour is not the most popular island hopping tour from Kota Kinabalu, but it was definitely my favorite! Pulau Tiga is also known as Survivor Island because the TV show “Survivor” shoot here the very first edition.
National Park Pulau Tiga consist of three islands: Pulau Tiga is the biggest one; Pulau Kalampunian Besar is the Sand Spit Island which is basically white sand and pristine waters; Pulau Kalampunian Damit is a Snake Island, very rocky and snakes like to hide in there.
Why is it worth coming to the Survivor Island?
Pulau Tiga surround blue waters and coral reef perfect for snorkeling. There are plenty of naghty monkeys stealing iPhones and monitor lizards coming up close to get some food. Even though it’s forbidden to feed wildlife, they already got spoiled by the food left by humans. Island is also famous for the lush green forest where you can do a jungle trek during the trip.
The highlight of the whole Pulau Tiga one day tour is the volcanic mud bath which was so much fun! There are 3 mud volcanoes on Pulau Tiga with unique in Sabah geology features. Don’t miss that! There are showers, so don’t worry that you will be coming back dirty. Let me tell you the whole itinerary for Pulau Tiga one day tour, and you will want to go there straight away!
Pulau Tiga one day tour itinerary
The pick up time is between 7 30 and 8 am so that everyone can reach the Jesselton Jetty at 8 am. To Pulau Tiga you will need one hour from Kota Kinabalu, or even more if the waves are big and the boat has to go slowly. At first we arrived to the Snake Island and went to search for snakes. We found one sleeping under the stone.
Snake Island is rocky and tiny, so we quickly moved to the next point: The Sand Spit Island. This one was like out of the movie with the turquoise waters and fish swimming in it. I loved to walk on the white sand to reach the end of the island and see the view of the Snake Island from there.
Finally, we reached Pulau Tiga at 10 30. We changed our clothes and hopped on the boat again for snorkeling. The boat took us to two spots around the island with a rich coral reef. Plenty of colorful fishes including Nemo, looked just mesmerising. If you are lucky, you may also encounter a sea turtle. We came back for lunch around 1 pm, and I was amazed by the food they served! Barbeque fish, crabs and shrimps were so delicious. There were also some veggies and grilled chicken. The monitor lizards stared at us while eating but it’s forbidden to feed them and any wildlife on the island.After lunch we got our energy back and were ready for a jungle trek. Optionally, we could just chill on the beach and work on our tan. However, after enjoying the enzyme bath in Indonesia I was so curious to try the mud bath for the first time. OMG! How hilarious it was to see people moving in the mud like hippos. The mud is black, and getting in feels a bit disgusting but once you are there, it’s so much fun! The mud is so thick so that you cannot move fast, it looks even more funny in slow motion.
The best thing is that you can actually sit, just rising your legs and the mud is lifting you up. Such a weird feeling! Almost like I was floating on the Dead Sea in Israel. There are some ropes inside, so you can pull them to move faster or perform some crazy movements in the mud. Going out is another story, because you are slippery like a fish and there is 1 kg of mud in your pants. It took a bunch of laughters to take everybody out of the mud and still, some people accidentally slipped in again. LOL! 😀
We took a shower near the toilets as taking mud to the sea will harm the corals. We left the island around 3 30 and arrived back to the jetty around 5 pm as the waves were quite big.
Pulau Tiga one day tour practical tips
From the things you need to bring, please remember about the sunscreen and hat, as well as a towel. There are showers on the island, but please respect nature and do not bring any chemical toiletries here, only organic shampoo and soap. If you are planning to have a mud bath, it’s smarter to take dark clothes/swim suit, because the mud can be hard to wash off the white clothes.
You may want to hike some paths on the island as Pulau Tiga is famous for the real, exotic jungle. You will have some free time after lunch when you can either relax on the beach or take your time for hiking and mud bath. The hike around the island takes 6 hours, so you cannot do it during the Pulau Tiga day tour, but it’s possible to do a short trek while you are there.
The boat is small, so it was quite an adventure to go on the bumpy waves, much better then any luna park I have been because real and more scary. If you are sea sick, sit on the back of the boat. The crew will take a good care of you and entertain you until you start laughing again.
Overall, I can highly recommend Pulau Tiga one day tour as it was lots of fun and beautiful nature as well as marine life. After visiting the Philippines, I thought I won’t find such a stunning lagoons and paradise beaches here, in Borneo. How much I was wrong! Pulau Tiga is definitely the highlight of Kota Kinabalu tours. I also went for other day tours from Kota Kinabalu: Mengalum Island and Kawa Kawa river cruise. All with 1 Tour Adventure agency which helped me to organise everything. If you are looking to see their offer, check the website directly.