The Tunku Abdul Rahman park comprises a group of five islands located only 20 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park offers easily accessible and popular diving apart from being an extremely convenient day trip destination. The five idyllic islands, Manukan, Mamutik, Sulug, Gaya and Sapi have soft white beaches and are teeming with fish and coral, perfect for beginner divers as well as snorkellers and picnickers. Gaya and Sapi Islands also have hiking trails through their pristine jungles.
Gaya is the most untouched and diverse, with wildlife said to include wild boars, macaques, proboscis monkeys, pangolins, and monitor lizards. The other islands' land fauna is mostly limited to birds and small lizards, though Sapi is said to have macaques. The islands are mostly covered with broadleaf tropical forests, and there are also some pine trees.
Not offering the drop-offs and chances of large pelagic encounters that its counterparts offer (although whale shark sitings between March and April are not uncommon), diving consists of hard coral gardens, sandy bottoms and sporadic coral bombies. Due to the water conditions, the Marine Park off Kota Kinabalu is an ideal place to learn to dive before heading off to many of the more famous spots in the area.
The Hanging Garden (Clement Reefis located on the eastern side of the massive Pulau Gaya, which is the biggest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The dive goes down for about 20 metre maximum depth and the visibility is surprising good. Among the notable hard and soft corals that you can see are the Sarcophyton and Dendronephthya soft corals, various types of sea anemones, Porites solida corals, rarely-seen bubble corals (Plerogyra flexuosa), etc.
The main highlight of this dive site was the astounding varieties and sizes of the sea fans that it offers. As for the sponges and sea slugs, this dive site did not fare badly at all. There is a number of the common barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria) and pale-blue tube sponges (Kallypilidion fascigera).
The North Sulug Reef is located on the southeast on Manukan Island. Average Dive depth is from 12 metres to 20 metres and the water quality is fairly good. South side of the reef is pretty murky, occasional turtle sighting, shallow compare to north ones. North reef will have possibly everything you can get in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. From catreef shark to nudibranches. Lobster, frogfish, etc.
The Mid Reef is one of the best dive sites in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Mid Reef name as the name suggests, is a submerged reef detached from the island.This reef offer several species of healthy hard coral, anemones and sponges. One can see string rays on the beautiful sandy patches and clownfish playing around in the anemones. Often divers may spot morey eels, lionfish, scorpionfish and many other small reef fish.
Police Bay Known as Police Bay or Bulijong Bay, this popular dive site is located towards the north of Pulau Gaya. A beautiful white sandy beach provides an excellent spot to relax after the dive around the bay. Staghorn corals are predominant at depths from 10 to 20 metres and the terrain gradually slopes to a sandy bottom. Densely populated with small reef fishes, wrasses, nudibranchs and stingrays, and if you are lucky, you may spot the odd lobster scavenging for food on the sandy terrain.