Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island) - Part 1, Kota Kinabalu

Pulau Tiga which is also known as Survivor Island because the once well-known "Survivor", British reality series had their shooting in this island as their first season. Well, to my surprise, still not many of us know about this island which is just located in Kota Kinabalu. The reason I am saying this is because I am the only Malaysian that is joining this trip on that day out of 30 pax. Even the tour guides acknowledged my claim as well.
We did discussed among the tour guides but we did not have any concrete conclusion. There are few speculations which are because the price for a Pulau Tiga Day Trip is very expensive for the locals. Some says the government is not promoting this island well enough because they always promoting Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park which consists of 5 islands which are Pulau Sulug, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Gaya and Pulau Mamutik. The other says this is a privately owned island and usually government do not make extra effort on promoting private islands. They need to do their publicity themselves.
Some relic found near the island. The trip here I have to agree that it is really expensive. It can goes up to RM360.00/pax for a day trip. That is incredibly ridiculous. If you do a little more survey, actually you can find it at RM200.00/pax only for the same itinerary. No matter what the price is, they will require at least 6 pax to go to the island. Or else you can try your luck like I did which is putting down your name in the waiting list. Once they got enough pax for that day, they will go.
Different tour agency will depart from different jetty. The cheapest is to depart from the Sutera Harbour and follow by Jesselton Point. The most expensive and the most time wasting is to depart from Kuala Penyu jetty. You need to take at most 2 hours land transfer to reach the Kuala Penyu jetty and from Kuala Penyu jetty to Pulau Tiga will just take about 40 minutes. So the total travel time KK - Kuala Penyu - Pulau Tiga is at most 5 hours and 20 minutes for a return trip. My advice is to depart either from Sutera Harbour or Jesselton Point because most of us will stay in a hotel near that area. The boat ride will take much longer time which is at most 1 hour 45 minutes per way (largely depend on the sea condition at that time). Usually the sea is a little rough when on the way back from Pulau Tiga.
Since this is a private island, so there is only one resort available here which is the Pulau Tiga Resort. Staying here is not cheap since it is a private resort but when you think about it that you are one of the few who is accompanying the beautiful island alone, I think somehow you will feel glad about it. If to compare with staying at Pulau Gaya and Pulau Manukan. The numbers of visitors visiting those islands are just too many.
The rate is starting from RM400/night. It depends on the season as well. You will see the price is slightly higher during school holidays period.
To compare with another private island near Kota Kinabalu which is known as Pulau Sepanggar, The water here is much clearer and more beautiful corals to be seen. However, our snorkeling trip is not happening by the beach. It is done from the boat. The boat will depart to the snorkeling site for us to dive. That may sound scary to those who are not good in swimming but do not worry because life jacket is provided. 
Off we go to the sea for snorkeling. If you would prefer diving instead, there is a dive center in Pulau Tiga Resort. Each dive cost RM100 (inclusive equipment rental) and you may take at most 3 dives for a day trip. The diving cost is not inclusive in the package so you have to pay separately to the resort. I am not sure how is dive site like in Pulau Tiga, I might come back again for a diving trip.
Basically, you got a mask, snorkel and the life jacket included in the package. If you want a fin, you need to rent from the center for RM20/day. Quite expensive but their fin is a good quality ones.
If you are still too afraid with the sea, the tour guide would be happily assist you and take you along with him. He will bring his own food to attract the fishes to you. Sometimes I find them "over friendly" so for those girls, please know how to protect yourself. If you do not like, just say it. If you don't or too afraid to offend them, they will treat that you like it and will do even more. Just a little advice from me.
We get to dive in two different snorkeling sites. I can say the sea is amazingly gorgeous!  I like the turquoise color of the sea which gives you clam and peaceful feeling. There are only hard corals in the snorkeling sites. Not a lot of amazing fishes to be expected if you are already a diver. If you are new to this, you will be pretty impressed with what this island got to offer to you.
Pulau Tiga is one of a group of small uninhabited islands in Kimanis Bay off the western coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The islands were formed on 21 September 1897, when an earthquake on Mindanao caused a volcanic eruption near Borneo. The island is 607 hectares in size and has a couple of active mud volcanos at the highest part of the island. Pulau Tiga is one of the three islands that make up Pulau Tiga National Park. The Park Headquarters are on the island, comprising an office complex, and accommodation for the park staff and visiting scientists.
After a long day, the tour guide will prepare the food for you. It is a BBQ buffet. There are fish, squid, hot dog, chicken wings and prawn. Basically, you get to eat till you drop. 
I would prefer them to put some honey in it to enhance the taste. Well, I can't ask for more because I can say the tour guide is not really friendly towards the local. They are more friendly towards the foreigner because they might get some tipping from them. Locals don't tip.
The excess of food will be devoured by these monitor lizard. It is really a wastage of food but they cook just too much for all of us. Their portion can feed more than 50 pax.
Overall, this island is an amazing experience for us. The resort is facing the sunset where you get to see the beautiful sunset if you are staying overnight at this resort. I will definitely come again with my boy one day for a night trip.
Stay tuned for the Part 2 about Pulau Tiga. I will bring you other activities that is included in this package so that you will find that RM200/pax is actually more than worthwhile. 

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