From picturesque beaches to illegal settlements, the island of Gaya is home to diverse people, landscapes and history, which make a visit to its scenic shores perfect for any traveler. The well-known Police Beach boasts one of the most pristine stretches of white sand on the island, and travelers say it’s the perfect place to escape the chaos of city life and relax on sandy shores or take a dip in crystal blue waters.
A visit to nearby Kampung Lok Urai, a Filipino colony the state government refuses to recognize, offers travelers a different look at this storied island’s darker side. Located on the eastern shore of Pulau Gaya, Kampung Lok Urai is filled with stilt houses and walkways made of well-weathered planks. While it’s considered a high-risk travel area by police, it’s also home to a unique way of life found only on this popular island.
Pulau Gaya is located 10 minutes off Kota Kinabalu. It is the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Travelers can access the island from the Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal in downtown Kota Kinabalu.