Gayana Eco Resort
Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo
Gaya Island, Sabah, Borneo
How many of you get a chance to caressing species such as starfish, sea cucumber or hold between your hands the hard, curved protective shell of a horseshoe crab? How many of us get a chance to plant a coral fragment to regenerate a damaged reef? And how many of us know that the unique physical feature of the body of the clown fish is coated with special mucus to protect it from the anemone’s toxic stings? The guides at the Marine Ecology Research Centre, MERC, near the Gayana Eco Resort have answers to these and more of your questions.
See The experienced guides at the Marine Ecology Research Centre, MERC allow us to get up close and personal to some of the marine life and we planted a new coral. Supported by the Gayana Resort, MERC is doing a great job in restoring the natural coral reefs and protecting the Island’s marine life.
“The reef regeneration plan is like planting tree saplings to revive a burnt forest” says Sonja my guide, “to see marine life and the effect of the reef here you must try snorkelling. You might see Nemo and all his cousins” he chuckles. It’s a perfect day for learning and adventure for children and adults alike. One small step by you could in a big way towards environmental protection and regeneration.
Sleep The resort itself is located in a secluded cove of the island. The 52 villas with private balconies either have astonishing vistas of Mount Kinabalu or look out into the expanse of the South China Sea. I met a family staying at Jungle view villa who absolutely loved it because their children could watch lizards and monkeys. All the Villas are kitted out with Frette linens, organic Harnn bath amenities, powerful rain showers, and a mini-bar. Wait until you taste the handmade lace cookies infused with palm sugar.
Dine At sunset, all roads lead to the second-storey Latitude bar. Built on stilts and open sided, it is a perfect spot for sunset cocktails especially when the first drink is on the house. If you fancy something good to eat then try Alu Alu, resorts main restaurant. It is reputed to be the area’s best Chinese seafood restaurant and people travel from Kota Kinabalu especially to eat here. There is a great choice of seafood, fresh from the resort’s own organic fish farm but enjoy specialties such as grouper with Cantonese sauce or spiced soft-shell crab. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Macac presents western fusion food with a distinctly Malaysian twist. Located by the resort's swimming pool, it is easy to enjoy your meal while relaxing by the water. Be sure to try their pizzas, made in the wood-fired oven.
Relax The Solace Spa draws on a combination of traditional Asian and western treatments with the world-renowned Kerstin Flovian line of products. Solace's trained team of therapists puts these materials to good use, applying them in a variety of massages, scrubs and facials.
Gayana's PADI Certified Dive Centre allows divers of all skill levels to experience these underwater marvels, such as sea turtles, clownfish, coral fish, whale sharks, and many more vibrant species of marine life. For those not keen on diving can try snorkelling, non –motorised water sports available or perhaps take a canoe and paddle amongst the Mangroves, the nursery for many tropical fish.
Kota Kinabalu is a short hop from Singapore, Hong Kong, Kaula Lumpur and Brunei. Arrive at the Kota Kinabalu airport and drive 15 minutes (2.5mi/4km) to Kota Kinabalu’s Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Gayana Eco Resort is reached by a private boat from this jetty, in the South China Sea. The boat schedules are fixed during the day so ensure that your flight fits well with the departure time.
Scheduled Boat Transfer
Gayana Eco Resort
The Lagoon Villa These villas offer breathtaking view of the sea and the Resort, made more spectacular in the night when the island's huts and villas are illuminated. Located on the lagoon, these villas feature King Size or Twin beds, a luxury bathroom with large showers and a balcony with sun beds. Capacity: 3 Adults, Total: 10 Units, Size: 65 sqm
The Mangrove Villa These villas provide a charming view of the island's tropical mangroves. These are perfect for those looking for serene surroundings to enjoy sightings of wildlife such as hornbills or sea eagles. These villas feature King Size or Twin beds, a luxury bathroom with large showers and a balcony with direct access to water. Capacity: 3 Adults, Total: 4 Units, Size: 67 sqm
The Rainforest Villa These spacious villas have a large outdoor deck fitted with plush seaside fittings. Expect to hear gentle chirping of cicadas and other birds. These villas are located in the tropical jungle and feature King Size or Twin beds, a luxury bathroom with large showers with a large outdoor deck. Capacity: 3 Adults, Total: 12 Units, Size: 95 sqm
The Ocean Villa Located on the water, these Ocean Villas have panoramic views of the sea with a private balcony that offers direct access to the water. Breakfast is delivered straight to your balcony by the special house boat. These villas feature King Size or Twin beds, a luxury bathroom with large showers and a large outdoor deck. Capacity: 3 Adults, Total: 18 Units, Size: 75 sqm
The Palm Villa The Palm Villa is a mix of Borneo’s simplicity and contemporary opulence. The villa features a glass floor expansive interiors and your own plunge pool. A private butler service can be booked in advance. These villas are located on the water with panoramic view of the sea. Rooms feature King Size or Twin beds, a luxury bathroom with large showers and a separate Double Bathtub with view of the Sea. Outdoor there is a large deck with plunge pool with access to sea and day beds. Breakfast is delivered straight to your balcony by the special house boat. Capacity: 3 Adults, Total: 8 Units, Size: 153 sqm
Preferred Family Certified
Taxes and fees:
Check in & Check out
Gayana Eco Resort
What to do Hiking/jungle trekking: Take a day’s walking tour that goes over 5 hanging bridges about few hundred meters above ground. On a clear day, you can even see Mt Kinabalu but the variety of flora is always impressive.
Snorkelling and Diving: This generally depends on the weather. On good days the water is very clear but can muddy when the sea is choppy. There are other better places in Borneo if you are keen scuba diver.
Water sports: The hotel promotes only non-motorised watersports that include kayak, paddleboat and paddle board. On good days the sea is crystal clear, the water warm and the white soft sand is lovely for beach soccer, volleyball or just lie down.
Boat charters: Ask the hotel concierge to organise sunset cruise or a fishing trip. The hotel may even cook some of our fish for dinner.
Where to go Take the 10-minute boat ride to sister resort Bunga Raya, which ramps up the luxe level a notch with its private beach, smart poolside scene and award-winning wine cellar. Active types will love the gym, jungle paths with canopy walk and zip-line.
From Bunga Raya explore the Lokawi Wildlife Park, Gaya Street Sunday Fair, Rasaria Nature Reserve, and Mari-Mari cultural village are other nearby family favourites.
MERC, the Marine Ecology Research Centre which is doing great work in preserving the marine environment. A trip to the facility is a worthwhile morning’s visit where you get to hold starfish or sea urchins and see sharks up close. Learn how the damaged reefs are restored. You can even do it yourself by paying RM 15.
When to go A good time to travel to Borneo is between March and September/October, even though Southwest monsoon brings in short burst of showers between May to July. A common climatic feature is bright early mornings, followed quickly by clouding mid-morning, which obscures the mountains by mid-day. Showers usually occur on the upper slopes in the afternoon. The driest season runs from April to October when the flowers around Sukau are in full bloom but even during this season, a good raincoat is a must.
In Sabah the main rainy seasons are from October to February when the rains come with the northeast monsoon. The distinction between seasons is not very marked and the rainfall is unpredictable but it is lowest in between February and April.
Visa & Health British passport holders do not require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of departure (for a maximum stay of 3 months).
No immunisations are required but it is recommended that injections for typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis are up to date. Malaria tablets may be advisable for adventurous, deep jungle treks in Borneo. We recommend that you consult your GP or a travel health clinic for advice on inoculations and anti-malarial prophylaxis.