Whenever one enjoys a sunset off KK, the view tends to be improved by the five jungly humps of Manukan, Gaya, Sapi, Mamutik and Sulug islands. These swaths of sand, plus the reefs and cerulean waters in between them, make up Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, covering a total area of just over 49 sq km (two-thirds of which is water). Only a short boat ride from KK, the islands are individually quite pretty, but in an effort to accommodate the ever-increasing tourist flow (especially large numbers of Chinese), barbecue stalls and restaurants now crowd the beaches. On weekends the islands can get very crowded, but on weekdays you can easily find some serenity. Accommodation tends to be expensive, but most travellers come here for day trips anyway, and there are camping options.
Diving in the park (especially around Gaya and Sapi) – with a dizzying 364 species of fish found here – may bring you into contact with blue-ringed octopus, black-tip reef shark, shape-shifting cuttlefish. And, if you're here between November to February, it's possible you might sight a whale shark. Borneo Dream and Downbelow both run PADI Open Water diving programs on Pulau Gaya.