There are several islands that are within a short boat ride (like less than 1hr) from Kota Kinabalu. After some discussion, we settled on Pulau Sapi.
There are very limited food options (if any) on Pulau Sapi, so be sure to pack some food for your trip there. The entrance fees were fairly neglible (~10 RM), and as we didn’t have gear, we also rented snorkeling equipment for about ~10 RM.
The waters here were clear, and there was some decent marine life (though not that much). It was a fairly decent swimming beach, with powdery sand by the beach, and clear, blue waters. The beach area is pretty small, though, as it is mostly forested. In fact, we saw a pretty big monitor lizard when we were having lunch.
Well, we got so preoccupied with snorkeling that we ended up with sunburn. Be generous with sunblock if you do come!
Some spikey sea creature – fine, I’m not good with names!