Gaya Island (Pulau Gaya) is the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, about 10 minutes off Kota Kinabalu city. Pulau Gaya derived its name from the Bajau word "Gayo" which means big. The Bajau tribe call the island Gayo as the island is biggest than the other island. Gaya island occupies an area of 15 km² (3,700 acres) with an elevation of up to 300 metres. Several ridges rise more than 600 feet (180 m), peaking at 1,000 feet (300 m), along the backbone of Pulau Gaya. Pulau Gaya covered with dense virgin, tropical forest. It has been a forest reserve since 1923. The island has about 20 km of hiking trails and several 5 star resorts like Gayana Eco Resor and Bunga Raya Island Resort on the north-east part of the island. Gaya island is also host to a very large (and growing) stilt village (water village) located just opposite the Kota Kinabalu waterfront. This village is occupied by illegal immigrants and is considered a dangerous, high crime or "no-go" area by the police and locals. The coral reefs along the entire coast of Gaya island are in excellent condition, making it a surprisingly good diving destination.



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