Spend a day on a tropical island in the South China Sea and do some good for the environment at the same time with a visit to Borneo’s Pulau Dinawan and the Ara Dinawan Research Conservation Centre. Lying a short distance off the coast of Malaysia’s Sabah State – just south of the capital Kota Kinabalu – this tiny island is still largely covered in well-preserved forest and ringed by lively coral reefs.
The Ara Project is involved in protecting marine and terrestrial environments on and around the picturesque island including establishing coral nurseries with funding in part coming from offering day tours of the island. On our recent visit to Pulau Dinawan, they provided us with guides, equipment and training (if required), for a reef snorkelling tour – as well as knocking up a pretty good barbeque lunch!
We take the scheduled 10.00 am boat from a pier just south of Kota Kinabalu City for the short (around 30 minutes) journey to the island and return around 3.00 pm with snorkelling on the reef, a nature hike around the island, kayaking or swimming in the turquoise waters or just admiring the view from a strategically placed deckchair on the day’s menu as well as aforementioned barbie and drinks breaks.
Despite Dinawan’s relatively easy accessibility Ara sensibly, strictly limit guest numbers per day meaning that the island isn’t going to get too crowded spoiling the experience and importantly instruction and information can be much more easily imparted and managed by staff members.
This great day out to the unspoilt island features on both our 8-day Borneo Sabah tour as well as our more comprehensive, 2-week, Borneo Adventure including both Malaysia’s Sarawak and Sabah states. An exploration of Borneo’s lesser-known marine flora and fauna also complements our jungle and national park sections and offer some contrasting landscapes to the steamy jungles of the interior.