Banggi Island, the largest island of Sabah

Karakit, Banggi Island
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Banggi Island I was taking a bus to Kudat last week. It was a 3 hour trip. A pretty girl, sitting next to me, fell in sleep and leaned on my shoulder for hour. She gave me a sweet smile when she got down the bus. I saw she was heading to the Kudat / Banggi Ferry Terminal, so I was curious if there were more pretty girls like her on Banggi Island.

Banggi Island
Pic: Ferry to Banggi Island from Kudat’s jetty

Banggi Island (Pulau Banggi) is the biggest island of Sabah. Before I went there, I only knew this island was a BIG dot on the Sabah map. That’s all. I never heard anything about it.

How to go to Banggi Island

To go to Banggi Island, you can take a ferry at the jetty of Kudat town (see schedule below). There are a few companies offers ferry transfer back and forth Kudat and Banggi. You better wait there earlier than departure time b’coz they may move a few minutes sooner.

Company Kudat → Banggi Banggi → Kudat
Banggi Express 9:00am 2:00pm
Sri Labuan Lima 2:30pm 8:00am
Pelican Express 2:30pm 8:00am
Labuan Express Tujuh 9:00am 2:00pm

*updated: 21 Feb 2014

In general, the Business Class ticket costs RM25 (≈USD7.58) per way (has air-conditioning), First Class ticket costs RM18 (≈USD5.45), Economy Class costs RM15 (≈USD4.55). For enquiry, you may call +60 19-8614006 or +60 14-8579480 (Vivie). There were a lot of 3-feet jelly fishes swam in the sea next to the terminal. I heard that a blogger fell (with his camera) into this sea before. Scary… they look very poisonous. Below is the location of the jetty:

View My Sabah Map in a larger map

Banggi Island
Click Here to see photos of Banggi Island >>

The ferry took one hour to reach Banggi Island. I was standing on the jetty and looked around. Hmmm… this island does not look anything like a tourist site. It is just an island, with some villages and building. The locals also looked at me, with the phrase “what is he doing here?” written on their faces. My 016 mobile line got no signal here. The fried banana is quite cheap though. Only RM1 (USD0.25) for 12 pieces, eat until I puke. The locals said I could rent a car to explore the island, and tourists usually went to this island for fishing. You can hire a boat to explore other islands nearby too. I only stayed there for half a day so I didn’t have time to do these.

Banggi Island

The local also told me there was a Bonggi Resort on the island. If you don’t know the way, it will be hard to find coz the resort looks more like a house. I post the guide below FYI.
Banggi Island
1. Turn right after you leave the jetty. Take the way next to the mosque.
2. Walk til the end, you will see two wooden shoplots.
3. Walk between the shoplots til the end, you will see a school.
4. The Bonggi Resort is a white building behind the school.

Banggi Island
Click Here to see photos of Banggi Island >>

To overnight, you have two choices in Bonggi Resort: (1) Take the fan / air-cond room for RM30 / RM45 per night, or (2) Try the wooden hut (Banggi people style) for RM25 per night. Option (1) got bed, attached washroom, cabinet. Option (2) got light and a bed only, washroom is outside. I was not comfortable with the wooden hut coz it got too many “holes”, very little privacy. Just check out the photo gallery to look at both options more closely. But the most interesting thing is the “tree house” I found outside my room. It is built on top of the tree, and tourists like to take a nap or reading book there. I went back to my room and tried to turned on the light. No power. They told me that the resort only got power from 6 PM to 6 AM (huh!~). The room was so warm in the afternoon, so I climbed onto the tree house and slept until 6 PM, at least I could feel the sea breeze on top. I was a Sabahans lived on tree, haha. I didn’t find that pretty girl eventually, but I took a few photos of the island. Now you can see the photos of Sabah’s biggest island.

Click Here to see photos of Banggi Island >>

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By Murphy Ng
  • http://www.yahoo.com eroneoerna

    can u please send me more information events during pesta kaamatan? such as Sugandoi,Unduk Ngadau and so on.thanks

  • Administrator

    eroneoerna, you may request such info from the organiser, they got a web site at http://www.kdca.org.my

  • Ross Hardy

    Can you assit with the latest ferry times from Kudat to Karakit & return

  • ong lee ching

    How to book the Bonggi Resort for fan / air-cond room for RM30 / RM45 per night?

  • MySabah.com

    ross> sorry, where is Karakit?

    ong> i only walked in to get the room. fyi, that rate was back in 2 years ago. i am not sure if there is any change.

  • Christopher Wong

    Hi!I have a guest from Europe would like to know more about the island, the ferry services & schedule and also the latest rate for the resort. Can anyone help out?

  • Amanda

    Hello der…

    Just to make a correction on Pulau Banggi as I am a Sabahan…Correction on what u say “SABAHAN PEOPLE LIVE ON TREE”…did u ask about people der, do Sabahan really lives on a tree???Dats a Chalet what we call a TREEHOUSE…I was born here n grew up here n I never live on a tree neither do my ancestor ok…

  • MySabah.com

    Amanda> Due to trafficking and rampant pirate attack in the past, Dusun Bonggi of Banggi Island built their houses on the tree so they could take better look of what was coming from the sea. Of course now they are no longer doing it.

  • ajbenjamin

    Dear Geng,

    for correction im born at pulau banggi but NO people live at TREE mybe at the add place!! im stay at kg lok tuhog banggi geng..35 yrs till now no history people live or stay AT TREE..

    aj benjamin

  • MySabah.com

    ajbenjamin , Dusun Bonggi stayed on trees but that was hundred year ago. Hope you don’t feel offended by my post.

  • Danny

    Good morning, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year ! I want book Chalet or Resort of Pulau Banggi, so who i can contact to, pls give me a contact mail or tel,h/p and so on. Very sorry for this. Danny 019-8818965

  • samsudin

    Thanks for the post. Please keep it there for a while. You make it sound like a good getaway for peace and quite. Any body know the contact number for the Banggi Resort. Benjamin?.

    Please remove the note about “on trees” if it gets people unhappy. I was asked weather Malaysian still live in trees a few years back!!!!!!

  • MySabah.com

    samsudin> i already mentioned in my blog that the tree house is something in the past.

    if some people decide to ignore my explanation and choose to get angry, it’s not my obligation to entertain them.