Escape to Paradise: Our Family Adventure at Ara Dinawan Island Resort

Escape to Paradise: Our Family Adventure at Ara Dinawan Island Resort

If you're seeking a getaway that seamlessly blends eco-friendly luxury with family-friendly adventures, look no further than Ara Dinawan Island Resort. Nestled off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, this exclusive island haven offers a retreat like no other. Our family recently had the opportunity to experience the magic of Ara Dinawan, and we're excited to share our unforgettable journey with you...

Arrival and Location

Our journey to Ara Dinawan Island Resort began with a scenic drive from Brunei across the Temburong Bridge, a four-hour journey that offered glimpses of lush landscapes and anticipation for the adventures ahead. Alternatively, travellers can fly into Kota Kinabalu and get a 30 minute taxi to the resort. You then travel to Ara Dinawan Island is accessible via the Apai Jetty (Beringgis Seafood Restaurant) on one of the scheduled boat transfers, which we really enjoyed.

The Resort Experience

From the moment we arrived, Ara Dinawan captivated us with its natural beauty and eco-conscious ethos. The resort boasts 14 exclusive glamping tents, each crafted with locally sourced and upcycled materials, embodying a sustainable approach to luxury living. Powered by solar energy, Ara Dinawan is a sanctuary where guests can immerse themselves in the serenity of lush rainforests and crystal-clear waters.

Highlights of Our Stay

Our days at Ara Dinawan were filled with adventure and relaxation, thanks to the resort's diverse array of activities and amenities. We spent blissful hours snorkelling amidst coral reefs just off the beach, kayaking along the shoreline using the kayaks that are available to all guests, and embarking on a quad bike adventure through the little trails that they have set up for guests. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we gathered on the opposite beach for mesmerising sunsets. In the evening, after dinner, there was a beach bonfire, and you could have a go at nighttime fishing off the jetty if you were keen. This was our boys favourite thing, and Arthur was delighted when he caught a fish!


Our family tent at Ara Dinawan provided the perfect blend of comfort and charm. With separate spaces for parents and children, we enjoyed ample room to unwind after days of exploration. Air conditioning ensured a restful night's sleep, while the clean and thoughtfully designed bathroom added to the overall sense of luxury. The boys had bunk beds, which we unrolled the Bundle Beds on top of to keep them feeling settled and happy. That worked really well and they both slept brilliantly. 

Dining Delights

Mealtimes at Ara Dinawan were another highlight - we all LOVE asian food and there was so much to choose from! The buffet-style dining offered a great set of options, including yummy kway teow noodles, BBQ chicken, and an array of stir-fried vegetables. Our vegetarian and picky eater found plenty to enjoy, while the morning roti and sauce became a family favourite.

Family-Friendly Amenities

Ara Dinawan caters to families with thoughtful amenities and services, including shaded areas for kids to relax, complimentary kayaks, and paddleboards for endless water adventures. The friendly staff ensured that our family felt welcome and cared for throughout our stay, adding to the resort's warm and inviting atmosphere.

Top Tips

A couple of tips that we'd like to share...

  1. Take a power bank so that you have the ability to charge things when the power is off between 10am - 3pm.
  2. It's worth taking a bottle of spirit or wine if you don't like beer, as that is all that is available at the bar. We were happy to have a couple of beers in the evening so didn't take anything ourselves.
  3. If you have a kids who like to snack then it's worth taking a few things for them to eat as there is a limited provision of things between meals, and only crisps on sale from the bar.
  4. Take a good sand fly & mossie repellent.
  5. And if you have younger kids, try giving them a chill out in the day so they can have slightly later nights as the sunsets, beach bonfire and night time fishing were all favourite bits of our kids stay.

Final Thoughts

Our time at Ara Dinawan Island Resort surpassed all expectations, offering a harmonious blend of luxury, adventure, and relaxation. We were really blown away by how beautiful the island was, we absolutely loved our stay there and left feeling relaxed and happy. For families seeking an unforgettable escape, Ara Dinawan awaits with open arms and endless possibilities.


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