Thinking of going for an escapade, for relaxation, to enjoy emotional freedom and break free from everyday work? About one and half hour drive from Kota Kinabalu to ‘Abai Jetty’ off Kota Belud Town, from here on a 45 minutes to 50 minutes boat ride is an almost haven the Island of Mantanani. At some point the boat ride can be very bumpy this very much depends on the sea conditions itself, however we are advice of the weather report daily 8 hours prior to departure.
Once at the island it is up to your choice of whether to head off to snorkel, dive or simply just to laze about. One could spent the morning exploring the island paradise on a kayak, the water were clear and shallow to quite a distance off the Mantanani Island beach and calm for kayaking activity.
Anyways, the island is great for many other marine lives and there were a lot of fish to look at from a drop at a reef point. For day trip there would be 2 dives/snorkel drop with a dive professional to escort the trip out, pointing to good spots for different types of coral lives and interesting looking fish.
Obviously such various activities are great boost to one’s appetite that by lunch time, tourists were digging into almost everything that is served out and lunch was ‘yummy’. There were ‘Hammocks’ out for everyone to relax after the hefty meal a chance to mingle or simply just sun basking.
The island has about the 1000 population and a primary school, most of the villages are fishermen or employed by the tour operator that runs the lodges and day trip to the island.
For those who wishes to stay the night at the island there are accommodation available, humbly yet cozy for an island holiday away from the busy city sound of traffics.
Mantanani is known for the presence of Dugong, a large marine mammal strictly herbivorous which is a close relative to the Steller’s sea cow. The dugong is heavily dependent on sea grasses for survival and with its snout that is sharply downturned, which is an adaptation for grazing and uprooting sea grasses.
The dugong has been hunted for thousands of years for its meat and oil. The dugong’s current distribution is reduced and with a long lifespan of 70 years or more, and slow rate of reproduction, the dugong is especially vulnerable to extinction. Several divers that have experience an encounter with these mammals, claimed that they are very shy and would swim away from human therefore you may find yourselves lucky should you see one swimming nearby.
It was a wonderful break away from the office for us, we highly recommend doing Mantanani Island and if you do have additional day to spare it’s so worth it to stay for the night here!0