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Mantanani Islands, Kota Kinabalu Overview

The Mantanani Islands are a collection of three stunning islands with gold beaches and ringed with nearly untouched coral reefs, located off the northwest coast of Sabah, Malaysia. The islands are a perfect getaway from the city and has recently become increasingly popular among travellers and locals alike.

The scenic Mantanani Islands have small resorts for those wishing the spend the night under the skies, and maybe explore the scenic beauty at night. For the particularly adventurous travellers, the nighttime is when the island holds the most mystery. It also houses some of the most diverse aquatic life that travellers can experience for themselves through the underwater activities like diving and snorkelling.

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Things to Do at Mantanani Islands

Diving- Diving is one of the most popular activities at the islands, giving travellers a chance to see all kinds of aquatic life like rays and large schools of fish. 

Snorkelling- Snorkelling is a great way to take in the beauty of the aquatic life around the islands. There are several marked snorkelling sites which are perfect for this. 

Kayaking- One can pick up a kayak and go out into the waters, spending the day under the sun. 

Island trekking- The curious traveller will enjoy island trekking, going across the island and into the fishing villages to see the lives of the locals. 

Birdwatching- Mantanani Islands are home to some of the rarest birds in Malaysia. There are several bird watching trails through the center of the Mantanani Besar island in addition to open beaches along the coasts where birds can be spotted.

Sunset Cruise- At the end of the day, travellers can opt for a sunset cruise on a wooden boat and take in the islands and the water in all its beauty while the sun goes down the horizon, spilling out a thousand colours into the sky.

How to Reach Mantanani Island

Reaching the Mantanani Islands is an adventure of its own which requires a level of preparation in itself. First comes a two hour drive to Kampung Kuala Abai jetty in Kota Belud, for which travellers can either arrange for a car themselves or request for one from the island resort. 

From Kota Belud, visitors can take a speedboat to get to the island in a journey that takes about an hour. 

Need to Know

  • The speed boat journey from Kota Belud to the island is known to get rough, and those with a tendency to get seasick are advised to take motion sickness pills beforehand. 
  • Weekends are usually the most crowded on the islands, with touristers making day trips. So, for those looking for a more serene trip, weekdays are advisable. 

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