|Fine white sand and cystal clear waters.|
The Mantanani islands are a group of three islands off the north- west coast of Sabah, just opposite the town of Kota Belud. The largest of the three islands is called Mantanani Besar while the other two are Mantanani Kechil and Lungisan. Mantanani Besar is fast appearing on the tourist map as a beach & diving holiday destination. These islands have beautiful white sandy beaches with the bluest waters this side of Sabah (One would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to the Maldives). The waters are crystal clear and home to some very beautiful coral reefs and fish. Once upon a time there used to be a Dugong or sea cow that made it into a National Geographic documentary, but it has not been seen for some time now.
|Luxerious Balinese style.|
|The entrance to mari mari on Mantanani.|
Mantanani is only about 70km away from Kota Kinabalu and can be done either as a day trip or an overnight stay. There are currently a number of tour cum dive operators that offer trips to the island, however only 2 of them have accommodation on the island. Of the two, the Mari Mari Backpacker’s lodge is the more established. They do day trips and overnight stays that include the return transfers by both land and sea. There are various categories of accommodation from twin bedded and dorm style chalets to the regular dorm that sleeps 8 people to a room, some with attached bathrooms while others have common bathrooms. Average cost for the dorm is RM60.00 a bed while the twin sharing chalets with attached bathroom cost RM120.00 per person a night. Electricity is supplied by a generator that runs from 6.00pm till 6.00am so fans and hot water showers are only available during these hours (No air-conditioning). Food and drinks are available at their restaurant and though they style themselves as “backpackers”, the prices are more like a 5 star resort as a simple “Nasi goreng” fried rice cost RM15.00 a plate, a can of beer for RM10.00 while tuna sandwiches cost RM18.00.
|The small island of Lungisan.|
For activities, the lodge has its own dive center which offers snorkeling and diving in the crystal clear waters on the island. Again, be prepared to fork out more for your diving with Mari Mari than you would on more established islands like Mabul(next to Sipadan) as a dive here will cost you RM180.00 and RM300.00 for 2 dives.
If you are looking for an island getaway for a few nights or even a day trip away from the crowds, Mantanani as an island will not disappoint you.
For more information visit: http://www.riverbug.asia/mantanani/ Tel : +6 088 260 501, +6 088 260 502
Text and photos by David Richard