Mantanani Island is one of the most beloved spots in Sabah for both locals and tourists alike. Found off the coasts of Kota Belud, it has acted as a haven for countless visitors for many years now. While many tourists have discovered this scenic and peaceful spot, it is still considered to be off the beaten path.
Credit: Abby_Hong (Flickr)
Getting to Mantanani Island
In order to reach the beautiful and one-of-a-kind Mantanani Island, one needs to go on a two hour drive to Kampung Kuala Abai jettyin Kota Belud. From there, another hour is needed to get from Kota Belud to the island itself. Visitors use a speedboat to get there.
It is important to note that on the speedboat ride there, the journey can get rough. That said, if you have a tendency to get seasick, it is advisable to take motion sickness pills before the journey. Once you get there however, you will see that the journey has been 100 percent worth it. The island is simply breathtaking and many who have seen it have never been the same.
Credit: ReNo aka ReNoldo (flickr)
Staying at (or around) the Island
It is advisable to make a booking with a nice hotel or guesthouse prior to setting out on your journey to Mantanani Island in order to fully enjoy your stay and not fret about whether you will have a place to stay in once your reach your destination.
There is no shortage of places to stay at. Recommended places is Mari Mantanani Backpacker Lodge. Both http://www.Agoda.com and http://www.hotelscombined.com offer some of the most affordable rates for accommodations.
Laze around at the beach
Once you get there, there is no shortage of activities to engage in. The island is undoubtedly most renowned for what it has to offer divers. The sheer number of species of fish, coral reefs, sea anemones, and a host of other natures wonders is enough to leave anybody in awe.
If diving or snorkelling are not really your thing, you can also kayak, play volleyball, soccer, build sandcastles, tan and swim, drink fruit shakes, or basically just laze around on the beach. Whether you prefer to relax or get busy with activities, there is something for everybody to do while on the island.
Credit: Tauquil (flickr)
Essential packing list to Mantanani island
Of course, being on the island, you will inevitably be exposed to the sun at some point unless you choose to hole up in your hotel room during the day. Having said that be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat with you to protect yourself from the sun. Snorkelling gear, a bikini, a towel, and swimming trunks are also essential for a beach trip. It may also be a good idea to bring after sun lotion/balm/cream to soothe your sunburn.
Naturally, no trip to Mantanani Island would be complete without a pair of sunglasses. A waterproof case or bag for your things would also ease the burden of worrying about wetting your things.
When is the best time to go?
Malaysia is located in the tropical or equator region. Therefore, the climate is generally warm all year round. However, on certain months like June through December there is a higher chance of experiencing isolated rain showers and thunderstorms. With that in mind, the best time to visit Mantanani Island would be from January through May.
Here, you will get the best of the sun and it will feel so invigorating to experience the coolness of the waters. You cant help but marvel at the beauty of nature and this hidden treasure that Malaysia has to offer.