A visit to Kota Kinabalu is incomplete without making a voyage to one of the lush green islands facing Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. A boat journey will only take a generous 20-minute ride on the South China Sea to the 5 islands – to be specific, there are Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik and Sulug. The idea to go to island is simply to get a different perspective of Kota Kinabalu. You can still enjoy beach and water activities at Kota Kinabalu but making yourself escaped to an offshore island so near does offer you a delightful retreat.
We are off to Manukan Island, the second largest island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. To get there, we need to go to Jesselton Point jetty to arrange boat transfer. On arrival, usually in the morning, you will come across fellow tourists snorkeling underneath or nearby the jetty. It is a real thrill to see schools of colorful fish watching us from the turquoise green translucent water.
Apart from the gigantic Gaya Island, this is the only island that affords guest accommodation. If you stay overnight you are sure to find out that your chalets are of high standard. You can choose to stay in 1-storey bungalow, Hilltop Lodge split-level, Beach Lodge 1-storey bungalow and Beach Lodge split-level. All units are equipped with air-conditioner, attached bathroom and TV – advance booking required. You can have scrumptious meals in the only restaurant nearby and not to worry about not having swimming attire or toiletries. There is a mini souvenir shop on the island that makes you feel that you are not a castaway.
If you don’t want to get a sun tan, be mindful that the island is covered with adequate tree shades, so you are not exposed to scorching hot sun in the noon. There’s nothing better to do than swimming and snorkel ling here or hire a jetski to test the water. Another cool activity to do is to venture into the life beneath through seawalking. It is a highly recommended activity for families and kids in quest to find Nemo and other ‘friends’. All these activities can be arranged with the park operator here. Lifeguards are stationed near the beach as a safety measure taken by the Park authority.
If you have no plan at all, it would be nice to take a leisurely stroll along the sandy beach and jungle trail, take nature photographs and chit chat with family and friends.
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By Willie Ki
Pix: Willie Ki & Joebonaventure Matius