Sun bathing on a quiet powdery white sandy beach, while enjoying the gentle breeze of the tropical island, and looking out at a big blue sea that stretches to the horizon, which yields almost no sign of human civilisation, one has surely arrived at the beautiful Mantanani Island, one of the best keep secrets on the west coast of Sabah. Only recently promote as a tourists destination, Mantanani Island has miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, and the shallow coast line around the island offers a splendid snorkelling experience, with visibility around10 metre, a wide variety of tropical marines life are easily spotted on the extensive coral reef habitats.
Scuba diving is another popular activity at Mantanani Island, with as many as 10 interesting dive sites, divers are spoiled with choices. For those who are more adventurous, why not explore the three ship wrecks which lie with in a kilometre each other at the near by Usukan Bay. The wrecks are 3 Japanese World War Two ships that were torpedoed by a US submarine in October, 1944. Located 20 to 40 metres below surfaces, these wrecks are covered in shades of black, purple, red, and yellow corals, and residents fish like batfish, barracuda, cardinal, jacks and tuna are commonly seen.
Mantanani Islands are a grouping of three islands located northwest of Kota Belud, and approximately 80km away from Kota Kinablu. The biggest of the three islands is called Mantanani Besar, and this is where all the tour operators have their bases. Coconut trees and pine trees covered most part of the island. The southern side of the islands has a small fishermen village with a few hundred population of mainly indigenous Ubian tribe.
How to get here? From Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah, heads north to Kota Belud, the journey will take about one hour to one and a half hour by car or coach. Upon reaching the jetty at Kota Belud, the boat ride to Mantanani Island is about 45 minutes. Public transportation to Mantanani Island is not well organised, so one would be better off if arrange with a tour agent before hand. Scuba Paradise Borneo is one of the tour agents which provides an enjoyable outing to Mantanani Island.