Being dubbed as one of the most beautiful island in Sabah, Mantanani Island is certainly on the bucket list for a lot of people who travel to Kota Kinabalu, especially for Chinese tourists. Here’s why we think that you should think twice before listing Mantanani in your travel bucket list.
Long Journey time.
To travel to Mantanani Island, you will have to get to Kuala Abai Jetty which is located in Kota Belud town, a town in the Northern part of Sabah. A minimum of 1-2 hours of drive from the city is neede to reach the jetty. Some hotels and lodges on the island have different jetties around and have their own boat charter services.
To get to the island from the jetty, takes around 45 minutes depending on the waves and weather situation. In short, it will take you up to 3 hours to travel to Mantanani Island from the city. All boats depart at around 10am.
Short activity time for day trips
As most day trippers will reach Mantanani Island at 11am. You will go snorkeling or other activities at for about an hour and have lunch around 12-1pm. However, according to locals, waves after 4pm are significantly high. All outbound boats will have to depart at 3pm to reach the mainland jetty. Another less than 2 hours activity will be scheduled and you will have to depart for another 2 hours to the city.
Most of the day trippers are China tour groups and you will see Mantanani Island being crowded with Chinese tourists during the day time and I highly doubt that you can have the serenity at that time. Some of the people who went there don’t even find it attractive to snorkel at some sites of the islands as they are being damaged and are full with dead corals.
The so called “hotels” and “lodges” on Mantanani Island costs from RM250 per person per day which includes activity and all meals and will charge you a lower RM70-80 for the subsequent days you stay there. This is comparably high with Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
There are also homestay programs which costs 100RM per night per person which although are relatively cheaper than other accommodation on Mantanani, but still is higher than the usual budgets.
For most accommodation on Mantanani Island, if you are staying overnight, they will charge you a lower price for transportation from the jetty and back to the jetty. Some even include a trip back to the city. But for homestay programs, they will charge you a round trip from the jetty around RM120 per person.
RM60 per trip to the island in Malaysia and this part of Sabah is considered very expensive and certainly will not be worth it if you do not find Mantanani Island amusing.