Besides white water rafting and climbing Mount Kinabalu, island hopping through Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park is another major activity in Sabah, especially if you’re at Kota Kinabalu. There are many tour boat companies providing return trips to the islands that depart from Jesselton Point, the ferry terminal at KK next to the royal custom department.
The boats leave at a half-hourly to hourly frequency, with the fare priced at RM20-30 per pax depending on the boat size as well as the number of islands you are going to visit. It is advised to start the island hopping as early as possible because there are quite many islands you can choose to visit like Manukan, Manutik (smallest), Sapi, Gaya (largest) and Sulug.
Our first stop was Manukan Island and the boat journey was only 15-20 minutes since the islands are not too far away from the mainland. You could still see the buildings at the mainland side from the island. A resort named Manukan Island Resort provides the accommodation and only one restaurant is serving food there.
Once you reach Manukan, a few Ringgit of entrance fee is collected from each tourist at the small office used to preserve the Marine Park. To be honest, although the view is great snorkeling would be the main activity here or you will get bored soon. The equipments could be rented at the island itself, or you could rent them from the tour boat companies at a cheaper price.
Manukan is highly recommended for snorkeling, as the island is blessed with plenty of marine life. Compared to Lang Tengah or Redang, Manukan’s seawater is definitely not as clear but its shore is more appealing because there are no dead corals washed up on the beach – good for your feet.
This is how clear the water was, even at 100m away from the shore as seen on the jetty. What else to do here other than feeding the fish and let them nibble at your feet?
It was an unforgettable trip alright. But it could’ve been perfect if not for the storm that happened later rendering the rest of our day taking shelter at the beach pavilions.