Mar 3, 2011

Manukan Island, Sabah

One of the best tropical island vacation destination in Borneo is at Manukan Island. Manukan island is about 20 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu. Blessed with a long stretch of white sandy beach promising hours of a fun-filled tropical island vacation. The boomerang (or some said dolphin) shaped island is a terrific playground for a sun, sea and sand vacation. This is one of the earliest island within the TAR Marine Park to be developed. Today, its tourist facilities and accommodations are on par (if not better) with the other offshore islands in Sabah. 

TROPICAL BEACH: Manukan island has good stretches of beaches on the southern coastline, which is excellent for sunbathing and or just relax under the tropical breeze. But the best stretch is actually on the eastern tip of the island. The crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches makes Manukan an ideal island for swimming and snorkeling. Some portion of the beach however, is somewhat rocky and swimmers should exercise some caution.

You can also do scuba diving at the island. There are coral beds on the eastern and the western reefs and multicolored coral fishes are abound here. But its corals are not what they used to be about 10 years or more before.

Besides sea sports like snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing and diving, there are lots of other activities to do at the island.

PICNIC & BBQ: Manukan island is a wonderful place for picnicking. Sometimes (although it is rarer nowadays), you may be visited by large Monitor lizards searching for a few scraps. Don't panic. Just give them some bread crumps and they will be happy to leave you alone. The restaurant at Manukan serves delicious tropical BBQ dishes to fill your hungry stomach after a swim in the sea or a dip in the resort's swimming pool. Set against a backdrop of a true tropical paradise, you will enjoy your BBQ lunch, or a BBQ dinner in the full view of a tropical sunset.

NATURE TRAIL: Once you get bored with the sun and sand, you can always choose to trek through the nature trail around the island. The trail passes along cool lowland forest and don't be surprised if you come across a Pangolin or Scaly Ant-eater and monkeys during you trek.

 You can also engross yourself in some bird watching activity. Some special species to note here are the island-dwelling Pied Hornbill, and the interesting Megapode. If you are here between September and April, you may even see a large flock of terns and other migrant waders resting on the sandbar during low tide.

OVERNIGHT STAY: Most visitors can't really get enough of Manukan in a day. They tend to stay overnight to enjoy the tropical sunset, the cooling tropical breeze and the tranquil sound of the sea at night, and awaken by a tropical sunrise. The only accommodation in the island is the Manukan Island Resort.

You can choose to stay in one of the single or double storey chalets. All the chalets overlook the South China Sea and a spectacular sunset is almost a daily affair. The Manukan Island Restaurant offers a wide selection of Asian and Continental cuisine or visitors may make pre-arrangement for barbecue. If you do stay overnight, don't forget to witness the beautiful sunset of Borneo at the Look-Out Point.

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