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“Beautiful waters surrounding a tropical island”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Mantanani Island

Mantanani Island
Ranked #54 of 191 things to do in Sabah
Attraction details
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
140 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Beautiful waters surrounding a tropical island”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 April 2014 via mobile

The island is a short ride from Sabah mainland.
There are some nice diving and snorkeling activities (in clear blue waters home to many species of fish and sea dwelling creatures), or just relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches around the island.
Some wood cabins for rental purpose were being built, so the island isn't completely ready for travellers planning to visit for longer stays there.
The activities were quite affordable, and people organising them were very welcoming so i'm sure any traveller will like the place.
Good for families, couples, solo.

Thank seigwailo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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113 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
51 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Will not revisit this beautiful island - CRAZY BOAT RIDE”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014

I rated this island 4/5. It is indeed beautiful. You could see 3 shades of blue water, sands are fine and tranquility at its best. We walked till the end of the island and the view was just amazing. You can lay on the logs and sleep through the afternoon w/o anyone bugging you. The facilities on this island is at minimum.

Now, why i will not revisit this place. the boat ride felt like a death trip. 50mins in a ordinary speedboat driven by a local punk with no regards for passengers safety or comfort. Plenty of times, the boat was "flying" above the waves and we were "floating" above our seats. Now, repeat that 10-20x. I can guarantee your bad will be aching at least a day after trip to mantanani island. What pisses most of us off was that the boat driver was laughing non stop. Half the chinese tourists were puking on the boat ride.

Nearing the island, the local boat driver was doing sharp turns. Yes it was thrilling.. Not until I saw someone snorkelling off the shoreline of mantanani island!

Sadly, i wont be returning thanks to the lawless and reckless boat transportation provided.

Visited February 2014
7 Thank Yane14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
41 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Beautiful Island”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 March 2014

Beautiful Island with beautiful beach. The journey to the island take up long time though. 1 hours from Kota Kinabalu to Kota Belud Jetty and another 45 minutes Speed boat to the Island. Better if spend a night at the island as a day trip is too rush for relaxation


Visited March 2014
Thank AdamLai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Beautiful place, overpriced services, decent snorkeling spots”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2014

We were on Pulau Mantanani from Jan 30 to Feb 2 2014. The island is beautiful, though you will see litter as soon as you leave the backpackers lodge. Food was decent for the prices. Electricity is only from approx. 6 pm to 6 am. That includes availability of wifi (which sadly doesn't reach outside the restaurant).

We stayed in the dorms. The accommodations are decent, considering they have to ship everything in all the time. The snorkeling gear was in good condition and available, but the price for going snorkeling was rather high: 40 rm for a group session that involves a 20 minute boat ride to, in this case, Mari Mari's Garden (there are other places, check their map. Ask and they might take you elsewhere) where we got to snorkel for about 45 minutes.

When we asked around if there was a place to snorkel around Mantanani Besar itself, the answer was No. We explored a bit ourselves and found a decent spot near one of the villages.

Directions: when you grab your gear near their restaurant and walk back towards the ocean, turn right on the trail. When you get to the village, follow the beach until you get to a tiny cafe/restaurant run by locals. Between there and the next resort (which is about 200 meters further still) is a decent place to snorkel with lots of different fish. Not so much live coral, though.

Others who were staying there said they found an even better spot by crossing from the lodge straight across the island, but I didn't get a chance to check it out myself.

Bottom line: rent the gear if you must, but there's really no need to pay for their overpriced boat rides to go snorkeling.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Kars M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Expensive/spoilt paradise and death journey to reach!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

My fiancé and I booked a 3 night stay at Mantanani island. We stayed at the Mari Mari backpackers in a sulap hut. The positives were that the staff were very helpful and the resort was well kept. However there were a lot of negatives that detracted from our stay. It was disappointing that in +30 degree heat there weren't always cold drinks or ice available, which made it very difficult in the heat. The food was also very bland and with there being no other facility on the island it was that or nothing. I would definitely recommend taking additional supplies with you as we really struggled. The other point is that the showers were in a very small toilet for the guests staying in the sulap huts, whilst the backpacker dorm rooms had a large shower and toilet block which were much better to use for having a wash, so we went there instead which was a small walk away.
It was also disappointing to see that such a beautiful island became a rubbish tip just 50metres out of the resort towards the local village. We've stayed on other islands during our travels where there's been a real sense of pride to look after the island and to keep the beaches litter free etc but this just wasn't the scene around the village area and beyond. There were used nappies on te beach, rusty tin cans (dangerous incase you stepped on it) and just litter galore on the beach and in the water. This really spoilt my impression
Of the island.
We did partake in some snorkelling trips out into the reef and that was very good and we saw turtles and amazing marine life, so this was a good experience if you're looking for good snorkelling.
The final point and easily the most terrifying experience of my life was the speedboat trip back to the mainland. In summary, the driver drove out of the beach area with what seemed to be a nitrogen boost on the back of the boat! To add to the issue it was badly raining and the sea was very choppy. We were tearing through waves up to 2metres high at points and it was terrifying. I soon noticed a weird noise from one of the engines and minutes later we were down to just 1 engine. You'd thought that may have calmed things but no we continued to hurtle at a rate of knots on 1 engine!... It was only 10 minutes more when it was indicated to the maniac driver that we had low fuel and one of the crew members was trying frantically to pump petrol
Into the engine..!.. And then that was it, stranded in the ocean with a 2 metre swell amidst a boat of cowboys putting everyone's lives in danger.
Luckily for us that day, another boat came by and we managed to get some fuel siphoned from their tank... Which meant we made it back to shore. Had that not been the case who knows!!!
In summary I really would not recommend staying at this island, particularly as people's lives were put at risk by other people's shear stupidity.
And for the price we paid we certainly did not feel the accommodation/food was of a satisfactory standard!
My advice is save your money and go visit ko lipe in Thailand instead! You won't be disappointed....

Visited November 2013
6 Thank m1broad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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