Firstly, it's an hour by boat and the 'kid' driving it drove with it only on full throttle. Whilst I would normally enjoy something like this, my spine didn't as the hundred or so jolts that occurred when the boat hit the waves was unbelievably painful....and I'm in good health and mountain bike all over regular. My girlfriends back was sore for the next few days but the driver of the boat was only bothered about having fun....despite repeated requests from a colleague to slow down, which he ignored. Obviously he was standing up so his legs were taking the impact whereas all the passengers were sitting down so their spine was taking the impact. I wouldn't be surprised if he tips the thing soon. The beach and sea is stunning, you can't fault it. The food at the place though is pretty poor. A lot of things on the menu they never had, including bread for 3 days and when I ordered a BBQ chicken this had came out of the freezer, deep fried and squirted with some BBQ sauce. The chicken wasn't cooked though so they never charged me. Not really the point but be careful with the food. Even the local dishes were very bland and lacked flavour and nothing for you to add flavour....no salt, pepper, soy sauce etc on the table. I know it's an hour away by boat from the mainland but the boat is picking up travellers daily....and I was eating better food at 4500 metres high in the Himalayas so don't really see any excuse and I'm not a fussy traveller or eater.
Had to make a quick phone call when there so asked if I could use their phone and they charged me MR3 per minute (exorbitant by Borneo standards) and this was not long after paying over MR1000. Workmen were there building a new beach hut and they started hammering at 7.30am and finished at 5.30pm. Nice for relaxation! In a nutshell, this place could be amazing but was very disappointed....and it wasn't cheap. Just for the record, the return journey was much better, the driver was a lot more careful and his colleague let me use his phone for free on arrival at the jetty at Kota Belud and couldn't be more helpful - completely the opposite to the crazy kid driving going out there. And if anyone is after a Dragons Den pitch....open up a chiropractor business on Mantanani.....you'll make a fortune!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Backpackers Lodge on Pulau Mantanani Besar Island in Sabah Borneo. We provide twin shared rooms with attached bathroom, twin shared rooms with common bathroom, and dormitory rooms. Hot water shower is available during island's regular electricity supply time (6.00pm to 6.00am).Our dive center - Mari Mari Dive Center is a PADI authorized dive resort. PADI scuba diving certifications are also available.Best for scuba diving, snorkeling or just lay back and relax the white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mari Mari Mantanani Backpacker Hotel Pulau Mantanani Besar
- Mari Mari Mantanani Backpacker Lodge Pulau Mantanani Besar, Sabah