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“Do not expect to see dugongs, they are long gone and the snorkeling is not good!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mantanani Island

Mantanani Island
Ranked #54 of 191 things to do in Sabah
Attraction details
Biarritz, France
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Do not expect to see dugongs, they are long gone and the snorkeling is not good!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2014

We stayed on the Mantanani Islands for 3 nights at the Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge in a dorm.
The dorm is very clean and so are the bathrooms and restrooms.
The staff managed to reserve a dorm for us as we were a couple but I guess it's because it was low season.

We were pretty disappointed by the snorkeling: there is none! We had to go an hour away to expect to see clown fishes and see the reef.
That part was pretty bad considering they do advertise on seeing dugongs and amazing snorkeling !

The food there is not so good so do not expect to gain weight ;)

Overall the beach is nice and if you want to relax then you found the perfect spot!

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Nalita13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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110 reviews from our community

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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
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 April 15, 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.
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 April 13, 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
42 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Beautiful Island”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 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
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful place, overpriced services, decent snorkeling spots”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 24, 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.

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