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“Great Beaches, Bad Boat Management”

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
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Snorkeling Day Trip with Coral Flyer Zipline in Kota Kinabalu
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Manukan Island Day Trip from Kota Kinabalu
Attraction details
Level 6 Contributor
93 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Great Beaches, Bad Boat Management”
Reviewed December 4, 2012

The beaches of the Marine Park vary in size and number of visitors, so do your research and pick accordingly.

I'm giving the park a "poor" rating simple because of the highly irregular and informal way of managing the boat system that brings you to and from the islands. When you buy your ticket you are asked what time you want to return. You're told to be at the jetty 15 minutes before your specified time to make sure that you don't miss the boat. However you are given no way to recognize which boat will be picking you up, nor are the boats generally color coordinated or have their logos prominently displayed. The effect of this is that once you are back at the jetty waiting for your boat to return it becomes an annoying game of "is this my boat?" wherein one must board each boat and ask the boatman whether or not this is the right boat.

Our first trip to Manukan island was without mishap, as a boatman magically knew which boat we were to ride on and guided us there. That was great but I'd seriously much prefer to know in advance so that I'm not on edge until I'm finally in a boat.

The second trip to Sapi island was a bit of a disaster. Our boat was to arrive at 1115. Being the paranoid sort, we decided to start hanging out at the jetty by 1045. Boats came and went, and with each departure we started getting more and more worried. When it was around 1120 and already 3 boats bearing our boat company's name had turned us away telling us to "wait 5 minutes", I lost my cool and called their emergency number.

Initially the man on the phone casually told me that we had "missed" our boat and needed to wait until 1215. This ticked me off, since we had picked 1115 specifically because our hotel check out was 1pm and we wanted to have enough time to take a proper shower before leaving. There's nothing more annoying than trying to be responsible for your time and then being told that it's your fault. After explaining that 3 of their boats had turned us away they replied that they would send over a boat to ferry us to KK immediately.

Turns out that the boat that was to pick us up had some sort of engine trouble, and we had slipped through the cracks. While I'm willing to accept that this kind of thing happens, it's unacceptable that we had to wait for 45 minutes on the jetty and had to have a freak out before it was resolved. If the boat companies had a representative at each jetty to coordinate and inform passengers about the status of their boats that would be great.

It seems I'm not the first person to mention this issue with the boats, so I hope this will be fixed soon. It almost ruined what was otherwise an idyllic vacation.

Visited November 2012
2 Thank ryansumo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Manila, Philippines
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2012

Unfortunately this tourist spot frequented by Asians is not well kept. The area is crowded with tourist groups and there is plenty of garbage floating in the water and stuck amongst the coral. So sad because it could be beautiful minus the trash. Don't book from Kota Kinabalu with a group tour. They are way overpriced. You can hop on a boat at the docks near the market for 43RM per adult to 3 islands. Kids were 28 each. You have to pay another 2 each for the jetty fee and 10RM each for the island park day pass.

Visited October 2012
5 Thank Joanna O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Athens, Greece
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“worth visiting Mamutik and Gaya”
Reviewed November 8, 2012

We have visited all the islands in the park, Gaya and Mamutik are definitely the best. Sapi is just average. The beaches are nice but some of them are dirty. The Gaya beach were very nice and not crowded at all.

Visited April 2012
4 Thank Ramona D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“thanks to lifeguard..alex!! wonderful snorkeling tour”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

it was a nice place in manukan island..i'd enjoy snorkeling without life jacket..he bought me deep in the sea n give me star fish n coral as our memory together..will be back next year manukan island!!

Thank fizahamdan87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed November 5, 2012

I dive here everytime I come home for holidays. I love the sun, the sea and the salty breeze and the sand. Lotsa marine life and pretty scenic islands

Visited August 2012
Thank PearlCheah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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