Manukan Island, a true unfound beauty of Malaysia. Although many travel to the majestic country of Malaysia, many over look Manukan Island and the many things that there are to do there.
Typically, most go there as a day trip from their main travels in Malaysia but some even do decide to stay over night. When visiting Malaysia, you will quickly be sucked into the hustle and bustle of the city, which is nice but sometimes it is nice to even unplug from your own vacation you may be on.
The island itself is boomerang shaped and is one of the largest islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Being such an interesting shape it creates an expansive waterfront and miles of beach to explore. It is by far one of the most beautiful and top visited beaches of the islands.
Reason being is the crystal clear waters, amazing views and the fun that there is to have. Just imagine yourself with sand between your toes, the sun shining on your skin and the cool ocean breeze hitting your body as you are sipping on a cool beverage. This is reality at Manukan Island.
Manukan Beach Resort
You can find the latest beach resort rates here. Resort booking can be done via Agoda or Expedia. This is the only resort in the island, and there are only 20 units available. The accommodation fees range from RM560 (USD$170) per room to RM1,500 (USD$450) per chalet.
Island Hopping – Manukan, Sapi or Mamutik?
We recommend going Manukan as your first choice, mainly because they have one of the most complete facilities and only 15 minutes boat ride from the city.
The down fall is the island often gets too crowded so Sapi island is your next available choice. Mamutik island is raising in popularity but currently lack of facilities for public.
Snorkeling and Diving
One of the local favorite things to do it going snorkeling. It is famous for its gorgeous corals, vibrant fish and amazing rock formations.
A cool fact to know is that many people notice that the water is a bit darker in specific areas of the beach at Manukan Island. The reason for this is because there is a coral bed there.
It is typically advised that you stay away from this area unless you have the proper guides and equipment. On your day trip to Manukan Island there are many places to rent snorkeling gear or ask a guide to take you out to the beautiful coral bed to enjoy the views.
One of the very unique things to do at Manukan Island is enjoying the 1500m track that goes throughout the island and even pushes out to the water were the sunrise begins.
This is a stunning walk to go on while visiting the area. By far one of the top reasons why people visit the area is to go on this walk.
Make sure you bring some walking shoes because it can become a little steep at times but what is very nice about it is that it is fully paved and easy terrain.
Exploring the Island
There are many crannies and nooks of the island that you can explore. The island itself is not very large so exploring it is fairly easy. In fact, half of the island is preserved rain forest and the other half is a small village to check out.
The village has camp grounds, chalets, park offices, and a few places to grab some lunch. The island is famous for its amazing BBQ lunch that serves up authentic Malaysian BBQ dishes that are jaw-dropping. The food in itself is an experience to enjoy.
Have you ever experienced feeding fish before? On Manukan Island you have the opportunity to feed wild fish in their natural habitat. This experience is much more then giving your gold fish at home a few specs of fish food.
Here you will see the multi-colored vibrant fish come right up to you waiting to be fed. It is the closest you can get to the fish themselves without going snorkeling.
A variety of fish will swim up to the feeding location, so enjoy the view and have some fun giving the little (and large) fish some lunch.
Ever been jet skiing? Some people will answer that with a yes but in their local lake. Jet skiing near one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world has no comparison. Enjoy yourself in some of the smoothest, yet fastest, jet skis available.
Go for a trip out to the ocean a bit and look back at the island and all of its beauty. There are no words to explain the view you will have and feeling that will endure you as you whip right past the island and see the gorgeous views on a jet ski.
Some of us like to do things a bit slower, which is totally ok. If jet skis aren’t for you there are also kayaks that you can rent. This will get your exercising in for the day and give you the opportunity to take a nice, slower trek out in the ocean to enjoy the views with a loved one.
The kayaks can fit you and a handful of others, so bring the family on a kayak trip with views of the breathtaking Manukan Island.
If you love some fresh fish for dinner and enjoy catching that fish even more then a guided trip sports fishing is a must. The sports fishing tour guide will take you around the island to all of the top locations to catch your dinner or simply enjoy your time with rod and reel in hand.
Not the best fisherman alive? That is perfectly ok. They will teach you exactly how to sports fish and what to look for while fishing on the ocean. This is one of the top activities to do on the island that most men will praise and talk about when they return home.
Banana Boat Ride
Looking to stroll around on the shores of the island with the whole family? The banana boat rides are the perfect way to do it. These banana boats can hold up to 5-6 of your family members. All you go to do is straddle it like a horse and off you go.
One of the more popular activities for younger family members and a great laugh for the whole family. Especially when dad falls over board and needs help getting back on.
The banana boats are also one of the more affordable ways to enjoy some family time on Manukan Island.
Glass Bottom Boat Ride
There are many places around the world that you can go for a glass bottom boat ride but nothing will compare to the one you will experience at Manukan Island (this service if brought to you by Borneo Reef World, the location is closer to Sapi island, though).
Reason being is the boats are truly fully glass bottom. No need to share a peep hole to the ocean to see. Everyone will have ample viewing angles to see the beautiful coral, vibrant fish and other fun things the ocean has to offer when it comes to views.
Plus, the tour guide on the glass bottom boat rides are lots of fun to be with.
Waterskiing is one of the top sports for the locals in this area. Imagine being pulled by one of the top waterski boats available and looking over to see beautiful Manukan Island on one side and the wide open ocean on the other.
There aren’t many places you can experience this. IF you have never waterskied before that is ok, there are opportunities to take lessons for first timers.
The water is typically nice and flat also where they have you waterski so smooth sailing for the riders.
The easterly winds tend to kick up to the perfect gust speed near the island to go windsurfing. Not many people dare to go windsurfing because haven’t the clue on how to do it nor do they have windsurfing gear.
Luckily on Manukan Island you can give it a try without having to invest all your money in the gear. Windsurfing will make you feel like your flying through the top of the water and make you feel weightless as the wind kicks up the speed a bit. Just hold on!
Afraid of heights? Well the parasailing is either not for you or a way for you to conquer your fears. Be pitched high above the ocean via a parasailing parachute and be pooled by a fast paced (or slow, whichever you prefer) boat.
You control the speed and height when you are sent off into the sky. This is by far one of the top way to experience a breathtaking view of the island and the expansive beaches that surround it.
Here you can learn from the locals about the history of the island, find out about all the different amenities there are to do and receive any other guidance or questions answered about your stay on the island.
The park rangers have an immense knowledge about the area and love to help visitors around the island to find their way.
Manukan Island at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is one of those destinations that can not be duplicated. There is nowhere else like it in the world.
From the dozens of this to do on the island to the amazing chalets to stay the night and all the way to the beautiful sunsets and sunrises that the island has to offer, you will step away form the island at the end of your trip wishing you were a local.
Enjoy a trip to paradise at Manukan Island. Fun for the whole family or a romantic getaway for you and your loved one. Whatever the circumstances may be, the memories made on Manukan Island are irreplaceable and memories you will look back at for the rest of your life.
The trip of a lifetime on Manukan island is calling you!