16 May 2010

Kota Kinabalu Highlights - Sun, Sea and Sand

Fine sunny morning, no clouds and with no rain forecasted for the day. Today is the day we go to one of five idyllic islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park, just off Kota Kinabalu and all it takes is 15-20 minutes by fast boats. The five islands are; Sulug, Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik and Sapi. We opted for Manukan.

There are several departure points to get to the islands; Jesselton Point located downtown with boat transfers to the island and then there is the Sutera Harbour Resort ...with a marina. There were a number of boats and yachts mooring there and there was this one really cool looking "James Bond" like boat. We were told its a research boat from Russia. I wonder what nasty schemes are being hatched onboard that boat.

There are daily boat transfers to and from any of the islands between 7:30 am to 5 pm.

And if you are prone to sea-sickness, not a problem. The boat are so fast and so much fun that, sea sickness ...What sea sickness?

While waiting of our boat transfer to the island, it did not take us long to notice the many marine life under the pier or where the boats are "parked". Just a glimpse of what we can expect to see at the island. We were to expect much more.

Each of the five islands have their own unique attractions for families, for the more adventurous and those who are more into scuba-diving. The beaches are uncrowded and with clear waters all around, it's the perfect getaway for the day, especially for those who love to swim, snorkel or just laze around with a good book all day long.

Of course for the more adventurous, there is the usual jet-skiing, scuba-diving, parasailling and other fun water activities and sports available.

Manuka Island

Manuka is the second largest island among the five. It is very much a family oriented island, with a resort for those who very much like to stay for more than a day or two.

The pier is about 100 - 200 meters from the shore and just underneath it, you can already see into the clear waters, the many fishes and the variety of them. There was even a sting-ray and a couple of jelly fish of significant size. Got to watch out for them.
The beach are sandy and beautiful. Its nothing like feeling the warm or hot sand of the beach, depending on the time of day, at the sole of you feet and in between your toes.

Well, it has been quite a while since I last walked along a hot sandy beach.

There are also tables and chairs laid out under the shade of the many coconut trees along the beach and with the salty breeze blowing, it really is quite cool.

There is also the view of the sea, the neighbouring islands and the people in the water or at the beach. It is always interesting to see the local people staying in the shades, while the Westerners love the sun.

However, one tip from me for those who love the beach. Keep away from the afternoon sun. The morning sun is okay, but come noon onwards, you'll be more incline to become a lobster.

And if you did not bring your very own picnic baskets, you need not fear about going hungry. There are food stores with chefs' that serves a variety of cold or hot meals, especially the hot spicy ones ...including sea-food, piled up on the plate.

Did I also mention that among the activities at the beach, there is also the sea-scooters rides. There are these new colourful contraptions where you put on over your head that pumps air into, which you ride on like a "scooter", just so you can see the marine life underwater without getting your hair wet. Wow!

Hmmmmm ...I settled for the old-fashion way, with a goggle and a snorkel between my teeth. It wasn't too hard actually and the water was not cold. I just had to sit at the bottom of the "sea-bed" just meters from the shore and see the many colourful or silvery fishes, big and small pass me by.

If you do happen to have some bread with you to feed them ....you'll enjoy the the excitment of seeing the fishes eating from your hand. Then there is the occasional Ouch! when they miss the bread.

My only regret is not having an underwater camera to capture the moments and the variety of fishes just meters from the beach.

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos - hey Simon, the DVD you made of our Europe photos that didnt work in your Sony player seems to play ok in our cheap $40 DVD player from Big-W... cheers
    David (and Kathryn)


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