Couple of weeks ago, I went back to El Nido Palawan and enjoyed 4 days of Beach Hopping and food tripping. While I was in El Nido, I got an invitation from Zest Air to join their Inaugural Flight to Kota Kinabalu. When I saw that water sports and island hopping is part of our itinerary, I immediately said Yes Yes and YES!. I dont know but the idea of going to the Beach after another still excites me, Beach is really a happy place for me.
Manukan Island Beach Front
Our second day in Kota Kinabalu is our Beach Day, We woke up early for our 6am breakfast then we proceeded to the Yacht Club located at the back of the Sutera Harbour Resort – our official residence in Kota Kinabalu. The island is about 1½ km long and only 20 minutes from the resort. Thanks to the modern speed boat, we were able to reach the island easily while enjoying the clear waters and the scenic islands nearby.
Manukan Island Resort
Upon arrival at the Manukan Island, we immediately noticed the beautiful marine life and the clear waters as we walk on the foot bridge. As we get closer to the reception area, I was impressed at how they maintained the cleanliness of the island.
Monitor Lizards in Manukan Island
The Island is also complete with amenities which makes the island an ideal getaway for medium and small sized group. The rich coral reefs and water sports available make this the best destination in Sabah for island hopping. One can have a private moment away from the hustle and bustle of city life and view the sunset from the Look-Out Point of Borneo.
Remnant of World War II
The ridges lie on the surface of the water with little flow. This beckons the beginners to have a diving experience. Rare marine creatures offer a great sight for underwater photographers and experienced divers. The place is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and fish feeding also. Snorkels are available for rent from boat operators at a price of RM15.
Manukan offers advanced tourist facilities, which include some open air restaurants that offer wide-ranging cuisine for visitors. Manukan is the second largest and the most popular island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. The island is surrounded by thick vegetation and hiking trails, too bad we do not have ample time to explore it. The Marine Conservation and Research Centre is yet another attraction at Manukan with remainders of World War II. Being a protected zone, fishing or damaging the marine life is restricted. Manukan Island has cottages for staying overnight. The natural serenity of the island can be felt while walking along the beach. For added security, Lifeguard posts are located at the beach emergency posts.
Sapi Island in Sabah was our next pit stop after visiting Manukan Island. It takes only about 1 minute boat ride to reach there from Manukan Island. This island is smaller than Manukan Island but is extremely beautiful. It is a less crowded Island and is quickly reachable from Kota Kinabalu. Hourly boat services from Jesselton and Sutera Harbour Resort are available to access this Island.
Sapi Island Beach Front
The most surprising thing about the island is the colour and clarity of the water. You can discover the scenic beauty of the island by taking a boat ride. While going for snorkeling you could take fish food that is available in reprocessed mineral water bottles. The island is stretched across 25 acres of land. The tour package that you book here includes your lunch too in your area.
For people who prefer less crowd and fresh water, Sapi Island is the perfect place. Snorkeling is something you definitely try at Sapi Island. Towards the North western area of the island, four dive spots can be found and on the main beach, within a restricted area, dive coaching classes are organized.
On our way to Manukan Island (photo courtesy of Philippine Travel Blog)
Since the water here is shallow, beginners wouldn’t find it difficult. Large lizards are an exclusive sight only found at Sapi Island. These monitor lizards, as they are called, can grow to about six feet in length and they are moving freely in the island. Sapi Island is indeed a must visit destination in Sabah.
With the recent strategic partnership of Zest Air with Air Asia (www.airasia.com), Zest Air flight tickets can now be booked online via Air Asia website. Now everyone can fly Zest Air (www.flyzest.com) to Kota Kinabalu using the reliable technology of AirAsia. Zest Air now offers daily flights to Kota Kinabalu at 9:35am from NAIA Terminal 4 (Old Domestic Airport) in Pasay City.