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Island Hopping: Manukan and Mamutik

No visit to Kota Kinabalu is complete without a trip to the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Home to 5 beautiful islands, the Marine Park is located just about 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu’s Jesselton Point jetty. I find it amazing that with just a short boat ride, visitors of Sabah can enjoy the beauty of the islands of Manukan, Gaya, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulug.

Day 2 of my trip to Kota Kinabalu was all about the fun island hopping and snorkeling activities in Manukan and Mamutik Island.

If you have not read my other posts on Kota Kinabalu, click on the links below.

A) Firefly flight from KL To KK {click here to read}
B) Jambatan Tamparuli, Pekan Nabalu, Kinabalu Park & Kundasang {click here to read}
C) Manukan and Mamutik Islands {click here to read}
D) Kota Kinabalu Seafood Galore {click here to read}
E) Shop till you Drop @ Kota Kinabalu {click here to read}
F) Flying home from KK with Firefly {click here to read}

Waking up as early as 6am is quite easy in Kota Kinabalu as the sun rises as early as 630am. Since we did not have any pre-arrangements made, we were out from the comfort of the hotel bed as early as possible to avoid the weekend crowd on the island.

Snorkeling requires a good pair of eyes so for the first time in my life, I put on a pair of contact lenses to fully enjoy the snorkeling sights at the islands.

After a short taxi ride to Jesselton Point, I was happy to notice that there were many tour operators offering good deals on island excursions and hopping.

Through recommendation from the taxi driver, we secured quite a good deal for 2 islands, Manukan and Mamutik, along with all the snorkeling gears.

With quite a number of operators at the jetty, things can get a bit confusing. My best advice is if you are in a medium size group, charter your own boat as it’s more economical and convenience.

After a short wait, we were ready to go. Happy morning faces!

The happy faces doesn’t last long though… Due to strong wind and a rather rough sea condition on that day, the 15 minutes boat ride turned out to be one heck of a ride! At one point I felt like just turning back but since we were half way there, we decided to push on.

We were all soaking wet by the time we reached the jetty of Manukan Island….

Being early has its advantage, we got our own picnic table and the beach was less crowded.

After gearing up, we went into the clear water for some snorkeling action only to be disappointed with very little fish visible to us. It was all due to the bad weather and strong waves.

All is not lost, we ended up chilling at the beach while having breakfast.

and of course while taking lots of photos…

and cam whoring…

With no luck in Manukan, we went on to Mamutik Island hoping to finally be able to swim with the fish! At that point I want to see fish badly that I don’t care if I have to wait the whole afternoon underwater!

Finally luck was on our side. We were greeted with this sight at the jetty! Positive sign indeed…

Quickly we went into the water with my old Sony wrapped with an underwater snorkeling waterproof bag from Hypergear.

Excited faces!


I even recorded a short video which turned out to be so-so quality but I think it’s worth sharing.


Despite the excitement of seeing many types of fish on that day, the reality is there are still many types listed on the board here that we missed but that’s a valid reason for us to come back one day 🙂

An activity with satisfaction guaranteed!

As I said in my opening, a trip to Kota Kinabalu will not be complete without swimming with the fish and walking barefooted on the sandy beaches of KK’s beautiful islands. I am now already hunting for the next Firefly Airlines‘s promotion for flights to Kota Kinabalu for my next hopping trip to swim with the fish 🙂 Join me?

Planning for a trip to Kota Kinabalu? Not sure where to stay? Check out AGODA’s website (click the banner below) for a one-stop comparison of all hotels in KK and other places in Malaysia from budget to 5-star. I am personally an AGODA fan and have saved a lot on my accommodation cost for my travels.


  1. Zulia January 31, 2011 at 8:04 am

    If you found d promo, let me know. I wanna go too. Hoping there’s good promo in july

  2. sheila January 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

    beautiful islands… no jellyfish attack?

  3. zara aluwi February 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Cantik gambar2nya terutama ikan berenang iteww…

    Hari akhir (ke 4) akak dan zaid berada di Kota kinabalu sepatutnya kami ke Manukan dan Mamutik… sayang sekali kami tak kesempatan nak ke sana disebabkan hujan lebat dan laut bergelora. Kami cuma bersantai dalam kereta di tepian pantai dekat jetty mengharap hujan reda. Dikunjungan akan datang, akak akan pastikan dapat ke sana.

  4. DeeLa September 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Good info, thanx!
    Tempat cantik x sabar nak pegi bln Oct ni 🙂

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