Tourists to Kota Kinabalu City (KK) always ask, out of the five islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP), which one is recommended. My answer is – if you expect a famous and exciting tourist destination, go for Sapi or Manukan. But if you only want a quiet beach to laze around and unwind, Mamutik Island (Pulau Mamutik) is for you.
People who want to avoid the crowd will love Mamutik Island, as it is less touristy than Sapi and Manukan, the islands where they would see more people than fishes, and human noise is louder than splashing waves.
Being the smallest island of TARP, Mamutik is like an unsophisticated child who doesn’t try to impress you, it may not have charming personality but you feel more open up and relax.
Mamutik is rated by some tourists as an average island because of three reasons. First, the sea there is quite rough and water turns murky sometimes. Second, the strong waves wash many coral fragments to the shore. Stepping on this jagged surface can be a discomfort to sensitive feet. Last, the density and variety of corals isn’t great. All of the above are true.
However, Mamutik still has one of the most beautiful beaches near KK and its photo is good enough to be used as postcard. Though lack of WOW factor, Mamutik isn’t lack of happy customers who appreciate the ambience of tranquillity and privacy offered by this less-crowded island.
Mamutik Island has long stretch of white sandy beach about 200 Meters in length. The sea can be choppy occassionally and the water is getting deep after 10 Meters from shore, so be careful if you don’t know how to swim.
Every visitor can get a big share of space, swim freely and won’t collide with others (but watch out for jellyfish). Without many eyes around, tourists here behave relatively more relax.
However, the visitors seem to congregate in one or two places. Probably they feel safer to stay near to one another, or these places are near to toilet. Anyway, there are some sections that has few or no tourist, so feel free to pick a zone as your “private beach”.
Move further away from people, you can find many good photography spots with clean background, as if you are on a remote island. Most coral fragments are concentrated in the water. The beach is still mainly fine sandy beach that is nice to walk on.
If you go to the east side of Mamutik, there is a more secluded area very well-shaded by tall casuarina trees. The beach chairs are reserved for the hotel guests from Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort
. The place is quite cooling and suitable for chilling out after a swim under hot sun. You may walk or snorkel at the beach there but please keep your voice down. The staff would ask noisy outsiders to leave.
The sea waves at east side is even stronger because it is where open ocean current passing by the island. I call it a “Coral Beach” because the beach here is covered by bigger pieces of coral fragments. I even found giant clam shell once. Probably that’s how Mamutik got its name which means “shell collection”. (Note: collecting shell and anything is forbidden in this protected marine park)
Labels: Mamutik Island, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort, Tropical Island Vacation, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park