Saturday, August 25, 2007

Great escape in scenic Manukan

Visitors arriving by boat
A great view of the other islands near KK

Chalets nestled in a picturesque setting

Para-sailing at Manukan
Enjoying a day at the beach

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Mohammad Abdullah and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Mohammad Abdullah

What is there to do in Kota Kinabalu apart from soaking in the beautiful mountain scenery and shopping?

Well there's always a trip to the many island resorts there. One such island is Manukan, which offers a great escape from much of the stress we endure everyday.

One of the five islands that make up Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Manukan is only 20 minutes by boat from the state capital of Kota Kinabalu.

It offers clear waters and beautiful coral reefs - ideal location for snorkeling, diving and swimming.

This 51-acre boomerang shaped island is the second largest in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and boasts good stretches of beaches for water-skiing and sea sports. The beaches, however, are somewhat rocky and swimmers should exercise some caution.

There are coral beds on the eastern and western reefs and multicoloured coral fishes abound here.

For visitors looking for more leisurely activities, there is bird watching. Some species to note are the island-dwelling Pied Hornbill and the interesting Megapode. Between September and April, a large flock of terns and other migrant waders can be seen resting on the sandbar during low tide.

However if birds of that sort are not your cup of tea, head down to the beach where there's plenty of featherless birds lying on the sand soaking up the sun.

There is also a small nature trail you can follow along a cool lowland forest where you might encounter a pangolin or scaly anteater or monkeys.

There are also monitor lizards on the island looking for scraps to eat. Though these reptiles are shy by nature, picnickers are advised to be cautious when bringing food along the forest trail.

There is also plenty of colourful local fishes which hover near the surface at the jetty, just waiting for you to feed them.

However, the main attraction of the island is the beach and water sports.

You can para-sail or take a dip in the clear blue sea. Or rent out a speedboat and zoom around the island for some thrills.

For those who have never para-sailed, this is possibly the best time to try it out. It is safe, cheap and fun! You can either ride in tandem or alone. Whichever you choose, it is a great way to view the island from up above.

We didn't spend the night at the island but opted for a day trip instead. However those looking for accommodation can stay in one of the single or double-storey chalets, which overlook the South China Sea and where a spectacular sunset is almost a daily affair.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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