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Just a decade ago these islands are almost unknown to most locals, let alone tourists. Its lack of commercialization really helps to keep it as a paradise island. Come to Mantanani island, also named as mermaid island, to experience a true island life where white sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, and beautiful corals reign. For now, Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge situated on the big Mantanani island is the only accommodation available for a good night stay.
Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge (MMBL), like the very popular Tune Hotel, is run with the no-frills hotel system, where guest is provided a bed, shower and the security of the room. For its opening promotion MMBL is charging only RM 50 per bed per night for the lodges until 2011. There are five lodges and five chalets at MMBL. These lodges and chalets are wooden structures with an atap roof, looking very traditional indeed. All lodges and chalets have seaside view as their main doors are tilted 45 degrees towards the sea.
|Triple Room||RM 50 per pax per night|
|Twin Room||RM 75 per pax per night|
|Single supplement Room||RM 100 per pax per night|
|Chalet (twin sharing)||RM 200|
|Chalet (triple sharing)||RM 75 per pax per night|
|Meals||RM 15 per pax per meal|
The lodges are of Indonesia origin with an open space at the lower section of the structure and a classy little staircase that leads to an enclosed upper room. A hammock and a set of chairs are provided on the lower section. The upper rooms consist of mattresses on the floor and a wall fan. Toilet and shower rooms are located just beside the lodges.
The chalets are very similar to the lodges, the only different is that the chalets come with theirs own attached bathroom. The shower has hot and cold water. Three of the chalets have queen bed setting, and two of chalets have double beds.
A big canteen with white sandy floor is located behind the MMBL compound. A volley ball pitch is located between the canteen and the beach. No jetty is built yet. So guests will have to come in from the sea the old fashion way, by jumping off the speed boat, when the speed boat runs aground on the beach.
The main activities offered by MMBL are guided snorkelling trip, scuba diving (including wreck dive), sunset cruise, and sea kayaking. Many dugongs (sea cows) used to feed on the shallow sea grass beds, but the local fish bombing activities have scared many of them away. Since then the bombing activities have scaled down. If by any chance, visitors might still get a special encounter with the dugongs during their snorkelling trips. For divers you won't want to miss the chance of doing a wreck dive. These wrecks are Japanese warships that were sunk by the Allied torpedoes back in the second world war. Sixteen diving sites have been identified so far. This is enough to keep the divers busy for days.
|Guided Snorkelling Trip||RM 60 per pax per two sessions|
|Hiring of snorkel, fin & Mask||RM 30 per set|
|Diving (2 dives)||RM 200 per pax per day|
|Wreck Dive (2 dives)||RM 550 per pax per day|
|Sunrise Dive||RM 150 per pax per day|
|Sunset Dive||RM 150 per pax per day|
|Sea Kayak (single)||RM 25 per pax per hour|
|Sea Kayak (double)||RM 30 per pax per hour|
|Extra Hour for Sea Kayak||RM 8|
Activities that you can do on your own are swimming and sun bathing at the beach, discover the fishing village, and also bird watching. Do you know that Manatani island has an owl endemic to the island called Mantanani Scope Owl. If you have a group of friends, playing volley ball at the centre court is free of charge. One of the best things to do is just go to the white sandy beaches and enjoy the natural scenery, while letting the clear turquoise water enchant you.
How to get there? From Kota Kinabalu take an hour drive to Kuala Abai Jetty at Kota Belud. Then another hour of speed boat ride will get you to Mantanani island.
|Land Transfer *||RM 50 per pax per way|
|Boat Transfer**||RM 50 per pax per way|
*Land Transfer: from KK to Kuala Abai Jetty
**Boat Transfer: from Kuala Abai Jetty to Mantanani Island
Related article by olombon:
Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge on Mantanani Island is fully operated by Traverse Tours.
For booking contact:
Lot 227-229, 2nd floor Wisma Sabah,
Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens,
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
tel: +6088 260 501 / +6088 260 502
fax: +6088 260 503
Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge Gallery: