Monday, May 9, 2011

KK Trip Diary: Manukan Island

This post is from my other blog. To keep my blogs organized, I'm gathering all post related to travel and trip to this blog.

Warning, there are so much to tale about the trip to the island, so this post gonna be quite long.
The second day of our KK trip was especially reserved for Manukan Island. To go to the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, go to Jesselton Point and head straight to ticketing hall. There you'll find a lot of booth of different companies providing the same service, speedboat to the marine park.

Don't take boat anywhere else, like boats near the Handicraft Market. The price can be unreasonable (RM200 for 4 person including island hop). If you take the boat from Jesselton Point, they charge around RM15-RM20+ per person, which may include islands hop and return fare.
Another advise I could give to those planning to visit the island, if you plan to snorkelling and need to rent fin, snorkeling mask or life jacket, rent it at Jesselton Point, usually, the company that provide the speedboat also rent those stuff. The price is very reasonable. I paid RM15 for snorkeling mask and life jacket. Add another RM10, you can rent the fin too. However, if you rent the snorkeling mask at the island, it would cost you whopping RM30! I'm not sure how much life jacket cost. Oh ya, keep the receipt in safe place because you need to hop on board and during return to mainland, they will ask for receipt.

Don't forget that you need to pay RM7.20 as terminal fee. That is not included in the speedboat fare.

One more, bring your own food if possible. Food can be ridiculously expensive on the island. If you want to splurge on BBQ buffet (if I'm not mistaken it cost RM40), by all mean do so. But if you like me, trying to save as much as possible, buy food on your way to Jesselton Point. There are a lot of shop open early morning, even during public holiday. For Manukan Island trip, I bought a bottle of isotonic drink, a fuji apple and a loaf of sliced bread. Cost less than RM10. Not much, but enough to provide energy for that day.
Group photo.

One more reason why you should take boat at the Jesselton Point is because they are slightly more responsible to your safety. These boats are registered to the marine park and I believe it compulsory for them to make sure you wear life jacket in the boat! If they didn't give you one, insist on it. The ride can be tough. If the life jacket given to you is not good, wrong size or something, ask for another one. They have a lot in the boat. Be ready to get wet especially if the wave is especially large.

Once you're on the island, you will need to pay conservation fee to the park. RM3 for local and RM10 for foreigners. If you're look like Malaysian, bluff your way so you only need to pay RM3, they won't check you ID or what. My friend managed to avoid paying the fee, I don't know how, but he managed. LOL. They will give you receipt for the fee. Keep it especially if you're island hopping because the receipt is valid for all five islands in one day.

Manukan is the second largest island in the park after Gaya. It is also the most popular among all five thus the most crowded. This have negative impact to the island ecology. The first thing I saw when I first snorkeling was rubbish in the water and a lot of them. People also throw rubbish recklessly along the beach. Grrr...if you can bring it to island, you can also bring it back mainland! Actually, there are enough rubbish bins along the island. I couldn't understand why people can be that lazy to throw their rubbish in one.
When we reach the island, we were first greeted by this huge monitor lizard.

The water is clear that you can see the fish easily.

The picturesque Manukan Island. The island in the background if I'm not mistaken is Mamutik Island.

It is sad to say, but snorkeling at Manukan is really disappointing. The corals are severely destroyed, there's not much left except when you go for deeper water. There are a lot fish around especially around the jetty because people feed them with bread. I'm especially against that as it would disrupt the ecological balance of the reef. But there are almost no reef in the snorkeling/swimming zone that feeding the fish could be the only chance to see them. So much for the conservation fee. I wish they do coral planting and remove the sea urchin. I bet the park making a lot money from conservation fee, so please put it to good use. Another problem is the insensitivity of the island visitors. A lot of the corals destroyed because people tramp on it! Everytime I think about it, it makes me angry. I'd only snorkeling twice in my life and I can't swim at all, but I'd tried my best not to step on the corals. It takes some time to learn to float with out kicking the coral and learn how to keep panic at bay.
The trail.

Since all of my friends at the beach and no one near the trail, I cancel my plan to hike since it is dangerous to go in there alone.
On our way back to mainland. Notice that we didn't use life jacket? When Peter of Masada Backpacker learn that, he shook his head and frown while saying "They cannot do that, it's dangerous". He said the boat operator should make sure everyone wear it. It's the rule.

Stopping by at Sapi Island to pick up others.

 While Manukan island water is turquoise in color, the Sapi island water is much greener. It could be because of its close proximity to Gaya island.
All in all, I spent less than RM50 for the trip.

RM15 speedboat fare (one island)
RM15 Snorkeling mask and life jacket rent fee
RM7.20 Terminal fee
RM3 Conservation fee
<RM10 Food
Final word, skip Manukan Island altogether if you plan to visit the marine park. Instead, go to Mamutik island (have similar water activities and better reefs) or Sapi island. If you want to visit Sapi and Mamutik island in one day. Visit Sapi first, because around noon, during tide, the water around Sapi can be very murky, while in Mamutik, visibility during tide is still quite good.

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