Monday, May 11, 2009

Day Trip to Mantanani Island

Bites Tale : Just came back from Miri yesterday afternoon. The authorities in Miri are taking action in ensuring that the town will not be infected by the H1N1 Virus, there are posters, explanation on what the virus is and which are the countries affected. As we enter the airport, we were required to declare whether we've been to countries infected by the virus for the past 14 days, any symptoms such as cough, fever, our address and contact number. There were also personnel who measured our temperation for precaution. Such a big difference in KKIA Terminal 2 where no one seems to bother. We came down from the airplane and left the airport just like that.

Guess no one could resist stepping on a white sandy beach. Although Kota Kinabalu city is famous for its beaches and sea, there are cases where some, especially tourists, who think that the sand or beaches at Manukan, Sapi and Mamutik Island are not up to their expectation and hope there is another island they could visit but do not have sufficient time or budget to visit Mabul, Mataking, Kapalai and Sipadan Island can actually opt for a day trip to Mantanani Island.

Mantanani Island -- a grouping of 3 islands located northwest of Kota Belud. The island where we visited is Mantanani Besar where you could find tour operators at different sides of the island. If i am not mistaken, there is only 1 tour operator there who has overnight stay facilities at the island. We have the opportunity to visit the island last month and the one we went to is the operator who operates day tour and camping at Dugong beach.

We started our journey by road and took about 1 and half hour passing through villages and reach a village where the jetty is located. Took a short walk to reach the jetty and we were required to sign an indemnity form then to choose the snorkeling fins before boarding onto the boat for a 45 minutes boat ride to Mantanani Island.

It was really hard for me not to be nervous on the boat after my experience of boat capsized in Year 2007. I've cried twice that day-- during both the boat rides to and from Mantanani Island. The 1st was me being too nervous and the 2nd was when i thought i was controlling my emotion very well, the wave went so high that it splashed straight onto us... it was just crazy!

But it was worthwhile to went through all that to get to such a beautiful place where you could name it "Paradise"... white sandy beach, magnificent clear blue sea, gentle breeze and no sign of civilisation. You could easily forget all your unhappiness with just 1 glance of the island.

One of the main activities here is snorkelling, there will be snorkelling trips to 2 different snorkelling sites at the island. Although i don't go for snorkelling because i can't swim, i could easily see from the laughters from those who went that clearly shows that it must be one hell of experience to see the different variety of tropical marines life and coral reef habitats. Unfortunately, no one saw dugong i.e. sea cow that day.

The dugong was the main reason Mantanani Island get its fame from. There were times where people not only can see dugong but also can swim with it. However, it was said that chances of seeing dugong is minimal due to destruction of its natural habitat at the island. Meanwhile, those who are adventurous could explore the mystery of Mantanani Island -- 3 Japanese World War II ship wrecks which lie within a kilometre of each other.

It was not a good day for snorkeling that afternoon. Most people was stung by jellyfish so they return early from the 2nd snorkeling session. And for myself, apart from reading, sleeping and picture taking at the beach, i left my kite on a coconut tree that day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mengkabong Water Village

Bites Tale : This blog entry was lying in my draft folder since 24 August 2008, that's why i can blog so soon after the previous entry is published! :D

If once in a while you would love to have a nice quiet place to relax and not so far from town, this could be a good choice. A bookworm like me would love to bring a good book, order a hot cup of coffee (even better with some banana fritters) and start reading while the others who love sports can entertain themselves with the many activities available here.
Pic : Board games & darts for those who are scared to be under the sun

Pic : Anyone up for banana boat ride?

Pic : How bout a volley ball game?

Pic : A race... may be?

Pic : I like this --- Batik Painting

Pic: Finished products :P

Despite the many activities here, the main attraction here is a river cruise to the Mengkabong Water Village -- a village built on water where the Bajau fishermen live since early 19 century.

Pic : Jetty
Pic : Off we go

We were told that the villages divided into 2 sides, the one at near the river banks are complete with the basic facilities such as water and electricity supplies while the other side are lack of facilities due to no road access.

Pic : The houses without electricity

Pic : Village side that are complete with the basic infrastructure

Pic : Surrounded by Mangroves

Some pics for those who wants to know whether the loo is well-maintained :

Pic : Nice eh?

Pic : Not bad

Pic : Nothing fancy, but it's well maintained as compared to 1 Borneo's :P

After having tea break, we decided to drive to the village and observe whether there is any possibility for us to add in some activities like visiting the village forks and understanding their culture and day-to-day activities.

Pic : These banana fritters tasted ichiban!

Unfortunately, we were taken aback by the kids in the village. Most of the villagers are nice and welcome our visits, however, there were a group of kids who acted out of control and asking for money from us. They even put nails at one of our tyre when we were reversing our car.

Although it would be a great idea to let tourists and even the locals to understand the culture and experience for themselves at the village, we had to abandon this idea until the right time has come.

Pic : Part of the village

Pic : There's sufficient life jackets supply here