Tag Archives: resort

Accommodations near to Kinabalu Park, Kundasang

Low's Peak of Mount Kinabalu

Kinabalu Park is the most popular destination of Sabah, visitors usually find it highly desirable to spend more time exploring the park. However, the official accommodation in Kinabalu Park is expensive. For about RM200 a night, you only get the cheapest dormitory bed with common bathroom in Kinabalu Park. If you don’t mind staying outside the park, RM200 can make you feel like a VIP.

Want more value from your money? In this article is a list of alternative accommodations within 2 Kilometre radius (walking distance) of Kinabalu Park. If cost is not important and your single top priority is convenience, then you may book the room of Kinabalu Park online.

conquer the summit of Mount Kinabalu
The following accommodations range from budget lodges, mid-range chalets to high-end resort, and you can see their exact locations in my Google map. Three things to note:

  1. The prices listed here are normal rates. The accommodation fee is higher in peak season (weekends, public and school holiday).
  2. Each hotel has different policy. e.g. the check-in time can be as early as 1pm or as late as 3pm.
  3. The rates published in some websites might be outdated or don’t include 6% GST (Government Service Tax, or known as VAT in other countries).

Recommended Accommodations

To save your time, I personally recommend four accommodations for you to have a quick start. They get excellent or good reviews by their guests, and I’m neither paid nor sponsored by any of them.

1. J Residence

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 400 Meters (≈0.25 Mile)
Rates: RM88/room to RM480/villa (US$≈26-145) (online booking available)
Room Types: Twin-Bed Room, Family Room (Triple-Bed), Villa (3 rooms)

J Residence
Kinabalu Park is only a 15-minute walk away from J Residence. No matter you are solo or group traveller, you will get the most bang for your buck here. Start from RM88, you already can get a spacious and comfy bedroom, with attached bathroom and balcony. The lodge overlooks the lush green hills and farm of Bundu Tuhan.

house of J Residence
Their main feature is the see-through glass door and window that allow you to enjoy the misty view of highland (Room 5B has the best view). The lodge has no restaurant but the nearest one (Restoran Bayu Kinabalu) is only 50 Meters away. They have BBQ pits if you want to throw a party, and charcoals and utensils can be provided for a small fee.

bedroom of J Residence
Website: www.jresidence.com
Facebook: J.Residence.Kundasang
E-mail:
Tel: +60 12-8696969

2. Mile 36 Lodge

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.4 Km (≈0.87 Mile)
Rates: RM120/room to RM360/bungalow (US$≈36-109) (online booking available)
Room Types: Twin-bed / Triple-bed Rooms, Family Room (4 pax), Studio Room, Bungalow (8 pax)

Mile 36 Lodge
Formerly known as Sunny’s Village, Mile 36 Lodge is a decent accommodation for family vacation because of its surrounding garden and fantastic view of Mt. Kinabalu at their front lawn.

Mile 36 Lodge and Mt. Kinabalu
(Photo Source: Facebook of Mile 36 Lodge)

For visitors who seek for a homey environment in cooling highland, Mile 36 Lodge is suitable for a long stay. Its rooms are clean, amenities are well-maintained, and it has a restaurant and souvenir shop.

dining hall of Mile 36 Lodge
Website: www.mile36lodge.com
Facebook: Mile-36-Lodge
E-mail:
Tel: +60 88-888161

3. Tahubang Lodge

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 100 Meters (≈328 Feet)
Rates: RM40/bed to RM160/room (US$≈12-36)

Tahubang Lodge
If you just want a convenient and cheap place to stay, and you don’t mind everything is basic, Tahubang Lodge will be your best choice. This lodge is only 100 Meters away from Kinabalu Park, the nearest accommodation to the park. Tahubang Lodge is a small lodge that can host 16 people, below are their room types:

  • 1 unit of Dormitory Room (Bunk Bed) @ RM40/bed or RM160/room
  • 1 unit of Twin-Bed Room @ RM100/room
  • 2 units of Queen-Size Bed Room @ RM120/room
  • 2 units of Triple-Bed Room @ RM150/room

(No meal included, shared toilet and bathroom)

triple-sharing bedroom of Tahubang Lodge
Another plus of this lodge is, Panataran Restaurant is just next door, which serves good variety of local food. Free Wifi and hot shower are available. Luggage storage is also available for rent at RM5 per luggage.

bunk beds of Tahubang Lodge
Facebook: tohubang.lodge
E-mail:
Tel: +60 88-888094

4. Jungle Jack Backpacker

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.6 Km (≈1 Mile)
Rates: RM35/bed (US$≈10)
Room Types: Dormitory bunk beds

Jungle Jack Backpacker and Mt. Kinabalu
(Photo Source: Facebook of Jungle Jack Backpacker)

Jungle Jack Backpacker is almost as basic as a camp that I have to think many times to recommend it. As its name implies, it is for backpacker and not for everyone. However, Jungle Jack Backpacker receives overwhelming positive reviews by their guests and becomes popular by words of mouth among European backpackers.

group photo of Jungle Jack Backpacker
(Photo Source: Facebook of Jungle Jack Backpacker)

For foreign backpackers who travel in an unfamiliar land, they will really appreciate someone likes Uncle Jack (the owner), a local who is genuine in being their friend, guide and cook. The rave reviews are mainly due to the great hospitality of Uncle Jack. The accommodation fee includes bed, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and unlimited coffee and tea!). Towels, blankets and storage space are provided. Goodness, for that price, I believe Uncle Jack is more interested in making friends than money.

cabin of Jungle Jack Backpacker
(Photo Source: Facebook of Jungle Jack Backpacker)

Website: www.junglejack.weebly.com
Facebook: junglejackbackpacker
Tel: +60 10-9477509

Just another reminder that you can see the location of these accommodations (yellow icon) in my map. My mark points are more accurate than Google’s.

(Click Here to see Bigger Map)

Other Accommodations

Here are over 10 other accommodations ordered by distance to Kinabalu Park. Some are more than 1 Km away. If 1+ Km isn’t considered as a “walking distance” to you, you may take public buses which move between Kinabalu Park and Kundasang / Ranau towns (roughly at 1-hour interval during daytime), or most lodges are more than happy to provide return transport to their guests.

1. Mountain Resthouse

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 400 Meters (≈0.25 Mile)
Rates: RM25/bed to RM80/room (US$≈7.50-24)
Room Types: Dormitory Bunk Bed, Double-Bed / Single-Bed Rooms
Tel: +60 16-8374060

Mountain Resthouse
Mountain Resthouse is a budget lodge which provides dormitory bunk bed (RM25/bed), single-bed room without attached bathroom (RM50), queen-sized bed room (RM60) and room with 1 queen-sized bed and 1 single bed (RM80). They have 12 dormitory rooms which can fit 2 to 4 people per room.

entrance of Mountain Resthouse
Hot water is available. They can cook your meal upon request (for a small fee). A lot of their customers are students.

2. Bayu Kinabalu Lodge

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 450 Meters (≈0.28 Mile)
Rates: RM15/bed to RM80/room (US$≈4.50-24) (online booking available)
Room Types: 8-bed / 6-bed Dormitory, Single-bed / Double-bed Rooms, 4-bed Family Room

Bayu Kinabalu Lodge
Bayu Kinabalu Lodge is a budget accommodation that looks like a 2-floor resident house being re-purposed as a lodge. It is next to a restaurant named Restoran Bayu Kinabalu. If you want to cook your own food, BBQ and kitchen facilities are available.

bunk beds in Bayu Kinabalu Lodge
(Photo Source: Website of Bayu Kinabalu Lodge)

Website: bayukinabalulodge.blogspot.com
Tel: +60 88-889693, +60 13-8532145, +60 14-8608688

3. Ayana Holiday Resort

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 680 Meters (≈0.42 Mile)
Rates: RM88 to RM128 per room (US$≈25-37), RM608 per House (US$≈173) (online booking available)
Room Types: Standard (Queen bed for 2 pax), Deluxe (Queen bed for 2 pax), Superior (1 Queen bed & 1 Single bed), Holiday House (1-storey, 3 bedrooms & bathrooms)

Ayana Holiday Resort
Ayana Holiday Resort is relatively new but you will love its forest view and natural surrounding. It’s a mid-range accommodation that offers clean and affordable rooms and holiday house that target friend and family groups. Their weekday rates are irresistible deals with nearly 50% off.

Ayana Holiday Resort
Website: www.ayanaholidayresort.com
Facebook: AyanaHolidayResort
E-mail:
Tel: +60 14-6636636

4. D’Villa Rina Ria Lodge

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 750 Meters (≈0.47 Mile)
Rates: RM30/bed to RM220/room (US$≈9-66) (online booking available)
Room Types: Dormitory Bunk Bed (12 pax), Queen-bed / Triple-bed Room, Family Rooms (4-6 pax)

D’Villa Rina Ria Lodge at road side
D’Villa Rina Ria Lodge operates since 1992 and quite established. Besides rooms, guests can find almost everything they need, for example, mini shop, restaurant (serve no pork), parking, hot shower, laundry service, TV, BBQ & steamboat, free Wifi and free storage room (for in-house guests).

D’Villa Rina Ria Lodge
Website: www.dvillalodge.com.my
Facebook: DvillaRinaRiaLodge
E-mail:
Tel: +60 88 889282, +60 111-6016936

5. Mount Kinabalu Holiday Home (Haleluyah Retreat Centre)

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.3 Km (≈0.81 Mile)
Rates: RM20/bed to RM180/chalet (US$≈6-54) (online booking available)
Room Types: 5-bed Dormitory, Family Room (3 pax), Chalet (5-6 pax)

Mount Kinabalu Holiday Home (Haleluyah Retreat Centre)
If you like kampung (village) lifestyle with green view, Mount Kinabalu Holiday Home is it. You will be greeted by friendly village dogs upon arrival. The place is big, with garden, fish pond, ballroom (hall) and wonderful view of Kiau Valley a distance away. Facilities and services such as laundry service / dry cleaning, free Wifi, kitchen and room service are available. They also provide transport to airport.

bedroom of Mount Kinabalu Holiday Home (Haleluyah Retreat Centre)
Facebook: mountkinabalu.home
E-mail: ,
Tel: +60 12-8480833

6. Ceaser’s Place

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.5 Km (≈0.93 Mile)
Rates: RM180-200 per studio, RM250 per chalet (US$≈54-75)
Room Types: Studio Unit, Chalet

Mount Kinabalu and Ceaser’s Place
(Photo Source: Facebook of Ceaser’s Place)

In general, their studio unit has 1 or 2 bathroom, shared / private bathroom, kitchenette, living area and Cable TV. The chalet has two rooms with queen-sized bed and attached bathroom (without kitchen). You may look at the photos and details in their Facebook.

Ceaser’s Place
(Photo Source: Facebook of Ceaser’s Place)

Facebook: Ceasers-Place
E-mail:
Tel: +60 88-888343

7. Fairy Garden Resort

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.7 Km (≈1.06 Mile)
Rates: RM80-130 per room (US$≈24-39)
Tel: +60 88-889688

Fairy Garden Resort
Fairy Garden Resort is next to the main road and has 32 rooms. The following are their room types:

  • Queen-sized bed room @ RM80
  • Single-bed room @ RM80/room
  • 1 Queen-sized bed + 1 single bed room @ RM80/room
  • Family: 1 queen-sized bed + 1 single bed + 1 double-decker @ RM110/room
  • Family: 1 queen-sized bed + 2 single beds room@ RM110/room
  • Biggest Room: 2 queen-sized beds + 1 double decker @ RM130/room

bedroom of Fairy Garden Resort
Fairy Garden Resort is famous for thier big restaurant in ground floor, which serves great food and able to host a function for over 100 people.

8. Puncak Borneo Resort

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.7 Km (≈1.06 Mile)
Rates: RM35/bed to RM180/room (US$≈10-54) (online booking available)
Room Types: Dormitory (3 bunk beds), Single-bed / Double-bed / Queen-bed / Family / Deluxe Rooms
Website: puncakborneoresort.blogspot.com (unofficial)
E-mail: ,
Tel: +60 88-889699

Puncak Borneo Resort
Puncak Borneo Resort is relatively new and it’s located on a slope next to main road, a high point where their guests can have a stunning view of Mt. Kinabalu. Its building with Bajau-style roof is quite unique so you won’t miss it when you drive to Kinabalu Park.

9. Nikgold Garden Resort

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 1.9 Km (≈1.18 Mile)
Rates: RM98/room to RM750/bungalow (US$≈30-227) (online booking available)
Room Types: Twin Share / Queen-Bed / King-Bed / Deluxe Room, 3-Bedroom Family Suite, Semi-D House, Bungalow

Nikgold Garden
(Photo Source: Facebook of Nikgold Garden)

In contrast to most accommodations near Kinabalu Park, Nikgold Garden Resort is on deluxe side. If weather permits, you can have a spectacular view of Mt. Kinabalu and its forest at this resort. It’s so quiet that honeymoon couples will find a lot of space and privacy here. If you don’t travel by car, you have to walk 1 KM from its junction next to main road to this resort, possible but taxing. This resort has no restaurant but you can bring your own food and charcoal to barbecue there.

Nikgold Garden
Facebook: NikgoldGarden
Tel: +60 88-888112, +60 19-8426228

10. Kinabalu Mountain Lodge

Distance from Kinabalu Park: 2 Km (≈1.24 Mile)
Rates: RM38/bed to RM180/room (US$≈11.50-54) (online booking available)

Kinabalu Mountain Lodge
Below are the room types of Kinabalu Mountain Lodge in general:

  • Dormitory (10 beds) @ RM38/bed
  • Double-bed room @ RM110/room
  • Japanese room (4 pax) @ RM150/room
  • Family room (4 pax) @ RM180/room

Facilities: common bathroom & toilet, BBQ, steamboat (for rent @RM20), kitchen, hot water

living room of Kinabalu Mountain Lodge
Personally I love this lodge because the exterior and interior of its 3-storey wooden house is so beautiful. It’s definitely on my recommended accommodation in this article if it is nearer to Kinabalu Park. Same as Nikgold Garden Resort, Kinabalu Mountain Lodge is located 1 KM away from main road. Located inside the dense forest, this lodge is more “nature” than the accommodation inside Kinabalu Park. Nature lovers will like this place very much.

Facebook: Kinabalu-Mountain-Lodge
E-mail:
Tel: +60 16-8104909

11. Kinabalu Rose Cabin

Chinese Name: 天山酒店
Distance from Kinabalu Park: 2 Km (≈1.30 Mile)
Rates: RM70-200 per room (US$≈21-60) (online booking available)
Room Types: Twin-bed / Queen-bed / Family Rooms

Kinabalu Rose Cabin
(Photo Source: Facebook of Kinabalu Rose Cabin)

Kinabalu Rose Cabin is a mid-range hotel which is very popular among locals and tourists. Its highlight is the magnificent close-up view of Mt. Kinabalu behind this hotel. Though it calls itself a “cabin”, Kinabalu Rose Cabin is as developed as a small hotel, just to list some facilities, restaurant (serve no pork), gift shop, convenient store, free Wifi, meeting room (can host up to 60 people).

Kinabalu Rose Cabin
(Photo Source: Facebook of Kinabalu Rose Cabin)

Facebook: Rosecabin
E-mail:
Tel: +60 88-889233

Most accommodation listed here are located next to main road to Kundasang Town, you can reach them by long-distance bus. Just 3 final notes: (1) Most accommodations are small and can be fully booked even in non-peak season, so please book earlier, (2) Wifi is generally very slow around Kinabalu Park, so don’t use Wifi service as a deciding factor to choose your accommodation, and (3) the temperature around Kinabalu Park is quite cooling (about 18°C to 25°C), so air-conditioning isn’t required.

I would like to stress again that this list is only for accommodations located within 2 Km radius of Kinabalu Park. There are many other quality accommodations that worth a mention, and I’ll feature them in future.

► More Accommodations around Kinabalu Park

dogs and cats of Kundasang
For this article, I visited most of the accommodations listed here to verify they are still in operation. Seems like almost every lodge has one or two super friendly cats or dogs. It became a “petting” trip too. Just can’t help it. They are too adorable. 😀

Photos taken in Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia

You might also like:

Manukan Island, the Most Popular Island of Sabah

Manukan Island

With over 200,000 visits annually, Manukan (Pulau Manukan) is the most frequented island by domestic and international tourists. It is only 15-minute away by boat ride, almost a no-brainer choice for people who want an island day trip near to Kota Kinabalu City (KK).

Manukan Island
However, to be fair, the reason Manukan Island becomes the most famous island is not just because it’s “convenient.” It does have three other outstanding factors that make this beautiful island of South China Sea a favorite destination.

beach of Pulau Manukan

Factor #1. Manukan has long stretch of white sandy beach

Its long beach spans about 1,500 Meter at southern side of the island, facing a bay of crystal clear and tranquil sea. The water is so calm and shallow that it’s also suitable for non-swimmers. Families feel safe to let their kids playing in the water. No matter how far their children go, parents still can have a clear open view on what’s going on.

sea of Manukan Island
Manukan is the second largest island of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP in short), and its beach is vast. Though Manukan has hundreds of visitors every day, there is still enough big space for everyone. You won’t accidentally trip over a carpet of tourists sunbathing on the beach.

beach goers in Manukan Island

Factor #2. Manukan has the Most Developed Facilities

Tourists can find almost everything they need there, from toilet, shower room, restaurants, water sport activities, souvenir shop to accommodation. You can go to Manukan empty-handed (must bring cash!) and buy your things such as food, sunscreen and beachwear on the island. But please be informed nothing is cheap on the island.

tourists sunbathe on Pulau Manukan
Another thing I like about Manukan is its forested shore. After a swim in hot day, we can retreat to the shade, rest on the bench and enjoy the gentle sea breeze. It can be quite cooling under the trees.

white sandy beach of Manukan

lifeguard in Manukan
There are a few lifeguards keeping an eye on the sea. They also know how to deal with injury caused by jellyfish sting and sea urchin. For crime prevention, there are some police on the island too.

Factor #3. Manukan Island has the Best Snorkelling Spot

Among the five islands of TARP, Manukan Island ranks top as a snorkelling site. Though its coral reef is not of world class, it’s still a wonderful treat to nature lovers. Sighting of Nemo is guaranteed. You can even see Nemo from the jetty, with thousands of other fishes.

WuChun (吴尊) in Manukan Island
In fact, many Hong Kong celebrities have been to Manukan Island. Usually they come to Manukan as personal trip and try to stay low profile. Don’t be surprised if you find WuChun or other superstars laying just next to you in Manukan.

The following is a 3-min video for you to see more beauty of Manukan:

Entrance Fee

You need to purchase ticket (which they call Conservation Fee) to enter the island. The table below is the ticket rates. Don’t forget to add return boat transfer and terminal fee (about RM30 in total, ≈US$9) to your travel budget.

Visitor Ticket Fee
Malaysian
– Adult (18 & above)
– Below 18 years old
– Senior Citizen
– Student (below 16)
 
RM3
RM1
RM1
RM0.50
Non-Malaysian
– Adult
– Child
 
RM10 (≈US$3)
RM6 (≈US$1.80)

*6% GST tax would be applied to ticket soon

jetty of Manukan Island
Pic: the jetty of Manukan Island, you can see many fishes under it.

Activities

You can have fun with many water sports on Manukan Island. The most popular and recommended activity on Manukan is Snorkelling. You can rent the snorkelling gears easily on Manukan or boat terminal on mainland. It’s ok if you don’t know how to swim, just wear a life jacket.

coral of Manukan Island
Consider this island is only 7 KM away from KK City Center, the variety of soft and hard corals on Manukan is really impressive. Nevertheless, you need to know where to look for them. Do not snorkel at the side full of people. The Best Snorkelling Location is in deeper water at the left of the jetty (when you face Manukan Island) and far away from “tourist beach.”

brain coral
When you enter the water, you will see mainly sandy bottom for the first 10 Meters, then the corals become denser and denser, at last you will reach a large “coral garden” about 25 Meters away from shore. The water is only 4 to 7 Meters deep at this distance so the visibility is very good in sunny day.

fishes in Manukan Island
Corals are the home of fishes, of course you will see many types of fishes such as Sergeant major, Trigger fish, Parrot fish, Butterfly fish and Cleaner Wrasse. The coral area is big and got so many stuffs to see, sometimes I spend 2 to 3 hours have fun snorkelling.

big school of foraging fishes
Last year, I bumped into a huge school of foraging fishes, thousands of fishes formed a long line and swam in same direction. I followed them and they didn’t seem to mind. On the way, many other fishes in different colors and species also joined the group. This is such an incredible phenomenon!

tourists trying Scuba-doo
Pic: tourist trying out Scuba-doo (underwater “scooter”)

Below is a list of activities and prices just FYI. Get extra cash ready if you plan to play these:

Activity Fee per person
(in RM)
Fee (in US$) Duration
Sea Walking 250 ≈76 30 Min
Scuba-Doo 250 ≈76 30 Min
Parasailing 90 ≈27 15 Min
Banana Boat Ride 40 ≈12 15 Min
Flying Fish 70 ≈21 15 Min
Jet Ski 165 ≈50 30 Min
Discovery Scuba Diving 300 ≈91 2 dives

Tip: These are just Listed Prices. No harm to haggle.

Ladies, be careful when some “friendly” locals approach you and offer “snorkelling tour.” There were cases these so-called guides took their female guests to deeper water, making them panic, then took the opportunity to molest them. Just report to the police on the island if that happens.

Manukan Island Resort

You can overnight on Manukan Island if you love it so much. Manukan Island Resort is the only accommodation on Manukan and they have about 20 units of single and double storey chalets. The accommodation fees* range from RM560 (≈US$170) per room to RM1,500 (≈US$450) per chalet. You may look at their online booking page for room details and updated prices.
*full board package which includes accommodation, meals, island entrance fee and boat transfer

Manukan Island Resort
Pic: Hill Side Chalets near the beach

There are two types of villa, i.e. Hill Side Chalet and Beach Chalet. Hill Side Chalets have sea view but Beach Chalets don’t. FYI, camping is not allowed on Manukan Island.

Hill Chalets (Todak Chalet) of Manukan Island Resort
Beach Chalet (Tambun Chalet) of Manukan Island Resort
Pic: Hill Chalets are on a slope and have fantastic sea view

Punai and Tuna Chalets of Manukan Island Resort
Pic: Beach Chalets can be a bit noisy when tourists walking pass the place during daytime (8:30am-4:30pm)

For reservation, you may book the room online or contact Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (management of the resort) at:
Website: www.suterasanctuarylodges.com.my
E-mail: info@suterasanctuarylodges.com.my
Phone: +60 88-308914, +60 88-308915, +60 88-308916
Cellphone: +60 17-8335022
They also have a reservation center for walk-in guests (opposite to reception / ticket counter of Manukan).

Restaurants

Food and drink are readily available on Manukan Island but sold at “tourist price”. If you are price-conscious, I would advise you to bring your own food. Barbecue (BBQ) is forbidden on Manukan (some outdated websites say you can BBQ on the island).

Cafe on Manukan Island
Pic: Koktas Cafe offers the cheapest food. You can have rice and fried noodle from RM4 to RM14.50 (≈US$1.30-4.40). Light meals are also available for a few dollars. You may look at their list of food and prices (as of Apr 2015). Koktas Cafe opens from 8:30am to 4pm daily.

outdoor lunch buffer in Manukan
You will find many outdoor food stalls behind the beach. I asked one of the buffet stalls that seem to serve decent food. The price is RM86 (≈US$26, 6% GST tax included) per head and walk-in customer is accepted. They open from 11am to 2pm.

BBQ buffet
There are dozens of other makeshift food stalls belong to travel agents. They normally sell it as part of island tour package which costs about RM150 (≈US$45), which includes boat transfer, lunch buffet and snorkelling gears. They would accept walk-in customers if there is enough food.

Arang BBQ House
Another restaurant, Arang Barbecue House also sells lunch buffet for RM86 per person. They open from 11am to 2pm.

Perahu Restaurant on Pulau Manukan
Pic: Perahu Restaurant

Perahu Restaurant is the most established restaurant on Manukan Island. You can dine in their air-conditioning room. Sometimes they close for group function. They open from 11:30am to 4pm. Yes, beer and alcoholic drink are available here. Below is a summary of their menu (Prices as of Apr 2015 and subject to 6% GST tax) for your quick reference:

  • Fried Noodle, Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice: RM26 (≈US$8)
  • Sandwich, Burger, Fish & Chips: RM35 (≈US$11)
  • Coffee: RM14 (≈US$4.30)
  • Tea: RM12 (≈US$3.60)
  • Soda Drink (e.g. Coke): RM10 (≈US$3)
  • Fruit Juice (Orange, Pineapple, Watermelon): RM19 (≈US$5.80)
  • Beer: RM28 per tin (≈US$8.50)
  • Cocktail, Wine, Whisky, Vodka, etc.: RM28 (≈US$8.50) per glass

Other Facilities

This section is an overall of other facilities on Manukan Island. You may refer to the following layout map for location of these amenities:
layout map of Manukan Island

snorkelling and sport gears for rent
Snorkelling gears can be rent next to Koktas Cafe. The rental fee for a set of snorkel, mask, fins and life jacket cost RM25 per day (≈US$7.60). You need to deposit RM70 (≈US$21), which is refundable when items return in good condition. Do bring more cash. Here is a list of all items available for rent (prices as of Apr 2015). You also can purchase other things such as beach wear, snacks, ice-cream, potato chips, instant noodle and cookies from the same shop.

toilet and changing room of Manukan Island
Pic: public toilet and shower room of Manukan Island. It is divided into male and female sections, each has about 10 rooms. There are some shower heads outside to rinse yourselves. Two things I don’t like about this toilet – it is a bit too far away from the beach, and its floor is always wet. I wish it has dry surface for me to put my bag. Anyway, it’s not too bad.

toilet and shower room
Pic: toilet and shower room. Some doors have broken locks.

Manukan Island
Pic: interlock walkway on Manukan, quite well-maintained

WW2 bombshells on Manukan
Pic: WW2 bombshells

Marine Education Center
The Marine Education Center of Manukan Island is used to exhibit some marine specimens such as seashells, turtle and corals. Currently it is close (since 25 Mar 2015) for construction of a Marine Touch Pool and may open again in June 2015. Now what they show are only a skeleton of Bryde’s whale and a shark head photo booth outside the hall.

shark head photo booth
FYI, there is no man-eating shark at Manukan Island.

Besides, there are football and volleyball fields in the center of island. For Muslims, Surau (prayer room) is available too. I wish they have locker service so I can store my belonging because I can’t bring my wallet to snorkelling. Without locker, life will be a bit difficult for solo traveler to Manukan.

Sunset Point

If you like jungle and have time to spare, you may go to Sunset Point in western edge of Manukan Island. Day trip tourists have to leave the island before 5pm so most of them don’t bother to walk 1.5 KM to Sunset Point that has no sunset. I’m not sure whether that can motivate them, if I tell them two rare mangrove trees, which are critically endangered and only 200 of them left in the wild, are found at Sunset Point.

jungle trail and jogging track
There are two ways to reach Sunset Point, one by rugged and unpaved jungle trail and another one by jogging track. Do you love bugs and birds? If it’s a BIG yes, take the jungle trail, otherwise follow the jogging track. The bonus of exploring jungle trail is a chance for sighting of Philippine Megapode, a chicken-like bird with red face. If you are the first one entering the jungle trail in the morning, you would spot this elusive bird.

jogging track to the Sunset Point
The jogging track is mostly flat path and probably accessible by wheelchair. Along the way, you would see some beautiful trees with interesting barks. The soil on Manukan is not fertile, so most trees are short and slim, with dense ferns, palms and vines growing among them. By the way, swarm of mosquitoes is present during wet season but can be none in dry month. Bring your insect repellent just in case.

Sunset Point
Pic: the broken shelter at Sunset Point

Sunset Point of Manukan
After 45 minutes, I arrived Sunset Point. I didn’t even sweat because the track is well-shaded by tree canopy. Look at the photo above, do you see a narrow path at the left? Just follow that narrow route under dense Pandanus trees to descend to the beach. It’s a bit steep so please proceed cautiously.

view of Sulug Island from Sunset Point
Pic: view of Sulug Island from the Sunset Point. It is a rocky shore without nice beach. The scenery is nice anyway.

rare mangrove tree Bruguiera hainesii
Pic: rare mangrove trees

Finally I saw the rare mangrove trees. They are locally known as Berus Mata Buaya (means “Eye of the Crocodile”). Its scientific name is Bruguiera hainesii, and only about 200 of them left in the world (mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia). I’m so happy that we have two on Manukan. I have no idea how they got here. These two trees look like a couple. Perhaps they purposely chose this sunset viewpoint as their landing spot? So romantic. There are two seedlings growing next to them. Seem like they are starting a family. Not only that, both trees were flowering and fruiting during my visit. Singaporean plant scientist Prof Dr Jean Yong said, “having the tree here is equivalent to China having pandas.” I got close-up video of these trees if you want to see more.

Overall, Manukan Island is a wonderful destination. I recommend it to tourists who don’t want to travel far to our east coast for island trip.

How to get there

Manukan Island (see Location Map) is a public marine park which accepts walk-in tourists. You don’t need to apply a permit or book any tour package to go to Manukan Island. Return boat transfer to Manukan is readily available from 8am to 4pm at any one of the boat terminals in KK City. Please note the last boat returning to KK City departs at 4pm or 4:30pm (unless you stay in resort).

More Photos

For better and bigger photos, please check out 100 latest photos of Manukan Island in my photo album:
more photos of Manukan Island

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

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