The Mantanani islands are a group of three small islands located in the South China Sea, 35km north of Kota Belud (Sabah). Pulau Mantanani Besar is the biggest of these three islands, extending 3.5km from east to west and 800m from north to south. It has beautiful white coral sand beaches and is surrounded by crystal clear sea. It is possible to walk once around the island in about two hours, for instance by starting at the Mari Mari resort and proceeding counterclockwise, then crossing the island through the forest once reaching the end of the northern beach.
At the moment Pulau Mantanani is only accessible through tours (daytrips and overnight trips), because there is no public boat service in Kota Belud. These tours are very expensive, considering that the Accommodation at the Mari Mari resort is very basic. The seawater around Mantanani Besar is very shallow and it is possible to walk for 500-600 metres before reaching waters deep enough for swimming. A major nuisance on Mantanani Besar are blood-sucking sandflies.
When the sea is rough, Mantanani becomes inaccessible by sea and tourists on the island cannot leave the island.
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