Mataking is a tropical island lying off the coast of southern Sabah, 38km to the northeast of Semporna. Pulau Mataking consists of two islands, a big one (Mataking Besar), 1.4km long, and a small one (Mataking Kecil), just 400m long. At its widest point Mataking Besar is just 300m wide. The Mataking islands are relatively flat with the highest elevation being one or two metres above sea level.
Both islands extend from southeast to northwest for 2.5km and are connected by a 600m long sand bar. At high tide the sandbar is almost submerged while at low tide the sandbar becomes very wide. On Mataking there is an expensive, high-end resort which caters mostly for divers. There are two jettys, both of them only available for resort guests.
Visitors who come to Mataking by boat and do not stay in the resort may stay on the beaches but are not allowed to enter the resort area in the centre of the island.
Mataking is covered by dense vegetation but there are no coconut palms along the beaches, except for a few ones near the resort bungalows which probably have been planted by the resort.
Tourists who do not stay at the resort usually come with a daytrip by boat from Semporna. These trips take about 45 minutes, also depending on the sea conditions and are offered by the dive operators in Semporna. They cost RM 110-140 in August 2012, depending on the operator. Tourists need to bring their own food and drinks, because on Mataking there are no restaurants or shops accessible for non-guests.
Mataking is beautiful and offers stunning views, especially at high tide when staying on the sandbar. The waters surrounding Mataking are rich in marine wildlife. It is easy to spot sea turtles.
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