Monday, November 22, 2004

TAR Marine Park : Manukan Island

Manukan beach Posted by Hello

Manukan is the second largest of the islands in the park and also houses the most facilities of any other islands within. Its convenience lies in the fact that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is just a few miles off the coast of Kk town and is readily accessible from the town jetty. Line up, get a ticket booking for a boat, state your pickup time and pay the park fees and you’re off. The first time on a speed boat riding the waves is an experience not to be missed more so if the sea is particularly rough with high waves and you’re in for the ride of your life, bumping off the waves and getting soaked. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the island from the jetty.

People density : 3/5
Manukan will be one of the more packed islands among the 5 open to visitors. Seems everyone is attracted here mainly due to the concentration of activity centers to be found. Even on normal days, finding space to put your stuff or getting a bench seat would be difficult unless you’re one of the early birds. On certain weekends, you’ll be in a bit of a jam when trying to cross the jetty as people would often be there waiting for their ride or admiring the various fishes congregating by the pier to grab a bite of morsel thrown by the tourists. Beach real estate is also quickly up for grabs as on real busy days you’ll find yourself relegated to the more rocky shores instead of prime beach front.

Cleanliness : 3/5
The park is serviced by beach crews on a daily basis. Early in the morning the beach would be raked clean and cleared of all rubbish and you’ll be amazed. Yet with high visitor density here, the place will soon be a bit run down courtesy of reckless beach users who never think before discarding rubbish wherever they choose. Overall, facilities for rubbish are well provided and the toilets are clean for use. Large groups of parties or function being held there would cause litter to pile up until cleaned up.

Scenery : 4/5
Scenery is good, the beach front offers a clear view of the other outlying islands such as Sapi and Sulug as well as a clear view of the whole of Kota Kinabalu town proper. On clear days, Mt. Kinabalu would be visible to the naked eye for all to behold. Beach is grown with pine trees, providing needed shade and aesthetics. A nature trail around the island can be used by the more adventurous. Fishes are used to human presence and are not shy to swim close to the jetty to catch a morsel to eat, you’ll usually be able to spot various species swimming in large school even as you disembark. Surprisingly for it’s distance from town, conditions in the park remain pristine.

Fish school Posted by Hello

Water : 3/5
Water quality is dependent on the season. Monsoon and heavy rainstorm would usually cause sedimentation of the sea and thus reduce visibility. Yet on most occasions the sea would be glistening blue and with a pair of goggles, a snorkeler can catch great views of the various corals and sea life near shore. There is nothing more exciting than having a rainbow fish zip by you as you go by. Temperature is usually balmy by undercurrents might give odd sensation as you pass by varying cold and warm streams as the thermocline is quite stark here.

Facilities : 4/5
The islands is one of the most developed to cater to the tourism industry. Facilities such as hotel accommodations are available for those inclined to stay overnight. A restaurant caters to those who feel puckish and prices though pricey is still affordable to the average person. Shacks and stalls sells snacks and ice cream, rentals for life vests, snorkel, fins, rubber tubing and rafts are easily found. For those not inclined to swim in the sea, a swimming pool can be utilized. Toilet facilities and showers are clean and cheap. Also found here is a small museum dedicated to conservation and marine facts.

Sand : 3/5
Not the most perfect of sands but still ideal for beach use. Most of the coast stretch is fine grained sand with shells littering the surface and thus provide good terrain for sun seekers or those intent to have a game or two on the beach. The narrow strip ensures that you won’t have to go too far away from the grounds to reach the sea. Other parts of the island are mainly rocky coasts but have some very peculiar cubic formation that bears a look.

Pocket sensitivity : 4/5
Visiting the Park is quite affordable to many. Besides the boat ride and park fees, expenses for other matters are low. Food is readily purchased and prices are fair while rental for equipment and activities are okay. If you want to save, you can always bring along your own packed food that can be purchased beforehand or bring along a spread for a picnic. Other than that the sea and the sand are free for your pleasure.

Activities : 5/5
Activity planners abound here and can readily set you up with anything you wish. Water sports enthusiasts can cheer as kayaking, banana boat rides, swimming, diving and jet skis can be arranged. For picnickers and group parties, there is no where better than at the beach. Those packing lunches and intend on having their fill of sun and surf can rest assured they’ll have a ball. Beach nets, balls, seating and tables are made available for use and barbeque pits can be rented. For hotel guests not wishing for a swim in the sea, relaxing on the veranda, swimming in the pool or just having a nice bite in the restaurant is a good way to relax. Diving in Sabah is cheap, equipment rental and trip can be as low as RM100 for 3 dives anywhere around the park and Manukan has some good spots to enjoy the corals. For non-divers, fear not, the shallow and clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and you’ll still catch glimpses of corals or handle the ever abundant sea cucumbers here.

Overall : 3/5
A great place to bring the family to or to enjoy a day out with friends. The vicinity to town is a great plus as access is easy and cheap. No need to travel long distances to enjoy a good piece of beach. The crowd might turn some people off but is still acceptable and there’s still space for a lot of people. Nice sun, great scenery and endless fun if you deign.

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