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Little known facts about Pulau Tiga and Layang-Layang Island in Sabah

Little known facts about Pulau Tiga and Layang-Layang Island in Sabah

Pulau Tiga



Have you ever watched Survivor, the popular U.S. TV Series? If yes, then you would know that Pulau Tiga was the first location of the recording. Pulau Tiga or Tiga Island is a low-lying island about 35 nautical southwest of Kota Kinabalu, and can be reached by road to Kuala Penyu, followed by a 15-minutes speedboat ride. Pulau Tiga is the largest of three islands within the Pulau Tiga Park (gazetted in 1978), the other islands being Kalampunian Damit and Kalampunian Besar (better known as Snake Island for the sea snakes which breed there).


The magnificent view of the sea from the shore of Pulau Tiga

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board

There is plenty to do here, whether snorkelling, kayaking or even doing something simple like spending the day swimming in the clear water. For the divers, this island is the ultimate location.

As Pulau Tiga is believed to have formed by the eruption of several mud volcanoes, the guests can enjoy the mud bath. The mud volcanoes are still emitting gaseous and periodical eruptions but are totally harmless; instead the mud contains minerals which are good for the skin.


Mud bath, one of the attractions in Pulau Tiga


There are mammals of various species including the ubiquitous macaque monkeys and reptiles such as the large monitor lizards. There is also a birdlife, such as hen-like megapode, which incubates its eggs in the hot sand, while there are numerous insects and wild orchids to be seen. It is not surprising that Pulau Tiga was chosen as the location for the first Survivor given its pristine environment.


Tabon Megapode, a type of bird in Pulau TIga

Image credit to Avian Vocalizations Center


Pulau Tiga has only two resorts to accommodate its guests. The original Pulau Tiga Resort, situated in the forests behind a sandy beach, offers PADI dive course and dive sites for both novice and experienced divers. The surrounding reefs are shallow, with healthy coral and visibility up to 20 m (less during the southwest monsoon). The rich variety of marine life includes nudibranch, a type of marine gastropod mollusks which shed their shell after their larval stage, bamboo sharks, cuttlefish and marbled stingray, with guaranteed sightings of banded sea snakes on Snake Island.

Another resort is the Borneo Survivor Resort, located on the eastern side of the island, which offers a range of beach games, boating, fish and snorkelling.


Layang-Layang Island



Layang-Layang, means kite and swallow in Malay, is the only atoll in all of Malaysia, Layang-Layang (Swallow) Reef rises 2,000 m from the sea floor of the South China Sea. A name fits with its environment, Layang-Layang Island has a numerous species of birds nesting and visiting the island such as Black-napped tern, Great crested tern, Sooty tern, Brown booby, Lesser frigatebird, Pacific golden plover, Plumed and Pacific-reef egrets, Ruddy tern and Yellow wagtails. Of course, there are lots of Barn swallows habitating the island.


Swallows at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


Layang-Layang is located about 300 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu, offers total isolation and subsequently stunning visibility and pristine reefs with a rich pelagic marine life. Not surprisingly, the island has earned a reputation as one of the world’s top ten dive spots.

An island was created around the original reef as a base for the Malaysian Navy, and a single resort, Layang-Layang Island Resort, subsequently opened for divers, who reach the island on scheduled flights by small plane.


The man-made island at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


There are frequent sightings of barracuda and big-eye trevally, as well as schools of scalloped hammered sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and the occasional thresher and silvertip sharks on the outer reefs. Rays are regular visitors, including huge manta rays, pygmy devil rays, marbled rays and eagle rays.

Special sightings over the last few years include whale sharks, orcas and melon-headed whales. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins frequently follow the dive boats and lucky divers have even dived among these creatures.


Hammerhead sharks swimming underwater at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


The walls of Layang-Layang’s reef are covered with healthy corals, with sea fans stretching more than 3m across filtering plankton from the passing currents. Green and hawksbill turtles are frequently seen on the reef, while the 20m deep lagoon includes macro creatures such as seahorses, cuttlefish and pipe fish. With its remarkable variety of pristine marine life, Layang-Layang is indeed worthy of its worldwide recognition.

In conclusion, if you plan to organise a trip to Kota Kinabalu, and if you love a bit of adventure, you may want to check out Pulau Tiga (Tiga Island) and Layang-Layang Island.

Tags: Island in Sabah | Pulau Tiga | Tiga Island | Layang-Layang Island |

FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2013

Manukan Island- an Unforgettable Honeymoon getaway

Do you want to experience an unforgettable honeymoon trip? Then you should go to Manukan Island for a perfect honeymoon getaway. It is only within a short boat rides away from Kota Kinabalu. Once you are there, you will know why the beautiful Manukan Island is extremely popular amongst tourists and local Kota Kinabalu residents alike.

MASWings has regular flight from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu once every day. From Brunei, three daily MASWings flights connect Bandar Seri Begawan to Kota Kinabalu. If you are coming from across the sea, there are available direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu.

From Kota Kinabalu, you can take the ten-minute boat ride from the Jesselton Ferry Terminal to this beautiful island. Manukan Island is one of the largest islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Sabah’s only marine national park. The magnificent Manukan Island has a lot to offer to visitors coming to its shores. The clear blue water surrounding Manukan Island makes it the perfect spot to go snorkelling or diving. In fact, these two activities are popular amongst visitors to this island.

If you go for a dive in the water, you will be astounded by the colourful variety of tropical fish and beautiful coral reef formation littered throughout the area. Apart from snorkelling or diving, you can in indulge many other activities in Manukan Island such as para sailing, jet skiing and boat riding. You could just simply sail along the water surrounding this island and enjoy the breath taking scenery with clear blue skies that complemented the equally clear blue water. The soft clean water is indeed captivating to the eyes. Do make sure you take many photos when you are here to capture this perfect scene!

On Manukan Island itself, you can find many things to do to indulge yourself in the honeymoon vacation that you are in. The various choices of accommodations available here will surely make you want to spend a night or two with your loved one in this tropical paradise. Manukan Island boasts complete recreational facilities for visitors, with several restaurants serving local and international cuisines, several chalets, a clubhouse and of course a dedicated diving centre for avid divers out there.

Walking together hand in hand with your loved one down the beach, with its clean sands and the beautiful palm trees rustling overhead is one experience that you will never forget. Visitors to Manukan Island often say that this island is one of the best places for a honeymoon getaway. You would be hard-pressed to disagree with them once you are here to see Manukan Island for yourself. The various indigenous plants and animal life throughout Manukan Island adds to the colourful atmosphere of this natural retreat. Watching the sun setting across the horizon is indeed a romantic and breathtaking view.

Words alone cannot describe the beauty of Manukan Island. You really have to go there to fully experience it. If you are planning for a honeymoon getaway, why don’t you take a trip to Kota Kinabalu, hop on a boat and head straight to this wonderful island for a trip of a lifetime?


Tags: Manukan Island | Sapi Island | Sabah Borneo | Honeymoon Sabah | MASwings | Manukan Island Resort | Jesselton Ferry Terminal | Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman |


Pulau Sipadan Diving

Pulau Sipadan in the Celebes Sea is an island located off the coast of Sabah. Pulau Sipadan is famous for its beautiful diving site. Pulau Sipadan, in spite of its small size, is teeming with diverse marine life and beautiful coral reefs. In fact Pulau Sipadan has been acknowledged throughout the world as having the most diverse marine natural environment. It is unsurprising that endless divers would go diving in Pulau Sipadan to experience the magnificent underwater view that this island has to offer.

What really puts Pulau Sipadan on the map was Jacques Cousteau's famous documentary featuring the island. In this documentary, the world-famous French oceanographer likened Pulau Sipadan to a magnificent piece of art that he has not encountered for the past 45 years. Pulau Sipadan is completely unspoiled as visitors are not allowed to stay on this beautiful Sabah island. Those who wanted to dive here are required to get a diving permit. Since diving permits are limited, you are well-advised to book your diving trip to Pulau Sipadan in advance.

If you want to go diving in Pulau Sipadan you will have to stay in accommodations at the nearby islands of Kapalai or Mabul. If you are on a tight budget you could stay on the Sabah mainland towns of Semporna or Tawau. From Semporna, it would only take you an hour's boat ride to Pulau Sipadan. Once you arrive in Pulau Sipadan you will definitely notice its amazingly clear water, especially between April and December. It is indeed a good thing that the Sabah authorities do not allow visitors to stay on the island and risk polluting the pristine environment.

If you are a beginner diver, it is important for you to go diving with an experienced guide. The currents near the Pulau Sipadan water can be quite strong. There are many experienced and friendly diving instructors operating in the Pulau Sipadan that are willing to help and guide you to navigate the wonderful diving locations spread through this beautiful Sabah island. The diving locations in Pulau Sipadan are breathtakingly beautiful, to say the least. As you go diving under the ocean, you will see magnificent marine life such as the rare green turtles and over 3000 species of fish swimming around in the clear water.

One notable diving location in Pulau Sipadan that you should try out is the Barracuda Point, one of the world’s largest fish areas. This diving spot is full of barracudas swimming around in an enchanting whirlpool formation. If you want to see beautiful coral reef formations while diving, then you should go to the equally famous Mid Reef. You will be able see many amazing types of beautiful corals under the sea bed. You will also see the small anemone fish zigzagging in and out of the coral reef formations.

To describe the wonderful diving scene in Pulau Sipadan in mere word words does not do it any justice. You must come here and experience the beauty of this unspoiled island off the coast of Sabah and witness the captivating underwater scenery yourself. Pulau Sipadan will undoubtedly bring your diving experience to a whole new level. So don’t miss out on the amazing Pulau Sipadan experience now.

Tags: sipadan | pulau sipadan | sabah | diving | Celebes Sea | Jacques Cousteau | Kapalai | Mabul | Semporna | Tawau | Barracuda Point |