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Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 3: Kota Kinabalu (Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park)

Early morning we took the mall shuttle bus to city center, then took a cab to Jesselton Point. Once we entered the ferry terminal, all the agents were frantically waving their hands to get our attention. We only went to those that we talked to yesterday and compared prices again. After the price was settled, we had to pay for pier tax before we departed from the ferry terminal. So rather than checking the prices one day before, actually we could just come and settle it on the day. So, here's the breakdown of what we paid per person for this trip to Sapi and Manukan Island.
RM 20 for return speedboat trip
RM 10 for life jacket and snorkeling equipment
RM 6 Pier Tax
RM 3 for Marine Park entrance fee, pay only at the first island you arrive.

Total RM 39 (SGD 20) for one whole day snorkeling trip. Damn cheap, huh?

Many travel agents in city center also offer snorkeling trips but but they are way too expensive. The price is around RM 200 including a BBQ lunch. Totally not worth it! Those islands are quite developed, so you could either pack your own lunch or buy a simple rice and dishes as you'll see later.

Sapi Island
This island is one of the five cluster islands known as Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The rest are Manukan, Gaya, Sulug and Mamutik. You could visit all the islands but it would be too rush to cover all of them in one day. What people usually do is to visit up to three islands. The popular ones are Sapi, Manukan and Mamutik.

It only took us around 15 minutes to reach our first island.

Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind

Our first stop at Sapi Island

The beach

Isn't this amazing?

Love the snorkeling here, the water was clear, not much waves and more variety of fish, not just the tiger fish. So far, they were the only fish I saw most in Krabi and Phuket. :P

We got to see more than fish!!

Komodo dragons were checking out each other

Spa with natural scrub :D

We stayed for about three hours here, packed our things and waited for our speedboat to pick us up at the pier.

At the pier

Keep this to upgrade our fish knowledge. :D

Sunbathing snake!

Flower crab

Manukan Island

Another paradise

First thing to do after we arrived was to find our lunch. We could see why Manukan is the most developed island here, there are two restaurants, a spa, and row of chalets managed by Sutera Harbour Resort. The food at the restaurant was hotel price like, so we asked around if there's other alternatives. Finally we found a small canteen behind the mamashop. I didn't know why they wanted to make it a well kept secret by not putting a big sign showing "FOOD". It was very well hidden, if we didn't ask the shopowner we could never find it.

Had our lunch under this tent.

We had one of the simplest meal but the view made up for it.

I had a half salted egg and fried chicken wing. Mine was quite pathetic but I enjoyed it. :P

Egg plants and some chicken for him. The egg plants were quite yummy.

Strolled along the beach

Sunbathing under the shade, that's what we always do!

The snorkeling here was better than in Sapi, and I finally saw Nemo for the first time. They were very shy and liked to hide in corals. 100% cute! Also saw Nemo's friend, that blue color fish and many colorful live corals which was a rare sight. Not to forget the shrimps and scary sea urchins.

The marine life here was amazing, too bad we could not take any pictures, I guess it is time to get a waterproof camera. :D

This must be pomfret.

Time passed very fast, and soon we were heading back to KK. A wonderful trip indeed!

We had our dinner at Hong Kong Recipe in Warisan Square again. The dishes were average.

Prawn salad

Sweet and sour fish

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