Welcome to Pulau Mantanani
The 3km-long Pulau Mantanani Besar (Big Mantanani Island) and Pulau Mantanani Kecil (Little Mantanani Island) are two little flecks of land fringed by bleach-blond sand and ringed by a halo of colourful coral, about 25km off the coast of northwest Sabah (about 40km northwest of Kota Belud). Dugongs are spotted here from time to time, as is the rare Scops owl. The islanders, commonly referred to as Bajau sea gypsies, have clashed with the government because of their opposition to resorts buying up land for development. The two islands are not the peaceful idyll they once were, with large groups of tourists coming here on day trips, particularly on weekends.
Stay on the island, however, and it's still a chance to cut free of the outside world for a few days. You can night kayak and night dive here, bird-watch or take a sunset cruise.