Mantabuan Island is the smallest island in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, with an area of about 10 hectares or 0.1km².
Pulau Mantabuan is inhabited by a small, friendly community of Sea Gypsies (Bajau Laut), who live in houseboats or stilt houses built over coral reefs. Over here, it is not uncommon for visitors to be invited into their homes for a fresh coconut or two.
The Malaysian army operates a military base on the island, and if you’re lucky, you may get the chance to snap a photo inside the army outpost that comes complete with artillery and sandbags.
There are no motor vehicles or fancy commercial developments here, and visitors to the island are far and few in between.
Things To Do
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Pulau Mantabuan is a hot spot for snorkeling and diving activities. Marine life commonly found in the area include sea turtles, blue-spotted stingrays, crocodile fish, puffer fish and the rare black coral.
Several dive resorts/operators organize snorkeling and diving day tours to Mantabuan Island.
Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsies) Village
There is a small, friendly community of Bajau Laut living in and around Pulau Mantabuan.
There are no hotels or resorts on Pulau Mantabuan or any of the other islands within Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
Most visitors to the island stay in the coastal town of Semporna, where hotels and dive packages are generally cheaper.
Check this list for hotels and resorts that organize day tours to Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
Mantabuan is located about ±35 minutes by boat from Semporna, ±20 minutes from Pom Pom, ±30 minutes from Mataking and ±1.5 hours from Mabul.
Mantabuan Island is in fact a sand cay formed from the eroded remains of surrounding coral reefs, with an elevation of about 1-2 meters above sea level. The islet is flat with a sandy beach running all the way round.