About an hour away by boat from the town of Kota Belud is a cluster of three islands called the Mantanani. The largest of the three is called Mantanani Besar or ‘Big Mantanani’, while the other two are Lugisan and Mantanani Kecil or ‘Small Mantanani’. These islands have long been the home of the Bajau Laut or the ‘sea gypsies’ who live off the bounty from the sea. More recently, these islands are gaining popularity as one of the best sites for recreational diving. The presence of a number of ship wrecks from World War 2 make it more attractive especially for divers interested in wreck diving. The clear blue seas offer an amazing plethora of sea creatures with the elusive dugongs being the main crowd puller.

The main source of income for the small community of Bajau Laut on the islands is fishing. Many of the menfolk continue to go out on a daily basis under the blazing sun to support their families. However, the decline in the bounty from fishing in recent years has encouraged them to look at an alternative source of income. The development of Mantanani Island Homestay is the result of the interest and support from the local community themselves. Their generosity in terms of opening their homes to travellers and welcoming them into their community is truly amazing.

Travellers from all over the world can now join the families of Mantanani Island Homestay and experience firsthand the generosity of the Bajau Laut community. The island itself offers a multitude of activities from snorkeling in the clear waters, hunting for crabs, diving trips to the shipwrecks and kayaking. Many may not know this but Mantanani Island is actually a great place for birdwatching. Several trails through the centre of the largest island as well as open beaches offer many opportunities to catch a glimpse of bird species such as the Philippine megapode, brown-throated sunbird and the black-naped tern. That and many more seabirds should stir the soul of the most enthusiastic birdwatchers.

Travellers from all over the world can now stay with the families of the Bajau Laut community and experience firsthand their traditional lifestyle. Stay with them and support them so that your contribution goes directly towards sustaining their unique heritage. And with the breathtaking setting of a tropical paradise right on your doorstep, who could say no?

Package rate:
RM320 per person

Package includes:
Transportation from Kota Belud to Mantanani Island
2-night stay in Mantanani Island Homestay with local families
Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, watching crab, campfire, walk around the village, barbeque, watching the sunrise and sunset, and many more
*Fin, mask and life jacket are provided

Package excludes:
Flight tickets
Transportation from Kota Kinabalu/airport to Kota Belud
Other meals, activities and transfer not stated in the package
Donation or gifts for the local Bajau Laut community
Travel insurance

Optional activities:
Fishing – RM300 per boat per day
Diving – RM180 per session (equipment is not provided)


2D1N Only

Available departures

This experience requires a minimum of TWO persons per booking.
Booking is required at least 8 weeks in advance with 50% deposit and full payment 2 weeks before arrival.
We require full payment upon booking for booking of less than TWO weeks.

This tour is repeated every week on a Monday.

Unfortunately, no places are available on this tour at the moment

Group Booking

Please email us at for assistance.


Mantanani Island, Sabah

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