Venturing to the Mythical Islands of Mantanani

The Mantanani Islands, a cluster of paradisal gems off the coast of Sabah, have captured the imaginations of many over the years. The islands are shrouded with myths and legends, with stories of sea spirits and buried treasure adding to their mystique.


Mantanani Island


The island was originally named as Pulau Janda (Widow Island). The name “Mantanani” is believed to be derived from the word “Manta” means blanket in Bajau Ubian and “Nani” a popular local hero who dared to fight the Japanese during the war. It was believed that Nani used the blanket to cover himself while he was in hiding in Pulau Janda from the Japanese soldiers.

Dubbed the Mermaid Islands, the archipelago is famed for the bewitching presence of the mystical dugongs, sea cows with an otherworldly aura that has captivated local fishermen from nearby villages.


According to the Kadazandusun folklore, after the great Creator or what they call “Kinoingan” or God, made the earth and he found that the balance was not met. He then proceeded to place two huge rocks, one in the mainland and the other in the sea. The one in the mainland is now what we call Mount Kinabalu and the other one formed the Mantanani islands.


In recent years, Mantanani has become a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in nature. The islands are known for their pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, with visitors often spotting sea turtles, giant clams, and colorful schools of fish.


Despite their increasing popularity, the islands of Mantanani have managed to retain their natural beauty and charm. The local communities have worked hard to ensure that tourism is sustainable and that the islands remain unspoiled for generations to come.

If you’re looking for a truly unique and unforgettable experience, consider venturing to the mythical islands of Mantanani. With their rich history, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality, they are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.