From Mabul Island we went back to semporna and spent our third and fourth day there. On the third day, we went for a daytrip to Mataking island. It caused us RM 142 for the return boat transfer, snorkeling equipment, tax to enter the island (RM2 for local) and yes it was inclusive of lunch =). We were lucky that the dive agent had provided a guide for snorkeling as we found that other dive agency do not do that. Mataking was breathtakingly pristine and beautiful. it was a secluded island with only a resort occupying a small corner of it. Therefore, it was so quiet and tranquil. We had fun learning to snorkel for the first time.
|Waiting to collect our snorkeling equipment|
We joined a boat heading to Mataking island together with 12 other tourists/snorkeling/diving enthusiasts. On the way to Mataking we passed by other equally majestic islands, Bodgaya and Timba Timba. Semporna is truly blessed with some of the most beautiful islands in Malaysia. Mataking loomed ahead in twin splendor, Mataking Besar and Mataking Kecil separated only by a thin strip of sandy bar. Amazing indeed!!.
|Far left- Mataking kecil, on the right- Mataking besar|
|Mataking resort, the sole hotel and accommodation here|
|Gorgeous blue-green waters of the island with smooth sandy beach framed with lush tropical forest|
Thus, we ended our third day basking under the sun, swimming and snorkeling and came back to our hotel in Semporna feeling a little seasick. The next morning we were up at about 5.30am and were out of the hotel by 6.30 to take snapshots of the small fisherman town that is Semporna.
|the jetty was already a hive of activity|
|The town mosque in the background- Semporna's population is of Muslim majority|
|vege and fruits, owwh so colourful|
|the ever friendly people of Semporna-at the market|
What to buy as souveniers and where to buy?
- There's a lot of pearl jewelry being sold, its reasonably priced.
- Shells are cheaper in Semporna compared to Mabul but the variety is less.
- The only souvenier shop that had everything and allowed bargain was at Dragon inn (T-shirts RM 25-35, keychains RM 2 each, cheaper if you take more, pearl bracelets ~ RM 20).
- T-shirts are also being sold in Tawau airport and there is more variety here too (price is not bad, RM 30-35).