If you are into snorkelling, Sabah offers you plenty of options. And while the Tunku Abdul Rahman park ( Gaya, Sapi, Manukan and Mamutik) is famous, it is crowded because it is too close to the city.
If you want a better snorkelling option, (but takes a little of travel), Mantanani is a better choice.
The Mantanani islands are a group of three isolated islands located northwest of Kota Belud, Sabah.
The Mantanani besar which has a knife like shape has a beach that stretches up to 2500 metres and water visibility of up to 40 meters deep.
Aside from the wealth of marine treasures, the island is blessed with shipwrecks, making it a haven for sea creatures. The current here is also mild most of the year.
For a Mantanani snorkeling tour, one needs to go on a two-hour drive to Kampung Kuala Abai jetty in Kota Belud.
From there, you'll hop on a speedboat for 1 hour trip to the island itself.
There are 16 marked diving spots to explore in Mantanani, including more that have not yet been mapped, consisting of ancient and fascinating shipwrecks.
The most famous diving spot in Mantanani is around the Usukan Bay. There are 3 Japanese warships sunk by a US submarine during World War II, and magnificent coral reefs swirling with fish of many colors.
The best time to visit is from April to September. Outside of this period you might need flexibility of schedules to travel as the sea can be rough at times.
Since the trip to Mantanani is long, many opt to get here on a 2D1N trip, with the chance to see Mantanani spellbinding sunset view.