Journey To Borneo: Pulau Mataking

Pulau Mataking Tucked away in the south-eastern corner of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo in the Celebes Sea, Pulau Mataking consists of two islands, Mataking Kecil and Mataking Besar. Pulau Mataking is a fairly new destination for divers who are drawn by the largely unexplored dive sites. The Alice Channel, a 100-150m fracture in the continental shelf connects Pulau Mataking to the enormous ocean depths of nearby Pulau Sipadan, guarantees the diver a rich variety of marine life offering both macro and pelagic diving. There are 30 marked dive sites around Pulau Mataking and its surrounding islands of Pulau Pandanan, Pulau Timba Timba and the Tun Sakaran Marine Park Islands of Bohey Dulang and Gaya. Lying on the continental shelf Mataking, is surrounded by fringing reefs carpeted by an array of hard and soft corals, gorgonians, sea fans, acroporus, featherstars and boulders. Pulau Mataking has been declared a marine protected environment ensuring a pristine and bio-diverse diving experience. Turtles, barracudas, big-eye trevallies, a variety of juvenile reef fish, frogfish, clown triggerfish, lobsters, mandarin fish, and stonefish, populate the reefs slopes and seasonal whalesharks have been spotted close to the Mataking jetty. A 45min flight from Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, takes you to Tawau, followed by an hour’s drive to the coastal fishing town of Semporna; Pulau Mataking is a 40min boat ride from there. The 40 acre Mataking Besar houses the eco-friendly Reef Dive Resort, made up of 8 chalets and 2 lodges it can accommodate up to 60 guests. Extensive activities are available to non-divers and children, making it a perfect destination for families. Whether it be ocean kayaking, island hopping, snorkelling trips, deep sea fishing, jungle trekking with an experienced guide, beach volleyball and soccer, sunning on the snow white sandy beach, seaweed and fish farm tours, traditional massage, kite flying and fish feeding, the Reef Dive Resort can provide for all ages. Enjoy the outdoor Mangrove Spa set amidst rustic pools and mangrove trees – yet another irresistable luxury here. Over 24 species of birds, tree climbing coconut crabs and fireflies populate the jungle of Mataking, Green and Hawksbill turtles occasionally come to shore in the night to lay their eggs. A meander along the 1km sandbar that connects Mataking Besar to Mataking Kecil, only visible at low tide, is something not to be neglected.


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