A brief sojourn on an island paradise

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The beach at Dinawan Island

Approaching Dinawan Island from the shoreline of Kinarut, one cannot help but anticipate a beautiful island, surrounded by a white sandy beach with the waves crashing on the sand.

Reaching the island, one is not disappointed, as it is indeed an ideal island getaway, where one can relax and enjoy the soothing environment; the incessant crash of the waves and the warm sea breeze. They are enough to soothe one’s mind and body.

This clear blue water island resort is a mere 15 minutes boats ride from the jetty of Beringgis Seafood Restaurant in Kinarut, so it’s not too taxing to get there.

Those who wish to visit this beautiful island can go on a day trip which starts with a car transfer from Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah to the jetty. They will then go on a boat ride to the island, where they will be greeted with a cold lime drink.

Guests can opt to go for activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. The waters around the island are quite clear so these two activities will be absolutely unforgettable.  The snorkeling activities are along the island’s 300 metres long beach in the morning and they can venture out further to the sea during the afternoon as the operator would organise a boat trip to send them there.

The property is managed by Inanam Properties Sdn Bhd.

Ong Tek Kin

Its Operation Director, Ong Tek Kin said they hope that more visitors will come to the island to enjoy the magnificent atmosphere and relax, enjoy the day and of course take full advantage of the sea, sand and sun.

However, he is also concerned about the environment and wants guests to enjoy the tranquility there.

“That is why we limit the number of visitors to 150 per day. This will ensure against overcrowding and unsettling noise,” he said, adding that most people want to go to the island to enjoy a peaceful and enjoyable environment, and not deal with noisy crowds.

“We want them to enjoy themselves and leave with good memories. That way we can have return visitors.”

The island has not been developed too much and many of the trees and jungle still abound. In fact a walk on the wild side can be quite an experience for the intrepid explorer. There is a trail that one can meander into and be fascinated by the green jungle.

Ong said he was told that during the Second World War, Japanese soldiers had an outpost on this island and carried out their various activities as well as bury treasures, which could be gold.

The Banyan Tree

He said he don’t know how true the story is as they have not carried out any such search. It is a popular story told to him by villagers.

Today, the island is no longer populated and the only mark that show they were there once are cemeteries.  They have relocated to the mainland and the only occupants and visitors there nowadays are tour operators and their guests.

Sights to see on the island are interesting enough as there is a giant rock there that most believe can bring about good fortune. There is also a Banyan tree that is believed to be the dwelling place for spirits.

As for the future, Ong said they will introduce glamping chalets, the latest trend in the tourism market to bring the visitors closer to nature.

“We are planning to build 50 units of glamping chalets that can accommodate two persons. It will be done progressively and hopefully all the units could be ready by early next year so that we could promote overnight stays.”

Monica Chin

To ensure against damage of the ecology system on the island, the operator has team-up with the Ara Dinawan Research, Education and Conservation Centre (ADRECC).

Its Director of Education and Conservation, Monica Chin shared that they  are based on this island and work together with the resort in the conservation of the environment and marine life.

“We carry out study and research on the sharks, sea turtles, sea grass and marine animals. We are focusing on coral replanting and restoration works which has been damaged by illegal fish bombing activities, in the past,” she shared.

“We have identified four sites to carry out the replanting programme to restore damaged reefs to attract the fishes back. So fare we have spotted at least eight green sea turtles coming here to feed on the sea grass but no landing has been sighted yet.”

In near future they will set up a dive centre to study the shark species in the area.

Scenic area

On the flora and fauna on the island, she said bird watchers can hope to spot oriental hornbills among many others;  most of the species have yet to be properly identified.

As such, they are collaborating with University Malaysia Sabah to collect data and international conservationists including from Bali to do profiling works.

“This will involve the collection of micro plastic data by the shoreline to find out the present of this waste in the area and how it affects the quality of the water and marine animals,” she said adding that they will also be inviting experts from Switzerland to show villagers how to plant seaweed and sea grass to promote sustainability.

The centre will educate visitors and locals including students about the importance of environmental conservation. The Dinawan Island resort is indeed a place to go for relaxation and an in-depth knowledge in environmental sustainability.

More information can be acquired from 088 436312 -ce/BNN