Mengalum is an island situated between 50-60km from Kota Kinabalu. It is a remote island paradise, a true hidden gem boasting powder-white sand that slopes gently into a stunning shade of turquoise. The island is well known among anglers as it is a well known deep sea fishing ground and a fishing location for the annual Sabah International Fishing Tournament. The island is 4 SqKm in size (<1,000 acres) and takes about one hour to walk around.
Mengalum is also known as ‘anchor island’ because there is a mysterious anchor being left behind more than a hundred years ago. The large anchor has been one of it’s minor attraction and symbol. There has been a lot of rumours that the anchor was left by one of Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet but it hasn’t been proven.
History Gallery of the Sabah State Museum mentions it:
“In 1854, Captain Edward Belcher of the H.M.S. Saracen mentioned in its logs an anchor lying on the island of Mengalum. Its origin is unknown. This anchor has long been venerated by the local Suluk island settlers and the Bajau from the Philippines. All kind of offerings are placed on it. While fishermen usually petition for good weather and a bountiful catch, there are those who claim to have powers conferred on them by the anchor to communicate with distant people, even with departed ones. It’s a wrought iron anchor, a Richard Pering’s improved long-shank anchor, manufactured from about 1819 to 1845.
If you are looking for an island with not too many people, then this is the island you might be looking for which is fairly accessible from the state capital. There is a private resort operating on Mengalum island itself if you are interested to stay overnight. The shallow water splendors can best be best experienced with a mask and a pair of fins!