Borneo Divers Mabul Resort, Arung Hayat Sipadan Adventures Lodge
SWV Observation Tower
Currently, there are around 4 hotels that you can book in Mabul Island
Mabul is a small island to the south-eastern coast of Sabah in Malaysia. The island has been a fishing village since the 1970s. Historically, Mabul Island was owned by a person from the Menampilik Island and had developed since it was founded. . He and the villagers planted coconuts on the island and in 1992, Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) purchased a part of land on the east of Mabul intended for tourism. Sea products become a main income for the local residents and the region provide a good and natural environment for planting coconut palms. In the 90’s, the Mabul Island became one of the attractions worldwide other than the Pulau Sipadan. The data of population recorded in 1999 is approximately 2000 villagers living in Mabul, half of them are children below 14 years old. The majority are immigrants from nearby clusters of islands in the southern Philippines. These residents are mainly Bajau Laut and Suluk Muslims who live a nomadic lifestyle.
This island is located around 15 kilometres from Sipadan island and this 20-hectare piece of land surfaces 2 to 3 metres above sea level which consists mostly flat grounds and aerial view is oval-shaped. Mabul island is administered as a part of Semporna, Tawau district and there are two main villages on the island, "Kampung Mabul" and "Kampung Musu". Basic amenities include a mosque, schools, community and fishermen's hall are available here. The main transportation mode between places around this island is by using boat.
The main language here is Malay with Sabahan dialect and also English language to local and international tourists.
There are flights to Tawau Airport which is the nearest airport to Mabul Island which takes two and a half hour from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Once you reach at the airport, a bus, taxi or minivan can be arranged from Tawau's airport to Semporna, where boats can take passengers from the jetty there to the island itself. From Kota Kinabalu, you can also take a 55-minute flight to Tawau and enjoy an hour’s drive to Semporna. From here, Mabul is another 45 minutes by speedboat. The journey takes about 30 minutes by speed boat and 1.5 hours by slow boat. You can also discover and dive Mabul on a day trip from Semporna. Be sure to pre-arrange transportation with your respective resort/dive operator. For good tips, you can try to reach an early flight in the day or you will have to stay overnight in Semporna and there is no Bank or ATM facilities on the Island so bring cash ready with you but this place accept cards for certain purposes.
While its famous neighbour Sipadan is a home to large pelagic species, Mabul is the place to find the smaller macro species such as scorpionfishes, frogfishes, nudibranchs, crocodilefishes, pipefish, jawfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue ring octopus, various crustaceans and many other interesting and rare forms of marine life. Green and Hawksbill turtles are also commonly sighted on dives. Most dive sites are relatively shallow with a maximum depth of around 30 to 40 metres and visibility typically ranges from 5 to 15 metres at the real muck sites like Froggy Lair, Paradise Reef, and Seaventure Platform measured around 25 to 30 metres at the seaward sites like Lobster Wall and Eel Garden. Mabul is one of the best places in the world for Muck Diving. There is also a wreck dive which is Police Wreck, located in between 16 to 18 meters of water close to Paradise II. There are diving package available. For example is PADI course available in English, Japanese, Chinese and Malay and diving package range from RM300 to RM 1600.
Snorkelling is also available around the island at various points. Good snorkelling can be accessed from the beach near Paradise II which is close to Mabul Divers resort. It is also popular to snorkel over the coral reef around Sandro Point, Eel Garden and Lobster Wall. There are many species can be found during snorkelling such as scorpionfishes, pipefish, jawfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue ring octopus and many more. Other than that, there are various snorkelling packages available here for visitors by experienced and certified tour guide.
This property is only 2 minute walk from the beach and located in Semporna. The unique lodge offering a sun terrace and views of the sea and there is a private bathroom with a shower in every unit. Every room is equipped with basic amenities such as television, coffee and tea maker and many more. Guests can also enjoy the restaurant which serves local and Asian cuisines. Besides that, the area is popular for snorkelling and diving and you can get your PADI Scuba Diving Certification with and experience from Open water course to Dive Master Course from the packages provided by this lodge.