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Mabul ~ Sabah , Borneo


photos on mabul, sipadan and kapalai


Why Mabul?

Mabul is a little island some 25mins by boat from Sipadan. Many who visit the area stay either at Mabul or at Kapalai. You may have found out by now that Sipadan no longer caters to overnight stays. All operators who had resorts on Sipadan have now relocated their operations elsewhere.

passing the mabul water bungalows, on the way home..

Mabul itself is a small island, currently with 4 resorts in the area, 1 converted oil rig stationed just in the shallow waters off Mabul , a bajau fishing village, a mosque, a school and an admin centre for the village. Just to the left of Sipadan Village Resort are several stalls selling all sorts of seashells. Please do not buy them as you may have been informed that it is an offence to take anything of this sort out of Malaysia and could be an offence to take them into your home country too.

young girl pumping water

Just to the back of Borneo Divers Resort is the village. A stroll round showed us how basic their lives are out here in the vast Indo-Pacific Ocean. Mostly fisherman, the bajau laut has always been noted in history accounts of being hostile and were better know in the old days as sea gypsies. Sea Gypsies had a notorious reputation of being ruthless to visiting boats. Progress has changed all that now. Many have turned to living on land and making a life out of fishing. Even so, please as a visitor on the island do dress appropriately if you intend to visit the village. They are conservative and don't take to visitors disrespecting their way-of-life much.

But Mabul has a beauty and it's not the kind you may get at Sipadan. Having been quite used to diving on coral reefs, diving in Mabul is as much a WOW! as being on coral reef. At Mabul it's called 'muck diving'. Not familiar with the term, we were not too sure that we would actually appreciate wading and finning through muck. But once we got accustomed to the fact that we've hit rock bottom..the only way to go is macro. Apparently, 'Muck Diving' was coined by a bunch of divers on a liveaboard

keeping the goats in the pen, the yard tidy and grandchildren clean

down in PNG (Papua New Guinea). Nothing to do in the evening possibly prompted an adventurous diver to jump off the boat and into the silty yonder just below the hull. Muck diving is usually in conditions where divers scour the silty, sandy shallow beds for the weird and wonderful creatures that hunt and breed and live in this seemingly barren area. Visibility is usually pretty poor but vis is not a priority in muck diving. Underwater photographers get to take their time taking as many pics as they like in conditions good for them and for the environment. No thrashing divers, no broken corals and no broken hearts.. (for the environmentalists at least)

some creatures you dont have to dive to see. this young banded sea krait was seen slithering across the bar floor. It was caught and quickly released into the water

We saw as many creatures muck diving as we did diving on the pristine coral reefs at Komodo/Flores and perhaps even more! It was simply amazing. And when muck diving, don't shrug off debris on the beds, such as old tyres, concrete blocks, bottles etc. there may be lots of creatures taking cover.







more on dive sites...


Accommodation & Packages to North East Sabah ~ Tawau, Semporna, Mabul and Kapalai, Mataking, Sipadan , Lahad Datu & Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Accommodation & Packages:


| Heritage Hotel | Belmont Marco Polo | Promenade Hotel


| Borneo Global Sipadan Backpackers | City Inn | Han Palace Hotel | Marina Hotel | Seafest Hotel | Singamata Adventure Semporna | Sipadan Inn | Sipadan Inn 2 | Day Trip To Borneo Semporna Proboscis River Cruise |


| Arung Hayat Sipadan Adventures Lodge | Seahorse Sipadan Scuba Lodge | Sipadan Water Village Resort | Sipadan Mabul Resort | Borneo Divers Mabul Island Resort | Seaventure Platform | Mabul Water Bungalows | MV Celebes Explorer Liveaboard | Day Trip To Mabul Island |


| Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort |

Mantabuan Island

| Day Trip To Mantabuan Island |


| Reef Dive Resort | Day Trip To Mataking Island |

Boheyan Island

| Day Trip To Boheyan Island |

Pom Pom Island

| Celebes Beach Resort | Pom Pom Island Resort |

Sibuan Island

| Day Trip To Sibuan Island |

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

| Tabin Wildlife Resort |

Danum Valley

| Borneo Rainforest Lodge |

Tawau Hills Park & Maliau Basin

| Drive Around Borneo in 10 Days |

Lahad Datu

| Asia Hotel | De Leon Hotel | Executive Hotel | Felda Residence Sahabat | Kingston Hotel Grace | My Inn | Royal Palms Hotel & Spa | Silam Dynasty |

Combination Trips

| 10 Days 9 Nights Sabah Nature & Sipadan Dive Trip | 10 Days 9 Nights Kinabalu , Sandakan Wildlife & Kapalai Dive Trip | 9 Days 8 Nights Mount Kinabalu Climb and Sukau Wildlife Adventure | 7 Days 6 Nights Kota Kinabalu & Sandakan Wildlife Adventure | 6 Days 5 Nights Sandakan Wildlife Adventure & Lankayan Island Trip | 5 Days 4 Nights Sukau -Tabin Wildlife Experience Package | Borneo's Big 5 in 10 Days |


Malaysia Islands

Peninsula Malaysia Islands

| Pulau Aur | Pulau Besar | Pulau Bidong | Pulau Duyung Besar | Pulau Gemia | Pulau Kapas | Pulau Langkawi | Pulau Lang Tengah | Pulau Pangkor | Pulau Payar | Pulau Perhentian | Pulau Pemanggil | Penang | Pulau Rawa | Pulau Redang | Pulau Sibu | Pulau Tenggol | Pulau Tioman |

Peninsula Malaysia Coastal Beaches

| Marang | Merang | Rantau Abang | Penarik | Port Dickson | Tanjung Jara | Cherating |

Sabah and Sarawak ~ Borneo Islands & Coastal Beaches

Sabah Islands ~ | Gaya Island | Kapalai | Pulau Mabul | Pulau Sipadan | Selingan Turtle Island | Mantanani Besar Island | Manukan Island | Mataking Island | Lankayan Island | Layang Layang Island | Pom Pom Island | Pulau Tiga Resort (Survivor Island) | Mari Mari Sepanggar - Sepanggar Island |

Sabah Coastal Beaches ~ | Kinarut, Papar | Tuaran |

Sarawak Coastal Beaches ~ | Damai Beach, Santubong | Kayakking with Dolphins |

More in Sabah

Holiday Trips & Packages in Sabah

Accommodations & Hotels in Sabah