Last Updated on : Sunday, 13 November, 2016 09:14:03 PM

There are six diver's lodge on Mabul Island

Mabul Paradise Lodge



Uncle Chang's  Lodge
Spheredivers Scuba


Mabul Backpackers (



Mabul Backpackers
the location of our SIPADAN.COM Dive Center

Mabul Backpackers :: SipadanBorneo Resort,

Enjoy the relaxing Borneo atmosphere at our newly built longhouse on Mabul Island.

Located in a quiet part of Mabul island, it is clean, smart and comfortable.

It is also the location of our SIPADAN.COM Dive Center.

Only 50 RM - 95 RM per night including 3 meals (Dorm or Twin-share basis).


“Amazing staff and diving instructors - ideal for backpackers”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile
Our stay at the hostel was definetely a trip to remember. The staff and diving instructors made our stay unforgettable, thank you so much for this warm welcome and sad goodbye! We felt so comfortable at this place thanks to you guys.

The food was good and the hostel itself had a relaxed atmosphere. The rooms are very simple but ok. The only thing that bothered a little bit were the toilets and showers and the trash all around the hostel, but it seemed to us that it is normal on Mabul island which is pretty sad..

The village around the hostel made up for this though, we had so much fun exploring it and it was just stunning to see how the locals live here. If you stay in an expensive resort, you will never get so close go the real life of the island.

All in all I would definetely recommend this place if you don't fancy luxury and if you're looking for an authentic diving experience :-)

Stayed October 2016


Reviewed 27 September 2016
I cannot recommend this place enough, even if you don't plan on diving every day, you can easily spend a week here on the island, enjoying the hammocks and company of instructors and guests. Considering you get three meals a day, and very attractive prices on diving, this is amazing value! While everything from accommodation to food is quite basic, the place is very charming, and when you eat with everyone several times a day, you become acquainted very quick. For a backpacker on a budget, this was the perfect getaway in otherwise expensive Borneo.

For some reason, quite contrary to the rest of Borneo, cigarettes and alcohol bought from the local shops are imported from the Philippines, making it really cheap. The whole island has a chilled out vibe, and the big lizards (at first scary, but then very interesting) and local villages mixed with big resorts makes for a very special island. We were mostly young people, but also had a family staying with a young daughter who very much enjoyed snorkeling right off the dock of the hostel, playing in the sand and watching the sunset.

Diving wise, the equipment had seen better days (holes in the wetsuits), but everything was operational and worked as expected. Instructors were good, and being "close" to world class Sepidan island, there was a lot of interesting marine life to see, including eagle rays (I think that is what we saw). WiFi was terrible slow, and pretty much only worked at night when everyone was sleeping.

Go for diving, for go fun, go for relaxing, just go to Mabul Backpackers!

Stayed March 2016, travelled as a couple


“A great budget choice for diving in Sipadan and Mabul/ Kapalai”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 September 2016 via mobile
Mabul Backpackers was recommended to me by fellow backpackers as I was making my way up the Borneo east coast. I was not disappointed! Mabul Backpackers is one of the few budget diving resorts: accommodations in Mabul. It's beautifully located at the end of the strip with an adjacent beach that is not full of litter and sighting plastic bags etc. floating around is a rare sight. The porch where most of the social life including breakfast, lunch and dinner faces the open sea, it's great. The atmosphere is laid back and chilled. Everything revolves around diving and snorkelling. Some of the staff play the guitar and sing. It really adds to the atmosphere. Everyone is friendly, helpful and wants you to have the best of experiences. The food is simple, tasty and plentiful.

When you leave it's all very sweet and heart-warming. They see the boats of with a Mabul Island special of "Leaving on a jet plane. Real nice.

The rooms are simple yet functional and fairly clean. Most are double bed rooms equipped with a power outlet and a fan. Electricity is on between 6pm - 6am. There is no fresh water except from the the drinking container. Showers, taps etc are salt water. My only complaint is the hygiene standard of the toilets. Even in a budget accommodation on an island I expect a minimum cleanliness. It's manageable but it's not very nice, it's dirty.

The main reason for going to Mabul is the diving (or snorkelling) and Sipadan may be the main prize but diving around Mabul and Kapalai is a rewarding experience and worth the trip in its own right. There are quite a few and varied dive sites and there is a great array of marine wildlife to be found. Turtles are almost omnipresent, there are Giant murrays, Lionfish, Crocodile fish, Jackfish, Parrotfish etc etc etc. It's a great place to dive. Seaventure for example is an old oil rig (now hotel) and diving below is great. In Kapalai, the House reef consist of a number of submerged empty shell huts and swimming in between the huts is like walking down an alley. Also, at one site, boats have been sunk to create an artificial reef and a wreck dive.

I have to commend Tahir and his team of dive guides. They are easy-going and fun loving guys and once they are in the water absolutely professional. The amount of sea life Tahir spots is just incredible. I was fortunate enough to ha e him as a guide on all my 6 dives and how he picks up even the tiniest of creatures is just beyond me.

The equipment is not the newest and a bit worn but it's all working well.

If it's wasn't for the amenities I wouldn't hesitate for a second to come back. However, I fear that I will be much older when I return and then I don't think I would put up with the the cleanliness or lack thereof...

Stayed August 2016, travelled solo


“Perfect location”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 9 August 2016 via mobile
Love the location which is at the very last end further from the village and away from all the trash floating in the sea. Just by snorkeling near the platform, we found a stone fish, morray eel, dwarf lion fish, yellow box fish and blue spotted sting ray. At night sometimes devil Ray or a turtle would swim by. Some octopus too. Food is very good and buffet style. Eat all you want! It'd be perfect if their toilet is a bit nicer and the manager be more visible and friendly. The local staffs from Mabul Islands are lovely though speak very limited English. Dive equipment however need replacement especially the masks. Hope they read this and respond as I'd love to recommend the place to others but until this is fixed.

Stayed May 2016, travelled as a couple

“Awesome atmosphere”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 July 2016
I had a wonderful time at Mabul Backpackers! Stay a couple of nights and you will quickly become a part of the family that includes guests, staff and of course the lovely cats roaming around. I ended up extending my stay and so did many of the other guests. I came to Mabul mainly for the Macro diving, which was superb, topped off by a Flamboyant Cuttlefish in Kapalai on the last dive.
Thanks to all of the team, especially the cheeky but eagle-eyed Tahir, who was treating us with very emotional Goodbye-Songs.

Stayed June 2016, travelled solo


“Loved it”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 29 June 2016
This was to me one of my most favourite backpackers place ever.

The rooms were clean though only fan. but then most of ous just lounged in the lounge area all day long when we were not out in the water. its further apart from the rest of the hotels so its quite nice that way. food was good. service was great, the staff are very friendly and helpful.

i did all my snorkeling with them and basically they ensured we were safe and well taken care. cant wait to go back.

oh only one con - shower water is salty - its the same on most of the backpackers places there.

also electricity is not available in the day.

Stayed May 2016, travelled solo


Ok people, here's some honest facts for those thinking of coming to stay here. The backpacker's accommodation is exactly that....for backpackers...not for flashpackers. Don't come if you want 5* but are not willing to pay the price. There are 5* resorts on the island but they are mega bucks....this is easily the best budget place on the island (this is coming from someone who stayed here for over 2 years and got to see the others)....the budget resorts on Mabul are Big John, Billabong, Uncle Changs, Sphere Divers and a few small others.....these all have a standard menu of chicken and rice daily. Mabul backpackers tries to vary their menu by having spagetti 1/2 a week, chicken adobo (philippino dish) etc. The rooms are all pretty standard on the island but what sets this place apart is the sundeck area...its vast with loungers and great views of the sunrise/sunset. The ensuite rooms are a very welcome addition and are defo worth the extra cash.....but if you dont like diving/snorkelling, dont bother! It is a world famous MACRO diving island so if you want schools of hammerheads etc, this is not the place.....and neither is Sipadan...Sipadan was great approx 10 years ago (when i first came) but it is not now comparable to other 'world famous' dive spots.....if you are a first time open water diver who has never seen a whitetip, you will love it....but seasoned divers will be bored of Sipadan very quickly...Mabul, however, is a true MACRO heaven. Blue rings, flambos, pygmy seadragons etc.....true macro heads will love it....and if you dont want to pay 5*, stay here!

Stayed July 2015, travelled solo


“Very nice place”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 June 2016
The room was nice, although the toilet was not very good and shower water was salty. Other than that the food was very good, as well as the amazing terrace, and friendly staff. It is not possible to stay without all inclusive meals. connection was very poor.

Stayed May 2016, travelled as a couple


“Friendly people but dirty!”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 25 May 2016
Very friendly and relax staff, good food and a beautiful view. Unfortunately our room wasn't as nice as expected, there was plastic around the bed and in the middle of the night when it started to rain we got wet because of several wholes in the roof. The bathroom clearly had not been cleaned for the last few months at least. Would expect more for that money and they have so much staff that hangs around al day, I suggest they do something about it! And warning- don't come here for snorkeling because the sea, and the Island is FULL of trash!


“Cosy room with very nice people.”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 17 May 2016 via mobile
This is a budget place but the people here are nice. I made friends with the innkeeper and his staffs. Food is great too. You can buy raw sea food from the islanders and ask the cook to prepare it for RM20.

I met with an accident there and the staffs were very helpful. They went out of their way to help me. Pretty much very pleased.

There room is nothing much to shout about but clean and cosy. They have a more premium room but I took the budget choice.

Stayed May 2016, travelled with friends


“Incredible place to stay on! ”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 29 April 2016 via mobile
Me and my friend really enjoyed our time on Mabul backpackers. Just so good food, friendly staff and everybody laughed so much. It was cheap and a perfect place for you who likes a smaller place. I am very happy about Mabul island on this accommodation!! Vänersborg äger btw ;) / Happy guy from Sweden


“Great place, amazing diving”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 28 April 2016
I really enjoyed staying at Mabul Backpacker. The staff are kind and helpful, the service is good and the view is stunning. Furthermore, there are some fantastic diving sites close to the hostel. Staying at Mabul Backpacker was well-worth the money. I´ve actually heard it´s the cheapest accomodation on the island. But: The air-co is not the best of the world.

Stayed April 2016, travelled with friends


“Never want to leave”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 April 2016 via mobile
Planned on staying here for 3 night, ended up staying for 6. For backpackers wanting to dive on a budget this place is perfection. The dive sites around the area are incredible and the accommodation/living area is great!
The staff are really friendly and will not hesitate to give you any advice you need.
The dive master Chris put a lot of effort into making the dives very enjoyable as well as pointing out all the special marine life.
Highly recommend staying here!

Stayed April 2016, travelled solo


“Dive Adventure”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 April 2016 via mobile
I stayed at Mabul Backpackers on Mabul Island for 5 nights. What a great experience! The staff was awesome, the food was great, and the diving was excellent! I got a permit for Sipadan and what an incredible dive experience! The dive sites on Mabul are excellent as well with great macro. On my last night the owners son brought in some local musicians for a jam session and a great time was had by all... I'd definitely go back!

Stayed April 2016, travelled solo


“Nice, friendly Backpacker Guesthouse”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 6 April 2016
Nice staff, good food. Price for the accomondation ist good value, compared to the rest of mabul. shared bathroom was veeeery simple and poor. its time to renovate this area!

the staff of the divecenter is mostly friendly, all divemaster/instructor are foreigners, so they know this area only for some month. would be nice to have an experienced local divemaster who knows the dive sites for years.
you cant decide where you want to go, dive table is non-negotiable for the next days. if you are experienced diver, you should ask if its possible to split in small groups, as we were mixed with beginner and had mostly very short bottom time dives.
if you are going for a dive course, i think its a good address! if you are a experienced diver, looking for a good diving, you might look for an other dive center with smaller groups...

Room Tip: Private Room with bathroom much better, than private with shared bathroom
See more room tips
Stayed April 2016, travelled as a couple

INDEX - Islands of Sabah  November 13, 2016 09:14:03 PM

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