|“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
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
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.
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
The equipment is not the newest and a bit worn but it's all working
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
Stayed August 2016, travelled solo
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
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
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. Wi.fi 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
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
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
See more room tips
Stayed April 2016, travelled as a couple