Last Updated on : Sunday, 13 November, 2016 08:57:59 PM

There are three Homestay on Mabul Island, Sabah

Arung Hayat Homestay


Summer Friends Homestay

ScubaJeff Homestay, Arung Hayat Homestay, Billabong ScubaScubaJeff Homestay

ScubaJeff Homestay


ScubaJeff Homestay


All the homestay and Lodges are established on the Eastern side of Mabul Island; the direction where the sun set. This means you can watch beautiful sun setting from the homestay it self.  During a good weather, you can get magnificent view of the setting sun.

This homestay has an open deck area facing the west from which you can, sometimes,  watch beautiful sunsets.

However, we were unable to enjoy this feature whatsoever, as the staff (and all their friends) would take up all of the

In the open deck are some hammocks, cushions and seating areas

SMOKING AREA - the open deck is also the public smoking area. The staff in this homestay are good chain-smokers.







ScubaJeff do not specialise in packages for Sipadan Island. But they do offer diving else where like Mabul near by.



Standard local foods. How delicious the food depend on who is the chef on that day.

24 hours of drinking water and tea & coffee. But hot water gradually lost temperature  in the fresh, you may ask for a fresh re-boil.




In a small island, it is always shortage of fresh water, power supply and household fitting. Every single screw and nail has to be brought in from the mainland using boat across the sea.

Do prepare to expect a broken toilet, flooded bathroom and the 'shower' is a bucket of water.

Do expect the bed you sleep on has broken frames and worn out mattress.

This is a Homestay of island style, not a 5 star luxury resort style. And never let a local room ruined your holidays in Mabul.



South-East Asian are fun loving people. Serious visitors, such as German, may puzzle of what is so funny about. But local Malaysian are fun loving people good in creating fun atmosphere.  Guests to homestay in Mabul Island can easily experience such fun atmospheres of the South East Asian.

Loud music and singing and chattering the whole night through may make an enjoyable evening for many; but those who prefer a peaceful sleep under gentle whisper of the ocean breeze is a horrible night ever experienced.

But our fun loving people attracted constant increase of International tourists and help Malaysian Government a handsome revenue income from tour industries.



Dive Master is Tahir.

The dive center may become entertainment center at night.  The diving crew during the day became you entertainment team with guitar and songs the whole night through.

Scuba Jeff does not have any passes/access to Sipidan. This was incredibly frustrating as we were under the impression we had booked for a dive trip there, and if we had known in advance would have booked to go to Sipidan with another company, but once we got there it was too late and all passes were fully booked.





Just decade earlier, Mabul Island used to be frequented only by divers from different part of the world. Divers are seasoned travellers. They are the first wave. Then follow by a second wave of huge number of Chinese Divers/Tourists. Now Mabul is experiencing another third wave; the young Malaysian visitors.

Thank to the government policy of encouraging the public to travel, such as reducing of 6 working days to 5 days per week.

Also thank to Tony's "NOW EVERY ONE CAN FLY", AirAsia brought in a stable increase of young visitors from Sarawak and West Malaysia. Most of them destined to Western part of Sabah, but many found their way to the remote part of Eastern Sabah such as Mabul Island.

Traditionally, the local Malaysian do not travel much and far especially with those living in the outskirt. If they do leave home, it is usually for visiting relatives and friends. For generations many never experienced been outside of their towns.  Now with the fast progress and development in this part of the region, a new young Malaysian generation begun to explore their own country and overseas in pursuit of a "NEW LIFE STYLE".

Unlike the adventurous young travellers from the West, or from Japan and Korea, these young Malaysian visitors to Mabul are not divers, less like a traveller, less like a tourist. They are more of the happy childish fun seekers with very little adventurous or explorative spirit. The are dream seekers coming to see-look, see-look and a selfi session for FACEBOOK



“Great Location and Welcoming Staff!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW
A couple friends and I stayed with Jeff/his crew for 4 days last month, and it was easily one of the best parts of our travels. The staff is all very welcoming and helpful, the views are amazing, the food was great, and the diving/snorkelling is world class.

If you're high maintenance and need fancy accommodation, maybe look elsewhere.. But we found all the facilities to be basic and clean. Would highly recommend it to anyone!

Room Tip: Ask for the room with the balcony!


“A home far away from home”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 6 September 2016
If you are looking for a typical fancy hotel with very unpersonalized and measured attention this is not the place for you. This place is much more. You arrived late for breakfast, no problem, they have food for you. You feel like going diving now, yeah let's do it! All in a very friendly and loving atmosphere. The staff were AMAZING with us!!! THANK YOU Jeff, Ric, Patricia, Nurul, Yasir and all of you. You made our days in Mabul fantastic!
In scuba Jeff you will find an incredible view, nice simple local food and the feeling of being at home far away from home.

Stayed August 2016, travelled as a couple


“Friendly environment ”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 September 2016 via mobile
This place is amazingly heaven. The moment i arrived, i totally fall in love with the calm & beautiful scenery, the smell of the ocean and the clarity of the water.

Would like to thank you Abg Jeff for the great & kind hospitality given to our group (15 paxs - believe me, its not easy to entertain us.. lol). And to Abg 'Sun deck', TQ so much for being patient with me, guiding me slowly & finally ensure that I successfully dive on my 1st attempt (ok.. I'm totally freak out).

Definitely will repeat this trip soon once i have my diving license.

Stayed August 2016, travelled with friends


“Living among water villages”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 10 August 2016 via mobile
A budget homestay. Be totally prepared to live as locals. The plus point is that the locals & hosts are friendly and treated us as family. We had no expectations but we still winced on some practices like no electricity from 6/7 am to 6/7pm, tap water=saltish water.
This place is really great for budget travellers. We ignored all the shortcomings just because Pulau Mabul is a great place for diving and there we saw turtles almost everyday. Our dive instruct were highly recommended! As we were all new divers, he was really patient and even encourage us to allay our fears. I would definitely visit Pulau Mabul again but would think twice on staying at the same place.

Stayed July 2016, travelled with family


“Backpacking Diving Trip to Mabul”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 19 May 2016
The amenities are basic, everything is there, but nothing fancy. Food is good (although the menu is almost the same everyday - Tuna, chicken, vegetables, rice), bed is okay, the room is made of wood hence it's not really soundproof. Bathroom is shared, it's mediocre but not that shabby. Everything is good if you're not fussy or picky. Definitely a great choice for backpackers and budget travellers. Location is super great, you can have breakfast in front of the ocean, and while I was there, I get to see turtles every single morning without fail. The host are all friendly, and in the evening you can see the young sea-gypsies having fun swimming. Sometimes you can buy fresh sea-food from them.

I would recommend this place, and definitely would go again.

Room Tip: It can get cold at night, so don't forget your sleeping bags.
See more room tips
Stayed October 2015, travelled with family


“Stay at Scuba Jeff's for an unforgettable experience, we can't wait to return :)”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 19 April 2016
As promised, Scuba Jeff's is truly a home far from home. We arrived, intending to stay 2 or 3 nights and ended up staying 7 days, until the end of our trip! Neither of us were certain we wanted to dive more than a day, but the diving instructors were so kind, experienced, and enthusiastic that we quickly caught the diving bug. From our first night, Jeff and his staff were incredibly welcoming, ensuring that we felt comfortable with guitar sing alongs with the locals and a delicious communal dinner. We went for the room and three meals inclusive package and were so pleased that we did so. Each day, locals paddle to the deck with fresh fish which is bought by Jeff and cooked for lunch and dinner. In our week stay we enjoyed crab, sting ray, and many other types of fish – it was a feast each night.

Needless to say, the diving was incredible, the instructors always took care to match the sites with what we wanted to see, which was everything. On our first day we sat next to a giant sleeping turtle. More turtles can be found in the morning and evening around the deck and so you can find yourself turtle watching during breakfast and dinner. The view of the sunset is incredible and snorkelling amidst the colours and giant turtles on your own doorstep is an unforgettable experience. In the evening, rum in hand, we observed manta rays swimming under our hanging feet and a school of jumping fish performed just for us.

We intend to return, there is no way this experience can be just a one off. We really want to thank Jeff, Kayroll, Tawhin, and Patricia for helping us make such wonderful memories.

Stayed March 2016, travelled with friends


“Putrajaya MOF Scuba Diving”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 11 April 2016 via mobile
Very interesting place for water activities.. especially for diving and snorkelling. Lots of dive spots with lots of faunas. And their dive master, brader jeff and tahir.. are best in the world.
Good accomodation and the way they treat us is superb.
Breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea break, diner.. they serve delicacies.. special made only in Mabul.

Stayed April 2016, travelled with friends


“Wonderful 4D3N @ Scuba Jeff”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 22 March 2016
The room was no 5-star, but the experience was really really valuable. The trip was the 1st time for us, so we didn't have any high expectation. Boat transfer from the jetty was quick. The room as very basic, no tv, sharing bathroom, with 1 fan, 2 double decker beds or single queen bed and towels. My stay was fun, the activities their offer was fantastic, friendly staff, snorkeling was superb and awesome, breakfast, lunch, dinner & BBQ provided with the package but somehow need to improve on food. Please change your daily menu and please improve your bathroom (cleaner and must be washed daily).

Room Tip: Room No.4, with balcony.
See more room tips
Stayed March 2016, travelled with friends


“Worst plc ever. Stay from 12.3.2016 to 14.3.2016”
1 of 5 bubblesReviewed 15 March 2016 via mobile
OMG how do i start. We comes as group of 15 n have to share 2 toilet. First day there is a satitation pad sticker n a wet towel in one of the toilet n it stays there till 2nd day. I doubt thet ever wash their toilet ever as its molded n slimy. The food same repetive small cut fish which suspected leftover from previuos day but just add different sauce to it. Thankful to be out alive after 3 days ordeal. If we had a lot of fund to spent we would have go somewhere else. Seriously go somewhere else. Somebody asked why we didnt take pic but how do u take such pic? It just horrandeus. For someobe who claim enviroment lover.... They pile old rusty bedframe in front of their lawn claim as part of conservation plan.

Stayed March 2016, travelled with friends


“It was okay for basic necessities ”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 17 February 2016 via mobile
My stay here was fun because of the activities, the chill in the morning at the verandah while waiting for the sea gypsies to pass and you can buy their catch of that morning, the walk around the island, you can just jump into the water when ever you want although the water is a bit trashy nevertheless you can still see the fish, the views were pretty and etc but bear in mind you'll face skimpy bed, boat delay, it's noisy at night time as they sometime will sing songs at the corridor, and the toilet is not in very clean condition. Thus, if you are looking for a cheap, don't care bit about quality of a place you're staying, you can stay here.

See all photos
Stayed March 2015, travelled with friends


“Filthy and Terrible Management”
1 of 5 bubblesReviewed 19 January 2016
I've been to Mabul 3 times. And I stayed at Scuba Jeff during my three visits. My last visit was on December 2015. I am so disappointed with the management. I wanted to highlight that living at Scuba Jeff was very pleasant because of the STAFF. The staff were super amazing and very helpful, friendly & welcoming. The only bad about Scuba Jeff is the accommodation & the food.

I was informed by the staff that their boss doesn't prepare enough money to sustain the home stay. I pay RM20K for the whole trip, but he only gave RM700 to them (to buy food for us for 4D3N, pay the petrol for boat transfer and accommodation).

He (the owner aka the boss) even didn't pay his staffs' salary for about a few months. And didn't even repair the compressor. So we divers have to rent tanks from other dive center. The toilet were super filthy as we ourselves bought Clorox & clean the toilet ourselves. The bed were very bad. The pillow, the mattress were so awful!

Even the boat only use 1 engine 40HP. You just imagine a small boat with that kind of HP carrying almost 15pax in it.

I will not come back to Scuba Jeff unless, they upgrade their management & all the facilities. I don't mind to pay some extra money for a comfortable place. This is so unreasonable.

Stayed December 2015, travelled with friends


Horrible ,Stinky, Dirty, Filthy, Disgusting Avoid at all cost”
1 of 5 bubblesReviewed 29 September 2015
I remember i wrote a complete review thru tripadvisor but it seems not showing up. Travelling and staying here is a big mistake as the place is completely disgusting. The package offer looks really cheap and attractive but when you reach here.. you will immediately regret,

The rooms for us 11ppl , was completely run down, they seems doesnt change the bedsheet at all as its stinky and looks horrible with stain. The worst was, there is electricity problem for the first night where the staff did temporary fix but, the fix was to get the light on and the only 1 wall plug in the room wasnt work at all.

The toilet, was filthy disgusting ever. Smelly and dark. They never seem to care anything to improve their service. There is no hot water, and the big joke is, the low water volume at shower.. imagine if the water is saltwater and the volume is just as how much as you pee... Its ridiculous no light in the toilet.

Food is repetitive and is common. I couldnt find anything good here except 2 friendly diver staffs. Totally not worth at all.

Stayed September 2015


“Cheap and very basic”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 29 September 2015 via mobile
+Very cheap
+Nice place
+Friendly staff
+Drinks available all the time

-Same food everyday and taste dull
-Some staff kinda lazy, they don't really clean up the place

1. Bring your own towel
2. Buy mineral water at Sempoerna jetty
3. Have a generous amount of backup batteries or powerbanks since there's no electricity from 6 am to 6 pm
4. Do the shopping for souvenir in Tawau. You can ask the staff to help you get a van with driver to drive you around town
5. Expected the salty water for normal bath . Not sea water, they just has salty taste to it
6. The staffs really love to play guitar all night long. Just join along the free live karaoke session
7. Be generous to share your food/snacks/drinks with the kids that comes up to the hotel
8. You can find the shop in the village anyway.

Overall, Mabul is indeed a mesmerizing place for you to even notice all the cons they have. The hammock in front of the place, just above the water is surely my favorite place to hang out all the time.

Stayed September 2015, travelled with friends


1 of 5 bubblesReviewed 14 September 2015
Me and my friend booked 2 months in advance a stay at the end of august (HIGH SEASON), with an open water course, and two passes to Sipadan. We planned to go to Sipadan from Europe, this being the reason of the whole trip.
We've been keeping in touch with SCUBA JEFF's staff by mail and, once in Sabah, by phone, calling them 5 days, three days and few hours before getting to Semporna.
They said it was "All ok!".
Once we arrived to Semporna we discovered that:
- NO DIVE MASTER AVAILABLE. We've been said that they were ALL on holiday (in high season??? are you seroius???)
- no chance to do an Open Water Course
- no passes to Sipadan
- they charged us 200 RM for the pass from Semporna do Mabul (a HUGE amount of money)
- once in Mabul at their lodge, we discovered the guys at the lodge were NOT waiting for us, that meaning: NO ROOM READY, NO FOOD, NOTHING of NOTHING!
I have no idea how this guy can still have permission to host tourists, but we complained to malaysian minister of tourism and the italian embassy.

Room Tip: must avoid as kolera
See more room tips
Stayed August 2015, travelled with friends


“Need to improve”
2 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 September 2015
There are many wrong things with Scuba Jeff, from the place itself to staff and food. But there are also some positive things.

The sunset platform outside are to die for. It has the best sunset spot, with unique hammock. But it is so small that it is always crowded at that time.

We took a package, went there 9 boys and 2 ladies, they somehow thought it was all boys and messed up the rooms, so the girls had to wait a while before getting their room which is already limited, while the boys stayed in dorm. Our room at night do not have electricity, so they have to do a new wiring, and finally when we have electricity, we can't turn the light off anymore as it was connected straight to the main electricity source without any switch.

The toilet is just filthy. but it is still bearable as I've seen worse. But the toilet need some major improvement. I get disgusted just by writing about it.

The staff are not helpful at all. They just ignored us. But after you get to know them, they are really nice people, Just that they do not have any training on hotel hospitality that they think it is a norm to behave like that. So I blame the management for that, so Jeff please provide them some training.

The food is okay, but the menu is repetitive, so if you are staying more than 2 days, you will get bored.

SO Overall, better stay at other place, either Arung Hayat or Uncle Chang's. it is slightly more expensive but so much better in value.

Stayed August 2015, travelled with friends


“2d1n package stay”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 11 August 2015 via mobile
Booked for 2d1n package at scuba jeff that include accomodation, return boat transfer, meals and 2x snorkeling. Trully speaking the accomodation and meals were very basic and does not recommended for family with kids. But the snokerling was the one that will stick in memory forever. Have chances to see turtles and fishes while doing snorkeling. The view at scuba jeff was superb with cristal clear water.

Stayed August 2015, travelled solo





The walls were bare wooden plywood, the 'ensuite bathroom' was disgusting; a concrete floor,

The staff allowed stray cats to roam around the lodge and fed them, which we found very unprofessional.







INDEX - Islands of Sabah  November 13, 2016 08:57:59 PM

hit counter