The resort has a large diving crew with very
experienced guides that knows the dive sites well.
dive boats ready.
Recent years seen the steady increase of resort guests in Chinese.
They cam from all part of the vast China and hence they quality may
Some friendly and sociable. Some do stupid
things with corals and marine life.
The house reef is probably the best dive site in Mabul area. Lots of
fish life and variety.. turtles, lion fish, nudibranch, pretty much
everything in a very accessible spot and at 10m max-depth means you
don't have to worry about deco. There can be current at times and
the visibility is generally somewhat worse than other Mabul dive
sites. They have unlimited dives at the house reef which is just
brilliant.. just find a buddy, pickup a new tank and dive. That
simple. I was doing 4 or 5 dives every day.
DIVE TRIP TO SIPIDAN
The same as all other resorts, dive trip to Sipidan is bases on
The quota allocation situation is unpredictable. Some people are
lucky to get more then the other.
Boat schedule to Sipidan from the resort is 5:30am boat and 8:30am boat.
Most divers go on the first 5:30am boats for a better chance to see
Airport pickup and drop-off service between Tawau and Semporna is
The resort has their private jetty at Semporna Town.
The quality and variety of food is
standard foods as you get in all other resorts. Fresh and no repeat menu.
But sometimes a change of chief cook may produce a change in quality
Sometimes the food is made to suit the
majority Chinese guests tastes. And Chinese is well know for
hogging all the foods.
But they learn fast and they are improving since their government
official travel guideline reminding them of their behaviour in the
The BBQ nights is a bonus .
This is a 10 years old
resort. Though a bit worn but acceptable. Clean and all your basic need.
Divers come here for the seas not the rooms.
Mabul Island is a diving destinations not a
travelling destination. The resorts are diving resorts not
Divers pay a lot of money to the government
just for permits to Sipidan Island.
The resorts here are pretty expensive.
If it wasn't coming here for one of the
world best dive site, your
holiday in this Mabul Island would be overpriced
for a basic stay.
And many well travelled divers
have returned over and over.
The whole Mabul Island is in shortage of fresh water. So do
not expect the water in the bathroom is really fresh water..
There were lots of books on marine life to browse through.
All the staff at Borneo Divers were very friendly.
The Dive Masters
really made an effort to point out special marine life e.g. nudibranch, sharks, crocodile fish, etc.
Unfortunately the wifi did not work most days but this wasn't a huge
problem. The showers are all saltwater.
Stayed August 2016, travelled with friends
“A budget hotel in great location”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 27 August 2016
I chose this hotel only because they were the only ones that could
provide permits to Sipadan one week in advance in high season and
with only 2 nights stay. The staff was nice and friendly, the food
was decent, the rooms and bathroom ware mediocre, more like a hostel
room on the beach. Though you are not going to spend time much time
in the room, we tried to avoid it as it was a bit depressing, so was
the little pool in front of our cabin. Most of the guests at this
hotel were chinese, some showed up at dinner table in speedos and
nothing else, loud, obnoxious but well, whats to do, just different
table etiquette amongst cultures....
Stayed July 2016, travelled as a couple
“A very good choice in Mabul”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
We booked the 4N-5 days diving package and we weren't disappointed.
The dives in Sipadan were memorable. Such a fantastic experience. We
could have dived there twine during our stay. However, the dives in
Mabul are crap. The hotel itself is very good. The room was clean
and comfortable, the garden was beautiful and the common area very
nice. Food was not great but ok, the swimming pool wasn't that great
but at least it was good to have it. The only main negative comment
we would have is regarding the staff. Most of the divemasters aren't
so friendly and are quite arrogant. But generally speaking, we had a
very good experience there and would recommend to book here.
Stayed August 2016, travelled as a couple
“Great Staff and a great timr”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
We stayed next door at Scuba Junkie but spent a lot of time at the
beach bar of Borneo Divers and had a great time! They were always
very friendly and had great western comfort food.
We ended up getting Sipadan passes and had an unforgettable day
diving with the dive master Scott. He was very professional and took
us on really amazing dive sites. He seemed to really know the areas!
Would highly recommend!
Stayed October 2016, travelled with friends
I am a snorkeler and I decided to make a present to my husband.
Sipadan should be one of the world’s best diving destinations.
I decided to book a package of 5 days/4 nights with Borneo Divers on
Mabul island because I was sure that he will have at least one-day
dive (with 4 dives) on Sipadan. When I booked from 6th – 10th
October, they asked me to pay a deposit of 30 % and the balance 30
days before my arrival.
They organized our transfer from Tawau airport to their resort. At
the exit of the airport, someone was waiting for us. We went to
their minivan where 5 other guests were already inside. We rode
during 20 minutes on a road under construction before riding on 2
lanes road until Semporna. The journey took 1 h 20 (94 km). They
have their own boat at their private jetty at Semporna and we left
the jetty ten minutes later. We arrived at the hotel at 1:10 pm (50
minutes travel with the boat). During my stay, they always took care
of my luggage. Willy was waiting for our group and we went to the
hotel. Our names were already mentioned on the white board for the
following day for diving (3 divers) or snorkeling (5 snorkelers) on
Sipadan. After that, we had our lunch. At 1:45 pm we went to a sort
of classroom and he gave us some paperwork to fill out and some
explanation about the hotel and other general information. At 2:20
pm we were in our bedroom. At 3:15 pm, my husband had a check dive
of 45 minutes.
During the night, it rained a lot and we got up with the rain. At
8:00 am we had our appointment to go to Sipadan. The boat left at
8:20 am under the rain and a very choppy sea with many big waves.
This kind of weather can occur one or two times a week in October
but when we came back to the hotel 4:30 pm, the sea was flat (25
minutes instead of 40 minutes for a distance of 15 km). We arrived
on Sipadan island at 9:00 am and we have to register your name.
After that, you have your first dive or snorkeling (without a
After each dive, we came back to the island for 50 minutes and you
dive/snorkel in front of the military station for security reason
and not on the other side of the island (we snorkeled twice on
Barracuda point, once on the drop off (the most beautiful spot with
turtles) once on Coral Gardens. As a snorkeler, it was my favorite
place in the world. I swam with 5 turtles, among a school of jack
fishes, bat fishes, bumphead parrotfish and other huge fishes. If
you are a keen snorkeler, Sipadan is heaven! After that, I was a bit
disappointed when I snorkeled on Mabul or Kapalai (5 – 10 minutes
speedboat ride from Mabul). It was not possible to get a second
permit (you have to pay 146 MYR/pax – the first permit was 40 RM/pax
for snorkeler and diver) because the resort was fully booked due to
the holidays in China. 90 % was Chinese people but I met very
friendly and well educated people.
The only issue was the bedroom but I recognize that I had essential
things such a hot shower with a soap/shampoo in a dispenser, a good
air-conditioning, a fan, a safe and a good mattress with clean
sheet. The bathroom was very old and the furniture was not modern.
It can be a bit depressing. They maintain their wood and their
garden very well, so you are impressed upon arrival. The showers are
all saltwater but you have some fresh water in the bedroom in a
dispenser to wash your face and your teeth. The towels are a bit
worn and you normally receive a “beach” towel on the boat (and not
at the swimming pool). The first night, we broke our key of our room
in the cylinder but ten minutes later, their team was there to
The food of the buffet was very good and varied. Breakfast is from 7
am to 8:30 am. The breakfast buffet is consisting of white bread,
soup, ham, sausage, beans, noodle, pancake and an egg station. The
last day, we took the boat of 6:00 am and we could have a package
for our breakfast or a hot breakfast at 5:30 am with noodle,
scrambled eggs, toast, watermelon, tea or coffee. Dinner is from
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm but most the time they closed earlier (one day at
8:15 pm). Most of the guests arrived at the dinner before 7:00 pm
and the BBQ night is on Sundays. They offer you as fruit:
watermelon, melon, litchis, pineapple, papaya and bananas. This was
the menu of the BBQ night: fried rice, fried noodles, mush potato,
mix vegetables, BBQ lamb/fish/beef/squid/chicken/prawn, banana
spring roll, slice butter cake. Another dinner was: turmeric rice,
curry chicken, crab black beans, roasted beef, cabbage with
mushroom, rosemary potato, pak choi with beancurd, meat soup,
custard pudding, jam tart, sweet potato wedges. They offer you pasta
with a different sauce at each lunch, fish at each dinner but we
should arrive very early otherwise they refill it only once (other
items can be refilled two or three times). You have water and a
juice (powder with water) in a dispenser included in your package
during the whole day at your disposal at the dining room or at the
jetty. When you come back at the jetty between two dives, you can
eat snack like cake with a cup of coffee/tea or water/juice.
Their organization was very good for the transfer, the timetable of
the dives/snorkeling’s. They tried to put Asian or western people
together. Don't look at the activities at the reception they don't
They don't have a precise number of dives in their package. It is
depending when you arrive/leave in the morning of in the afternoon.
For my husband, it was one check dive of 45 minutes on the house
reef the first day, 4 dives on Sipadan, 3 dives on the third day and
finally two dives on the fourth because our plane took off the next
day at 2 pm. He has an unlimited dives on the house reef. Don’t
forget to take your certifications to show them. Before each dive,
there is a short briefing.
The house reef is good but very small because you have boats
arriving at the right and left side of the jetty. Borneo Divers has
6 boats. The first meter of the seaside is full of rubbish but there
is no trash in the sea at the jetty.
They have a bar near the entrance of the jetty with a convenient
store and the room for the massage.
The resort is located between the police and the military stations
and I never felt unsafe.
The Wi-Fi was only available in the main lobby/dining room of the
If you want, you can walk around the island: it will take about 45 –
60 minutes and you will be in the village which is very poor and
full of small children.
We took the boat of 6:10 am and we arrived at 6:50 am at the jetty
of Semporna. The minivan left at 7:00 am and we arrived at 8:20 am
at the airport.
The sunset is at about 5:15 pm (but 7:00 pm on Perhentians Islands).
I will return to this resort with its 30 bedrooms for my fantastic
snorkeling in Sipadan (the best place to be on my 8-year snorkeling