Last Updated on Sunday, 27 January, 2019 07:47:26 PM

SABAH ISLANDS > MABUL ISLAND > Mabul Water Bungalow Resort

Mabul Water Bungalow Resort

Mabul Water Bungalow Resort


There are seven resorts on Mabul Island

Sipadan Water


Mabul Water


Seaventures Dive


Scuba Junkie Mabul Resort

Sipadan Mabul Resort SMART

Borneo Divers Mabul Resort

Sipadan Dive Centre

on Mabul Island

There are also :
6 divers' lodges and
3 homestays
on Mabul Island

Mabul Water Bungalow Resort

3 - Mabul Water Bungalow Resort (on water)
Managed by Explore Asia Tours Sdn Bhd. Sister Company of Sipadan-Mabul Resort (Sabah) Sdn Bhd
Please be informed that we are not in anyway related or linked to and, nor did we authorized the site to publish our information.
The official website for Mabul Water Bungalow is


“Nice short stay but not worth the cost”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 20 April 2016
I have just returned from a 5D/4N stay here as was aware that this is a world class dive location (Sipadan) and overall had a nice stay. Each stay you do 3 dives per day either to Mabul/Kapalai or Sipadan if you get permit (which I did and easily available at cost). I stayed in the land bungalows due to cost and they allowed me to waive the single supplement as I was happy to share a room. The rooms are clean but basic and noisy AC. You get 3 buffet meals per day and the food is similar but I found it ok. The diving team (Rahman, Sam etc) were all very professional and friendly and well organised and great for all levels. The resort itself has a spa, nice quiet beach at the front to relax on and a bar, but bring your own entertainment as there is not much to do apart from diving and land bungalows do not have a TV.

However, given the high cost of staying here and the high price of extra food and drinks (£12 for a shot of whiskey!), I really don’t think it is worth it for what you get, given you can stay in Semporna and do day dives which imo is much better value. I got a Sipadan permit as the resort was quiet, but you do pay an extra 390RM, we saw lots of turtles, baby sharks, manta rays etc, but i was not blown away having dived in Thailand/Philippines this is not much better. WIFI was good in the dining area, but not the rooms.

While I had a good time due to the costs and value for money I would not return or recommend, you can get your beach time in Sabah/Langkawi then dive near staying in Semporna. However the organisation of SMART was excellent prior and I found Zamnah very good and making arrangements.

Stayed March 2016, travelled solo

“Not worth the money”
2 of 5 bubblesReviewed 25 April 2016
We had a 7D/6N stay for diving and snorkeling. There is nothing else to say about the diving than it´s among the best in Malaysia. Everybody in the Dive-team are great and they work really hard to try make your stay great and make you see and experience the greatness of Sipadan and the other dive sights. If you stay more than 5 nights you are almost guarantied a diving permit at Sipadan but if you stay shorter you must sign up and pay for a one day permit.
The rooms are basic and clean, we had our share of the mandatory cockroaches in the bathroom. Staying here you get 3 buffet meal a day and the food was really boring and did not taste much. I would have preferred real Malaysian food. The staff in the restaurant are not the most service minded and they looked like they wanted all the guests to disappear. The cost for drinks and snacks are ridiculously high. One beer is over 35 RM (almost 9 US$)
The arrangements on the island are OK, but not more.
The House reef is located on the other side of the island, at the Water Bungalows, and it´s a teen minutes walk from the resort.
Be aware that there is a lot of kids staying on the island. They are kids of the staff working at the resorts. Everyday we were harassed by the kids begging for money and that we should give them our smart phones and other stuff. Annoying!!!
If you are looking for a great beach to relax at, this is not the place. The management of the resort have placed big boards that say Don´t swim in the water due to the risk of getting bitten by different fish and the beach was really badly littered with plastic and other garbage washed ashore.

It´s good to know that this place is also becoming more and more popular among Chines travelers and they have a tendency to not follow the basic rules when it comes to diving and snorkeling. Not once, not twice but 6 times we saw how Chines "divers" picked and brought up sea-stars, coral, sea shells on land to bring home.
So in short: Great diving and diving team. The resort is far from value for the money with tasteless food and expensive drinks. . The "land based" staff are tired. Look out for the kids and if you don´t like hanging out with Chinese this is not the best place to go to.

Room Tip: The free standing bungalows are the best to stay in. If you have money, stay at the Water bungalows
See more room tips

“Mixed feelings - note this is the land based resort not the water bungalows”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 June 2016
First the pluses -
Good diving, especially at Sipidan which was excellent but Mabul and Kapalai were not bad either. Great dive master called Yusir who was friendly and informed and the dive operation generally went very well and was extremely organised. Nice rooms with a relaxing balcony and lots of space. Bathrooms a bit dated but good freshwater shower and very clean which is the most important thing. Super cute cats who are v friendly, especially in return for a bit of chicken!

Not so good -
The clientele was 99% mainland Chinese so if you are an English speaker don't expect to be able to come and have conversations with others. Luckily there were a couple of English speakers there when I was there so I had some friends to chat to! Due to the clientele the food was also very Chinese which was extremely dull and tasteless day after day. Unfortunately also Chinese have very little respect for the environment and there where numerous occasions where I witnessed people picking things up, touching coral, stepping on coral and generally not giving a hoot about ruining the very environment that they were here to see - e.g. using a selfie stick as a walking stick on the coral. Dive centre should absolutely talk about not touching anything as part of the dive briefing (as they do in most dive locations now, national park or not) and enforce a rule whereby anyone seen touching misses a dive (unless its obviously accidental). There will be nothing to see here in 10 years if the volume of Chinese continues unchecked with no guidance on this.

However, the above will not happen because there is a feeling that this is all about making money irrelevant of everything else.....The biggest problem for me was the system for Sipidan permits. I had to stay for 4 nights only due to work commitments so I filled in the form before going as I wanted to make sure that I got 2 days diving Sipidan. This was very expensive for me at 390 ringgits a day. However, other people who stayed 5 days or more paid 390 once and then got to dive Sipidan every day only paying 40 ringgits (national park fee). I had no problem with paying once as I was on the non-Sipidan package because of less than 5 nights, but I think I should have only paid 40 the second time as they said they had lots of extra permits because the resort was quiet. I don't think it is fair to make me pay both times when other people went 4 days in a row and only paid once. I spoke to the manager about this and he had no interest and just kept saying "sorry, you have to pay." For me it felt like it was all about just making as much money as possible. Hence why they will never upset the Chinese by telling them not to walk on the coral.

I generally found the staff to be quite unfriendly too. Other than the smiley ladies cleaning the room and Yusir and the lady dive guide (can't remember name) the rest of the instructors/staff in the restaurant did not speak to you once unless they had to. One of our instructors on a day in Sipidan literally only spoke to say "get ready" and ignored the clients the rest of the time. There was also not much interest in pointing things out under water so it was more like just having someone there to tell you which direction to go in, make sure you were safe. The restaurant staff were the same, with lots of them not speaking English and just moving around you without a single smile.

House reef is on the other side of the island at the Mabul Water bungalows which generally looks much better than SMART although again apparently its all Chinese. However it has a nicer bar and restaurant including an outside area and you can actually swim as the water is deep enough (on the SMART side its too shallow and there are signs telling you not to go in due to stingray etc).

Personally if I go again I will stay at Kapalai (where I stayed before) just because of the managements attitude towards the clients.

Surreal surroundings...less than surreal hotel”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 June 2016
Make no mistake - the outlook from this hotel is STUNNING! The location is remote, beautiful and the stuff dreams are made o.f. Unfortunately, the resort itself doesn't quite match.

Certianly the staff are friendly and helpful staff and can't do enough for you - in my book this redeems most things

There are a lot of ittle things help you enjoy this hotel - water is available everywhere and is safe to drink (take care, though you will be charged for water in your room), fresh towels at night while you are at dinner, bicyles to ride along the planks, beautiful plantings to green up the timber.

The rooms, however, are fairly dated and look as if they have been decorated from a second hand stall - nothing matches or complements the surroundings. All the rooms we saw could do with a major refurbishment

There is fish life at the door - large eagle rays, flute fish, lion fish, blue spotted rays and turtles are part of the daily parade

There is a spectacular house reef for muck diving. Diving at dusk brings the big fish out to play.

Pick your room carefully - some have gorgeous water views and others look straight into another resort and at the ugly 'oil rig'. The rooms on the jetty shake and rubble every time a golf cart or bicycle goes by

Our group of 19 guests suffered from a range of maintenance issues - no hot water, no electricity, extremely noisy air conditioning, broken taps, mice and rats in the rooms, no internet connection. Issues were attended to but for some guests a range of issues just went on all week.

The check out system is ridiculous - make sure you leave plenty of time for the one book keeper to do everything in triplicate with a small calculator and then triple check it. There is no point of sale system or running tally kept during your stay.

The food is terrific - it was different every night with a whole range to choose from and always fresh salad and fruit. The Asian desserts were yummy.

By the hotel's own admission the wifi is woeful so buy Maxis SIM Cards in Tawau Airport before coming.

In all just be aware of what you are getting into it. This is an amazinh place to go but it's not as five star as the price tag might have you believe!

Room Tip: Avoid rooms on the jetty to Mabul Island
See more room tips

Beautiful water bungalows”
5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 20 June 2016
Great base for Sipadan diving. True about the high prices and minor hiccups here and there; if you're looking for a luxurious beach holiday, don't come here. You can have the luxury to have your vacation elsewhere at this price. Don't come and compare this to any other top-notch resorts you've been, because it's different. This is an isolated island and every single thing has to be shipped here.

But, if you're here for the underwater world, as a port of entry for Sipadan, then you've come to the perfect place. Views from the water bungalows are perfect picture-like. Abundant sea life right in front of your terrace. Sea turtles come ashore in the shallow waters to rest through the night, so try to be as quiet as possible. Room-keeping may not be up to standards if you're used to large, decent hotel brands, but it's good enough. Just keep in mind you're here for the diving, not to get pampered.

For the diving, it's been awesome. DMs are friendly and knowledgeable. We got 3 days of Sipadan out of 4 diving days. Photos and videos cannot do justice for this place, you just have to come and experience it yourself. The schools of jackfish are amazing. Nudi is abundant here too if you're into photography. Sea turtles are everywhere.

Night diving at the house reef is also a must-do! So much to see when the nocturnal creatures are awake. We even observed two lionfish attacking a hermit crab, who's trying its best to hide LOL.

No night life, no entertainment, slow wifi and few TV channels will ensure tranquility and more than enough rest for your diving vacation. We'll be back for sure for Sipadan!

Room Tip: go for water bungalows for sure
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Stayed June 2016, travelled as a couple

maybe not worth money anymore...”
3 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 July 2016
Summary of our feelings after 9N/10D:

- we loved the accommodation and the location!

- two truly professional and enthusiastic dive guides: Ronny & Jusri. Regret to say that the others have lost they motivation and enthusiasm for diving/nature.

- 95 % of clients were Chinese -> good thing is that most of them are just snorklers but those few who dove during our stay in SMART, did not have the same kind of respect towards the nature and unfortunately were eg kicking the corals while pumping up and down 10-15 meters. Most probably due to the lack of experience but considering that Mabul/Sipadan is ranked as TOP dive destination of the world - the nature will not be the same after destroyed corals.

- most of dive guides did not react at all. Those who did, had a language barrier...

- we were also disappointed to the level of the food. Drinking water during the dives was offered only by request and recommended to take it from the restaurant. The restaurant food (incl breakfast, lunch, dinner) was "too Chinese" to us even tough we love Asian food.

- we are most probably too spoiled with the Asian hospitality and used to the pre-booked dive plans which SMART did not meet = we had everyday a different guide and the same dive sites. Were eg 5 times at Mandarin Valley & Rays Point. Got 3 days in Sipadan (thanks for that!) but also 5x Barracuda Point (there are no more barracudas! - too many divers or climate change?) and 5x Drop Off....

Room Tip: Accommodation overall good but no working wifi in the rooms and even lobby was down often.
See more room tips
Stayed June 2016, travelled as a couple

“Two very happy divers who enjoyed every day at Sipadan-Mabul Resort”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 12 July 2016
Two of us stayed at the standalone SMART bungalow for 8 days, 7 nights in July 2016 under a diver's package and had a really good time throughout our entire trip. Thank you Ben, Efren, Sam and all the staff and boat crew for taking such good care of us the whole time we were there.

For fellow travellers, here are some reviews that might hopefully help you in planning your next trip.

1) WiFi - on the island it's spotty but we figured that would be the case on many islands no matter which part of the world. Our tip: get a local SIM with 1GB data (for 28 ringgit) at the airport and you can rely on that even if the WiFi isn't available. We did that and didn't have any problems.

2) accommodation - there are various types of accommodation at the resort, which is huge. We stayed at the standalone bungalows which secures us at least one pass to Sipadan for a min 4N5D stay (but double check with the resort when you book as conditions may vary by that time). There are also smaller chalets if you're on a budget and - at the other end of the spectrum - water bungalows for those who want to indulge. These sit right by the water's edge, which makes for the perfect island holiday setting. The water bungalows are also located where the spa (see point (7) below) and the resort's house reef is and there you can snorkel or go for unlimited dives if you wish.

Housekeeping is done every day, so the rooms are kept comfortably clean and you have the option of changing your towels daily if you wish. We went for once every three days. They provide toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste, body lotion, soap bars, cotton buds and a dispenser of soap (for bathing) but you might want to bring your own toiletries like shampoo and body wash of you're particular about what you use.

The shower in our bungalow was semi-open air with a net covering so you get a good island vibe in the loo while keeping the mozzies out.

We had no problems with mozzies or cleanliness in the room. Very satisfied.

A slight downside is that the bed is quite hard for those not used to it but a solution to that is to line it with the couch cushions which worked out for me. And the TV has fairly limited channels but we were happy enough with discovery channel, BBC news and Fox Sports which was showing the 2016 Wimbledon matches.

3) service - efficient, organised and very, very well-trained staff from the buggy drivers to the kitchen staff. For a resort this size, to run it like they do is no easy feat but they've got a really good system going. You never have to wait long for a buggy to come pick you up and there's always someone in the office to attend to whatever you need. Meal times are properly scheduled and always on time. The dive/snorkeling schedule is also very well-organised and updated daily on a big board in the dining hall. The water bungalow area has its own board which is updated daily as well. Everyone knows their job and does it well, with a rhythm that makes you think there's a lot of good planning and good training behind it.

4) food - there's a slight slant towards Chinese but that's balanced out with an almost daily serving of curries, grilled meats/seafood and local cakes (or kueh kueh) that we really enjoyed. Breakfast is usually simpler with bread and jams, little buns, fruit, Asian rice porridge and a fried noodle of some sort. There's also an egg station where you can order an omelette or eggs any way you like. Tea time between 3 and 5pm varies every day - some days it's doughnuts, other days buns topped with butter and coconut jam or fried banana fritters. Exactly the kind of comfort food you need on a holiday.

5) diving - The operations for diving are well oiled. You know your dive schedule a day ahead. The dive guides and boat crew are very capable, very attentive and helpful. Every morning, the equipments were brought to the right boat and they have a nice system to store them after diving. The sites are awesome, something for everyone. Lots of turtles, sharks, schools of jacks and barracuda. Plenty of macro critters around the area to keep the photographers happy. Special thanks to Efren and Sam for being such good company, good guides and taking care of us.

Our tip to divers or snorkellers: if you have a special request for sites, or don't want to dive the same site again, you only have to ask and the dive guides are more than happy to accommodate. Ultimately, it's your holiday and you're entitled to enjoy it but you can't expect the operators to read your mind and know what's bothering you if you don't speak up. Take that responsibility instead of expecting others to service you exactly up to your unspoken standards. We've communicated openly with the resort whenever we had a particular request to dive at different sites instead of going back to the same and our experience has always been positive, never disappointed.

6) safety - there are ESSCOM and navy boats stationed in the area, patrolling the seas. On Mabul island itself, there's a Police team stationed permanently at the resort (which is on the southeastern part of the island) with their boat parked there. And going by the information from other dive operations, there's also an ESSCOM centre located on the northern part of the island, just set up. On Sipadan Island itself, there's also a security outpost there on 3-month shifts. All in all, we felt a lot safer than we'd initially imagined prior to our trip when we read about all the kidnapping and killing incidents over the last three years.

7) relaxation - there's a spa at the resort where you can get a variety of different massages starting from 85 ringgit for a 30-minute foot massage. Some of the rooms have an unobstructed view of the ocean which is lovely.

We hope that you'd give these beautiful islands a chance and drop by for a visit too. :)

Room Tip: Go for either the standalone bungalows or water bungalows.
See more room tips

Great trip with family ”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 24 July 2016 via mobile
It's older than Kapalai. The hotel is only ok, but of course clean as well.
The good thing for it is, it has more lisence to Sipadan diving resort , which only allow 100 people to visit. It is top ten diving resort in the world. If you a diving lover maybe mabul would the best choice .
The snorkeling area here has more fish while Kapalai has better turtles ;)
This one is cheaper than Kapalai. I stayed in both, I think if couples Kapalai is better if families mabul is better

Stayed July 2016, travelled with family

“Perfect dive stay”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 July 2016 via mobile
Got certified scuba diver here - amazing place and the best to stay at Mabul Island. Room, service and food was great but nothing compared to the fantastic under water world and the experiences er had here

Stayed August 2015

“Almost in paradise!”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 24 August 2016
We got an 8 days 7 nights package in Mabul Sipadan Resort because we wanted to dive in one of the best dive spots worldwide and we were not disappointed.
Our cottage was the n°129 seafront, and was really perfect: just in front the beach, two steps from the diving center, near enough to the restaurant but far enough to be safe from smell or noise. Perfect!
The cottage was fully equipped and really comfortable (but the bed was terribly hard).
The diving center was somewhat confusing. Normally the diving offers some different locations and you are allowed to choose your preferred spots, dayly.
Here they decide and simply "let you know" where you will be taken.
This wouldn't be a problem if all the spots were likely the same. At opposite, there are some artificial reef spots that were truly boring and too easy for us. We told this to the dive master (Ronny) and he arranged for us some natural reef dives dipending on the tides and current conditions. Ronny (as also Neneng) have been truly good divemasters. Very professional, very kind.
All the staff on the boat has been truly helping and available, even if the most of them don't speak English at all, it was easy to understand each other.
The lodge is very nice and the beach and palms are beautiful.
On the other hand, we were somewhat disappointed because locals and also some guests (mainly Chinese people) use to litter here and there, so it is not infrequent that you see garbage on the beach or in the sea. This is sincerely bad.
Last of the cons, the restaurant: the cousine is not bad but too much repetitive and thus a little boring. The massive presence of Chinese guests, moreover, makes the overall experience at the restaurant not so pleasant.
So, in the end, I rate this place only 4 stars when it could easily get a 5 if they improve some details. Of course, when you dive in Sipadan (we could get there 3 days on 7!), you forget all those small defects and simply have a great fun!

Stayed August 2016, travelled as a couple

“I liked here over the water bungalows”
4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 14 September 2016
i would go with a stand alone cottage - hopefully you get one in the first row with view of water rather than a back one the view of another cottage.

Sipadan----- they guarantee a (three tank) dive day at Spiadan if you stay a min 5 nights...the chances of going an additional day are VERY very GREAT. Most of the guests are Chinese tour groups that many do not dive. you can do a 4th dive any of the days for another 140RM. Make friends with the dive masters.

Stayed September 2016, travelled as a couple



(Wholly Owned by Sipadan-Mabul Resort (Sabah) Sdn. Bhd.)
2nd Floor, Lot 8, Block B, Jalan Padas, Segama Complex,
88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
P.O. Box 15571, 88864 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel No: (6088) 230006     Fax No: (6088) 242003
License No : KKKP/PL 2941

Sipadan-Mabul Resort Sipadan-Mabul Resort

Mabul Water Bungalows is a new floating dive-resort wholly owned by Sipadan-Mabul Resort (Sabah) Sdn. Bhd. (SMART), is situated at Mabul Island overlooking the world-known Sipadan Island which is 15-minutes away by speedboat.

These wooden-type bungalows has seven (7) unit entirely built over water with stilts offer sheer comfort. Each bungalow exquisitely furnished with contemporary decor, equipped with remote control air-conditioner, ceiling fan, private bathroom-hot/cold shower and toilet, spacious private balcony offer panoramic vistas of blue sea, colour TV with satellite channels, mini bar and in-room safety box.

Facilities includes a large and airy restaurant for dining, a souvenirs shop selling variety of t-shirts, accessories and gifts, a business center with internet service, a dive center and an office taking care all the guests registration and billings.

July 12, 2014 Mabul Water Bungalow Resort : A a policeman was shot dead and another abducted by gunmen. The incident on Mabul island marks a fresh escalation of violence in the remote area, regarded as one of the world's top diving hot spots.

See more at:

July 16, 2014 Kuala Lumpur : Inspector-general of Malaysia’s police force, Khalid Abu Bakar, told a press conference that a fresh deployment of 330 policemen and 350 soldiers is under way. They will be stationed at areas including the resort islands off the coast of Sabah and fish farms.

August 11, 2014 Kota Kinabalu : Sabah police commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said CONSTABLE Zakiah Aleip, who was kidnapped from Mabul island a month ago, has made 42 phone calls to police and his family since his abduction. Most of the contacts were made in the morning, at noon and in the afternoon.

“The kidnappers have been cooperative and have given him the space to make the calls. We monitored every phone call made and we are negotiating. It will take time as the price (ransom) that they (kidnappers) ask is too high.”

Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman was speaking to reporters after witnessing the handing over of the Sabah Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief and deputy chief posts at the police headquarters Kota Kinabalu 11 August 2014.




Sipadan-Mabul Resort Sipadan-Mabul Resort

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