• The Island • Dives and Marine Life
• The Resorts • Getting There •
Mabul island is a small oval shaped
island surrounded by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a
larger 2 square kilometre reef.
Located off the south-eastern coast of Sabah in Malaysia, It first became
popular due to its proximity to Sipadan island. This small island surrounded by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest
corner of a larger 200-hecter reef is notably known as one of the worlds best
Great for: Small animals, underwater photography and beginner divers
Not so great for: Visibility and non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - 20m / Visibility: 5 - 15m / Water Temperature: 27 - 29°C
Currents: Gentle / Surface Conditions: Calm
Experience Level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: 12 / Access: Diving resorts
Recommended length of stay: 5 - 14 days, including Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai
Although you can still walk around the entire island in less than
an hour, Mabul is considerably larger than Sipadan, and boasts two resorts and
a large village, mainly home to fisherman and employees (and their families)
of the two resorts.
Sipadan and Mabul couldn't be more different. While the
interior of Sipadan is untouched tropical forest, Mabul is predominantly made
up of actively producing coconut trees.
Mabul is located just 25 kilometers north of Sipadan and is used as a base to
dive there. Diving at Mabul offers something different to the usual coral reef
environment, it is often refered to as a macro heaven. Muck diving is the rage
here, this is a term used to describe limited visibility diving at shallow
sites usually with a sandy bottom. Muck diving offers the opportunity to
observe rare macro critters close up, a photographers paradise.
Dives and Marine Life
The reef is on the edge of a continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the
reef slopes out to 75 to 100 feet deep. Mabul is arguably one of the riches
single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world.
Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids
are just a few of the numerous types of cephalopods to be found on Mabul's
reef. The sight of harlequin shrimp feeding on sea stars and boxer crabs
waving their tiny anemone pompoms are just a small example of the endless
species of crustaceans.
Many types of gobies can be found including the spike-fin goby, black sail-fin
goby and metallic shrimp goby. Frogfish are everywhere -giant, painted and
clown frogfish are regularly seen along with the almost the whole scorpion
fish family. It would be quicker to list the species not found at Mabul -
crazy critters are in abundance at this magical macro site!
There are several dive resorts operating on Mabul island.
There are 4 resorts on Mabul Island - Sipadan Water Village Resort / Sipadan
Mabul Resort / Borneo Diver Resort / Seaventure Resort
Sipadan Water Village Resort - The entire resort is
built in pilings and connects to the shore by a long pier. Located on the
north eastern side of Mabul Island, it has Bajau" styled water cottages built
on stilts 45 ", built 1m above the sea. All room amenities include twin /
double or triple beds, private balcony offering sea or island view.
Sipadan Mabul Resort - Offers seven units of wooden-type bungalows
built over water with stilts. Each bungalow furnished with contemporary decor,
air-conditioned/ ceiling fan, private bathroom with hot/cold shower, spacious
private balcony, colour TV with satellite channels, mini bar and in-room
Borneo Divers Resort - Occupies a beautiful stretch of white sandy
beach with easy access for both shore and boat diving. It offers chalets, all
with a view of the beach and the Borneo Mainland in the distance.
The chalets are constructed of beautiful hardwoods in a local style. with
Ceiling fans & air condition. All units have either twin or double size beds.
and private bathrooms with hot showers
The Seaventure Resort - is located in middle of the sea was formerly known as Seaventure Oil Rig located 1km off the shore of Mabul. The resort is a
customized 4 tiers accommodation platform anchored in a jack-up position
supported on 6 tubular legs over 60 feet water. Fully air-conditioned and the
resort can cater up to 86 guests.
The accommodation Cabin twin sharing Is fully air-conditioned with hot shower
and wardrobe and other facilities.
This allows for unlimited diving, even night diving, in waters directly under
the platform, which can be accessed via a lift from above
Mabul is located southeast of Semporna on the east coast of Sabah. Visitors to
the island have to travel to Semporna Town (1 hour drive from Tawau Airport).
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Air Asia have daily flights to Tawau. From
Semporna, it is a mere 35 minute speed boat ride to the island.
Mabul ~ Dive Sites
Dive Map and Description of Popular Dive Sites- Crocodile Avenue / Froggy Lair
/ Eel Garden / Seaventure Platform