Mention Mabul Island and visions of swaying coconut trees, idyllic water villages and fascinating marine life come to mind. And that’s just above the water. Located around 15 minutes by speedboat from the world famous Sipadan Island, Mabul is recognised as one of the best muck-diving (a term used to describe limited visibility dives at shallow sites with usually sandy bottoms) sites in the world.
Mabul is a small oval shaped island fringed by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200-hectare reef. The reef is on the edge of the continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 25–30 metres deep.
Mabul is also renowned for its amazing array of macrolife, making it an underwater photographer’s dream location to capture some of the rarest ecological species on film. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, spike-fin gobies, frogfish and moray eels are just some of the spectacular critters you will encounter beneath the waters of Mabul.
Although all the excitement is underwater, you can always set your scuba gear aside for a day to laze on Mabul’s soft sand to work on your tan.
Agents to contact
Scuba Jeff Sipadan Sdn Bhd
Office +60 889 781566
Friendstar (MM2H) Travel Services Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-702 771
Sensational Holidays (Borneo) Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-386 691
Borneo Authentic Adventure Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-773 066
WB Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-318 833
Super Sightseeing Holidays Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-233 638
The internationally famous island of Sipadan lies five degrees north of the equator in the Sulawesi Sea (Celebes Sea). More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this richest of ecosystems. Sipadan is well known for its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles that gather there to mate and nest – it is not unusual for a diver to see over 20 turtles during each dive. There is a total of 12 dive sites in Sipadan with the most popularly recommended dive sites include Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, South Point and Hanging Gardens.
Agents to contact
Borneo Sandakan Tours Sdn Bhd
Office +60 89-215 754
Excellence Eco-Tours Services Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-710 702
Moreasia Travel Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-728 631
Good Vacations Travel Agency Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-233 709
Classic Holidays Sdn Bhd
Office +60 88-231 887
Attention: Divers need permits to dive in Sipadan!
In an effort to preserve the island, there is a permit system limiting the maximum numbers of divers to 120 per day. Please check with your respective resort/dive operator with regard to the permit.
Since 1 January 2005, in order to protect the island’s preciously fragile marine ecosystem, all resorts on Sipadan have been moved to Mabul and Kapalai. Sipadan island is open for divers and visitors from 6am to 4pm.
Top 10 Dive Sites
South Point, Sipadan
Turtle Cave, Sipadan
West Ridge, Sipadan
Lobster Wall, Mabul
Froggie’s Lair, Mabul
The Jetty, Kapalai
Mid Reef, Kapalai
Getting to Mabul and Sipadan:
From your location, fly to Tawau, the nearest town to Mabul Island where your resort is located. You can fly to Tawau either from Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
When you arrive Tawau, your resort will transfer you to Semporna. From Semporna, you will take the resort speed boat to Mabul Island. The transfer from Tawau to Semporna takes 90 minutes while the boat ride will take another 45 minutes. Please arrange with your respective resort/dive operator with regard to your transfers from Tawau to Semporna and Mabul.
If you prefer a leisurely pace, you can spend a night either in Tawau or Semporna. Tawau is the bigger town compared to Semporna. But both offer unique experiences and excellent fresh seafood.
Sabah Tourism Board, 51 Gaya Street, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia.
Tel: +6088 212121 Fax: +6088 212075 Email: email@example.com
Source: Sabah Tourism Board
Images Credit: Scuba Jeff & Iqbal Shamsudin