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A place in the Sun – Mabul Island

Posted By Dennelton Mandiau on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | 21:42

Mabul Water Bungalos.

Mabul Island – once a sleepy fisherman’s village is now the centre for accommodation for both divers and non-divers who are heading out to Sipadan . It has also earned it’s place as a holiday destination of its own, offering the visitor it’s clear waters, fine sandy beaches and unique Macro diving.

Borneo Divers resort pool.

Since the Government ban on resorts on Sipadan Island, various dive operators moved to Mabul and started building their accommodation there. Today there are various categories of accommodation to suite every purse whether your looking a “Maldives” style bungalow or just some simple ‘back backer’ dorm . The first Resort on the island was the ‘Sipadan water village’ built entirely over the water and was later followed by various other resorts, some of them on the island and some over the sea. One resort owner took over a nearby sandbank (Kapalai) that gets submerged during high tide and built a very luxurious resort on it, complete with its own manmade island for sunbathing. Another innovative resort owner (Sea Ventures), bought an old oil rig platform and converted it into a resort. Anchored in the deep waters just off Mabul island, it is marketed as the only ‘Rig-resort’ in the world. The latest additions to the list are the ‘home-stays” and ‘back packer’ style of accommodation. Starting out first as typical home-stays with host families, the demand grew and so from a couple of rooms in a local’s house, they were expanded into long-house style buildings with dormitories or individual rooms, common showers and large common rooms for meals and parties. They all come with a dive shop attached to them and provide both diving and snorkelling trips around Mabul, the nearby islands and Sipadan (If they are able to get the permits).

Private villa at Mabul water bungalow.
Mabul is only about 20 hectares in size and has 2 villages, a school and mosque. Most of the villagers on the island earn a living from fishing, while the resorts employ some of them. The only shops on the island are really small stalls selling homemade cakes, cigarettes, snacks and instant noodles. There are no restaurants on the island besides those that are part of the resorts & backpackers, so all of the packages offered usually include transportation from Semporna town, meals and lodging. If your not a diver, you could always snorkel and if your interested, even try out ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ to have a taste of what scuba diving is all about. Many resorts also offer diver courses, which you can take up during your stay.

The spa at Mabul Water Bungalows.
Getting to Mabul – Fly to Tawau and then by road to Semporna ( 1 & ½ hours ) or overland to Semporna from any of the major towns in Sabah. From Semporna it’s about an hour’s fast speedboat ride to Mabul Island. Its best to pre-book your accommodation with the resorts, as they will provide you with the land and boat transfers to their accommodation.

Text and photos by David de la Harpe
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The Editor

I'm Dennelton from Sabah, editor of www.tvokm.com. I was a blogger since 2008, I have a great interest about blogging and seeking additional income through the internet. Follow me with like our official Facebook Page HERE

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