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“Best dive experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Borneo Divers Mabul Island Resort

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Borneo Divers Mabul Island Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Best dive experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2011

Best Diving Experience

Everyone says its expensive to dive Sipadan, to me its very much depends who you dive with.

I dived with Borneo Divers july this year, it was an excellent experience, and I booked another trip 4 months later, in Nov.

Price
I did a few comparison before booking with Borneo Divers, their pricing is straight forward, and actually quite reasonable as compared to most DC.
Sadly they don’t do nitrox courses, but they do have nitrox.

Dive
One things good about Borneo divers, they got higher permits for Sipadan as compared to most of the DC. During low peak season, chances are higher, I was very lucky I got to dive Sipadan for 2 days, out of my 5D4N stays!!
The DM was helpful, even after dives will chat up with you on your dives tat day and try to assist you with your log book, and help identify the fishes.
Must go Barracuda point, I was actually amazed by the DMs, they can actually spotted the school of bumphead parrotfish from far(I mean from the surface) and immediately asked everyone to jump it so we don’t miss that spectacular sight! And White Tips ave, a must-dived-site at my opinion, your dives almost completed just by diving this site.
There’s a lot more to go on….

Accomodation
Its like chalet style, very basic, but excellent A/C, very important in Mabul island!! And also hot shower. Beds are comfy, no complaints

Food
There’s a variety of food everyday, and its buffet style, their serving is not stingy at all, and more like home-cooked style catered to different people. Even its only served 2 persons, the portion is enough for 4, sometimes I feel bad wasting food though.
Coffee and tea is free flow, with breads to toast yourself, good for surface interval.

Whats best?
The DMs and staffs. It’s absolutely okie if you are going alone to dive, why I say so? Cos everyone is so friendly, it feels like home.
Tats why I always tell myself, its good to be home.

Room Tip: go to mabul housereef, for the resident mandarin fish.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2011

staff is amazingly friendly, safe and clean location, dove sipadan several times but truthfully enjoyed the other islands more, sipadan seemed a bit too hyped, the house reef is great for diving or snorkeling

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2011

Stayed a night in Tawau before they picked me up for a 2hrs journey to Semporna. After waiting for a short while, we were transferred to a boat to the resort.
We were greeted by the cheerful team of staff at the jetty. We were briefed on the procedures after formalities. Every bungalow consists of 2 units. Room is of good size and bed is comfortable. Bring your own toiletries eg shampoo shower gel.
Free WIFI is available at the lobby. Food quality is average, buffet style. If you have a special occasion eg birthday or clocked a certain number of dives, the staff will be happy to celebrate with a nice cake and songs!
Resort has a pool and located next to villages. Dive centre is located on its private jetty and is spacious. It has a cafe and its a lovely place to enjoy sexy sunset with beer after a long of diving.
Got 2 days of diving permit in Sipidan. Green turtles are almost guaranteed in every dive there. Visibility is not that good despite the good weather. Can be cold in the wall area due to the depth. Variety of fishes and quantity not the best in this region. Unfortunately dive guides there are not fantastic. I do not think we were brought to the best dive site on the island. Sadly below expectation. Variety of fishes and quantity is definately not the best I have seen in this region. Mabul offers a different sights in diving.
There are 2 transfers between the resort and Tawau so its convenient to connect to your flight.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2011

We were picked up from our hotel in Tawau in a very comfortable AC bus. The driver was on time and really helpful.

We arrived in Semporna and were shown to the little transfer office. Our bags etc were transferred for us with no hassle.

The boat over was comfortable and quick.

When we arrived the weather was bad. We were met at the jetty by several BDMR staff with umbrellas and shown through to the dive centre (which was on the large jetty - more later). After showing us round and introducing us to the various people who would be looking after us we proceeded to checkin where we were treated very well. The rep/divemaster filled us in on all the do s and donts in a quick, efficient way. We then did the usual Diving disclaimers and paperwork etc which took 5 mins all with a drink ready for us on arrival.

The room - big. spacious. clean. dated. In definite need of a lick of paint. (This is something the management are aware of and are in the process of sorting it (I am told))

Bathroom - clean. shower is hot and is a little weak but not really an issue.

Pool - decent size. Cleaned daily. Really nice to sit in after a day's diving.

Food - ranged from above average to Excellent. Plenty of choice. The BBQ on the beach is excellent.

The Dive Centre - Excellent. Loads of space to wash and hang your kit. Loads of tubs to clean it so no jostling and unpleasant pushing. All relaxed and stress free. Showers available on the jetty too. Free coffee/tea and biscuits station on the jetty. (Excellent coffee - the guy makes it exactly how you like it without having to be asked after a couple of times). There are sun loungers and tables on the jetty too for your surface interval relaxation which are great.

Dive Rental Kit - no problems at all. I personally have my own but my girlfriend does not. I inspected her rented kit each day and it was all in good working condition so I felt safe that this dive operation knew what it was doing and took guest safety seriously. Bit pricey to rent though.

Dive Sites - Around Mabul they are good. Be warned though. They are no Sipidan. Sipidan has its reputation for a reason.

Tips:
Ask the manager personally for trips to Sipidan early on in your trip. He may be able to swing you an extra one. Permits are limited so dont expect too much but if he knows your name and that you are interested then you have nothing to lose.

Plan and book early. Mabul gets booked up and looking at some of the other places on the island you really dont want to stay there. That said, there are some really expensive and 5 star resorts nearby.

The rest of the island - personally I wouldnt bother. Tis a nice island ruined by rubbish. The local villagers just do not seem to care.

BDMR is towards the nicer end of the resorts and was the best part of my holiday.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

My daughter and I traveled here at the beginning of July for a week, we had two days diving at Sipadan and soon learned that NITROX needs to be booked in advance otherwise forget it. The staff are great, but visibility at this time of year was not fantastic due to heavy rains. Another issue was newbie divers with no buoyancy control destroying visibility around photographers, they should be on other dives.

Both of us also ended up with some form of stomach problems that was resolved through self medication. During our stay one diver from the US was hospitalized with suspected food poisoning.

Food and board and okay, free wi-fi is available in the main part of the resort.

Dive staff are very good and knowledgable.

Large monitor lizards live under most huts.

Despite the negative points I will be back there.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

Standard service for this hotel on Mabul Island...

Accomodation is quite standard : rooms are clean and quiet, we appreciated the buffet for lunch, especially if you've been diving all day.
In the hotel personnel is nice and helpful...but the daily arrivals and departures of guests make it quite impersonal.

Diving :
Equipment and boats are OK...It was nice staying late in the afternoon on the jetty admiring the landscape.

Except for the man caring for the equipement who was really helpfull, the relationship with the diving crew is also quite impersonal. Dive masters are quite young and essentialy worry about having you respecting security procedures, especially max. dive time and depth.

Over a 6 days stay, we had only one day diving in Sipadan as the hotel had to deal with the arrival of a big groups of divers from Taiwan. During low season, it is probably easier to go more frequently in Sipadan.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
194 helpful votes 194 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2011

We stayed here Oct 2007 during our week long dive holiday to Sipadan and Mabul Island.

I did not have very high expectations as the resort is so isolated, but therein lies the charm.Five dives a day, meals in between, evening activities at the beach bar or cultural shows put on by the management and staff.

We had a lovely time, not to mention incredible diving and were very sad to leave. Hopefully we will be back, one day soon!!.

Love youse all at Mabul!

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Borneo Divers Mabul Island Resort

Address: Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Borneo Divers Mabul Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 30
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Also Known As:
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