I recently stayed at the lodge with three of my friends on a trip to Semporna. We've booked the place way back in January and was really looking forward to the stay. While our trip was awesome, the stay with the lodge was not.
We booked the 3D2N snorkelling package that (according to the website) includes:
Full board meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
2 island snorkel at selected island
Visit to sea gypsy village
Boat transfer to island (return)
*Monkey Dives Lodge Borneo complimentary T-shirt
While the food is not worth to shout about, it's filling and ok. Bring some snacks and your own food and drink if you prefer.
It's a small lodge so not many people and it's very quiet (depends). I shared a two-bed room with my friend and it is spacious enough for both of us. All the rooms had to share three bathrooms. I like that the bathrooms are kept clean so that's a plus. Even the bedrooms are clean. It could get quite noisy especially at night as the walls are made of thin plywood, so bring earplugs!
The staff are super friendly and helpful and we really enjoyed their company. There was nothing much to do in the evening so bring any entertainment devices to keep you company.
We encountered a few problems during our stay, mainly to do with the management.
We were not informed clearly on the itineraries of our stay by the staff and it kinda spoilt our planning. This is probably because Fizlee, the owner, was not there during our stay. Basically, we woke up, and was told to do what by the staff on the day itself.
According to the package, there will be a visit to the sea gypsy village so we were waiting to go there. However, we were told that there will be no visit by the staff. When I called Fizlee, she said the village is at one of the islands we went. We were not told about this so that's a missed opportunity. I told Fizlee that it would be better if she trained her staff to talk about the places we went as most of the time we won't know.
We were also told to choose two islands to visit. At first, we chose Mabul and Mataking. However, we were told that we're going to Sibuan and Mantabuan on the day before we embarked to Semporna. Although the islands were amazing, I was pretty disappointed because she didn't tell us earlier about the change of plan and how she blatantly ignored our own plan. We then paid extra for a boat to take us to Mabul and Kapalai.
On our way back from snorkelling, we stopped by the market to buy some seafood. Upon reaching the lodge, Sabrina, the diving instructor, told us that we have to pay RM20 to ask the cook to cook the food for us. We bought two seafood items: crabs and clams. However, the next day, Sabrina told us it's RM20 per dish. I thought it was quite expensive as they only boiled the clams. RM20 to boil the clams is quite expensive as they only used water.
All in all, if you would like to stay here, make sure you tell Fizlee in detail what you want to do and what you should do. It seems to me that she has a problem in communicating, as she did not get her points across clearly, preferring to beat it around the bush. It is a place that I would definitely visit again, but I hope Fizlee could be more transparent in her business. That would be very much appreciated.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.