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“Six days diving with Scuba Junkies - A divers perspective” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving

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Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving
PO Box 458, Block B, Lot 36 | Semporna Seafront, Semporna 91308, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Hong Kong, China
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Six days diving with Scuba Junkies - A divers perspective”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

My partner and I stayed with Scuba Junkies from the 13th-18th of October. The two of us have dived with many dive operators over the years, both resort and live aboard; throughout 14 countries. A lot of the trips we do, are documented and passed on to our Dive club members and friends, so you could say I had high expectations of this operation; given their close proximity to the sublime Sipadan. Our flight from KK to Tawau was delayed which did put our connecting boat ride from Semporna to Mabul in doubt. I'm happy to say the staff did hold the boat departure by 45 minutes, so we could make the 50 minute crossing that afternoon and not the following morning. On arrival we received our key (Room 24) and the bags were promptly delivered.

Observations:

- Accommodation: Our room was clean, presentable and had both a fan and fully functioning fridge and air conditioner. The wrap around balcony with hammock was also an asset for drying wet dive gear. The bathroom was very clean and modern.

- The following day's diving is presented on a large white board in the eating area, detailing your dive masters, dive boat and departure time. The staff prefer you to review the board before asking questions, given the volume being pumped through; fair enough. For those bringing their own gear, you do need to discuss with the staff as the operation is focused on recreational divers with renting gear. Note: sidemount divers, there are no tanks setup for DIN connectors and they do not have the required allen key to alter the tank valves. Fortunately I did bring my own converters.

- Food: Buffet style, self serve. The quality was quite good but you do need to get in line as soon as it's served, as the fruit goes quickly and some of the guests can be very hungry.

- Dive Sites: The operation is setup for two days in Mabul, then a day on Sipadan. The quality of the house reefs are good and quite varied with plenty to see. Kapalai is excellent and Sea Adventures is world class. The viz ranged from 8m to 20m. The two days on Mabul's reefs (three dives per day) are worth it but the Sipadan day is exceptional. Tornados of barracuda, Jack fish and 100 Bump Head Parrot Fish...incredible.

Dive Operation: Well organized, all gear is loaded on the boats and a thorough dive briefing is provided. They do group divers of similar experience which was a relief. There's nothing worse than travelling from the other side of the world and ending your dive after 40 minutes due to poor buddy assignment. Our dives ranged from 50-70 minutes and everyone had similar SAC rates and temperament.

Quality of Dive Masters: We had three DM's and one Instructor on our boats over the six days. Cat, Scott, Dave and Rachel were excellent. They knew the dive sites well, enjoyed interacting with customers and were good spotters. Most importantly they didn't harass us with respect to air, depth and respected our level of experience as we did theirs.

Post Dive: There is a great bar above the dining area, beers are 5 ringet each and everyone is happy to mingle.

Staff: The local staff are very respectful and friendly. Note, you don't get if you don't ask.

Improvements: They have a strong Dive Master in training program so the DMT's do help out on the boats. Not too sure this is a great idea without the vetting. On my first dive I thought I'd test the waters on their customer service with the male DMT's on board . My first question was "I've misplaced my weights, can you lend a hand?" This was met by a strong glare and no response. I backed it up with "would you mind passing my tank down to me" (second chance). My tank was passed down to me but dropped from a foot and a half from the water with the additional glare. Alarm bells did go off at that stage but I'm glad to say the remainder of the days/dives were with all the DM's which were excellent as previously mentioned. They do need to train their DMT's on customer service as the customer sees no difference between the instructor and trainee both are just seen as representatives of Scuba Junkies. It would be nice to see the DMT's engaging with the customers post dive, this would assist with the learning experience.

In summary, I would recommend Scuba Junkies for those wanting to dive all day and experience Sipadan. Rating 3.75 out of 5. It's bang for your buck and all about the diving. The issue of 2 days diving for one day at Sipadan is common for all operators in the area as each is only given seven permits per day per resort. The local dives are good so no huge downside.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
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Daejeon
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

We had a really pleasant stay here. The service was above average and the dive shop were great. We didn't spend much time here as it was just stopover to get to Mabul, but can't complain. The attraction is definintely not the town though - you go there to dive.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013 via mobile

What a terrible place! It Sure does not compare to THE good mabul beach resort at mabul island. Avoid THE complacent staff, Renting a shower towel and THE noice! If you have THE chance, go straight to mabul beach resort! Also owned by scuba junkie.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Thailand
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

We booked our trip to Mabul Island two month ahead, everything had worked fine, fast e-mail response, nicely written...

We stayed the first two nighst in their dive logde in Semporna. The town itself is absoulty dsigusting!!! BUT the SC-lodge is a great place to be, the dorms are clean and offer enough space for everyone, so as the bathrooms. They have a great Bar and Restaurant with friendly waiting stuff and yummy food.
The next days diving was good. I went with a malaysian divemaster, named Nas, a lovely person and great a divemaster. Funny and super professional at the same time.

After our stay in Semporna we went over to Mabul Island. The Scuba Junkie Resort, is a good looking place, everything is clean, furniture is new and maintained aswell as everything in Restaurant. The food is alright and a nice mix of european and asian cuisine.

One of us took the chance to do her Open Water Diver Course with them, she loved it!!!

I went fun diving everyday, as an experienced Instructor, I enjoyed that they never put me together with unexperienced divers in a group. thank you for that.

Another friend of mine got sick for 2 days, a cancellation of the days diving wasnt a problem at all.

All in all it was great trip. thank you very much.

BUT, as a former Padi Inst. and working nowadays in management postion in a world known group of hotels
I have got a few suggestions for you:

- Why there are no hangers in the rooms in the SC lodge?
- In Mabul an average customer is spending around 400-600MYR/100-150€ a day, please try to be more friendly to your guest, a smile and a friendly explaination why something is not working or not possible is way better, than just to leave your Guest alone with a harsh no! Try to apply proper complaint management and a higher standard of service, please...
- Why was so hard to find some clean cutlery or glasses at the buffett?
- In my time working as an Inst. I had trained and certified a few DM´s, I didnt like way of guiding and the lack of experience of one your newly certified Dm´s, He wasnt trained properly! But a friendly guy!


If we got the chance we would come back again!!! :)

Room Tip: Semporna: Dorm Mabul: Room w. fan or ac
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Singapore, Singapore
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

I intended to just stay for 3 days diving around mabul but decided to extend my stay by a week because of the great dive sites, interesting dm/instructors (they are all nice and different in their own ways so you'll definitely find the perfect ones to guide/teach you) and awesome band nights (every wed night). It's a little expensive for solo travellers like me but if you have 2/3 people to share the bungalows then it's really good price for value.

What is special about this dive resort is they educate people about marine ecology (there are dms who are actually marine biologists) and I've learnt to dive without any wetsuit and be more environmentally aware of my surroundings while diving. 36 dives and 3 snorkles during my 10 days, most of them were really awesome. Mabul was great for a mix of big and small stuff while my 2 days of Sipadan were just awesome.

The only sad thing was 2 days before my departure, someone, probably a day trip tourist (some people just spend a day diving/snorkeling around mabul then back to semporna at night) took my bag of toileteries and nightie which costed a small fortune. But then again it's my fault for leaving the bag at public area as I knew everyone working/staying at the resort was trust worthy.

Great food at the resort by the way. I ate like 5 meals a day with drinks/snacks in between. But if you are new to malaysia remember to bring your own bottled mineral water as some tourists' stomach doesn't take the local distilled water very well.

I also dove with the Semporna group for a day at Mataking which was really really enjoyable, wish I had more time to stay at Semporna and dive for another week or so. Too bad happy times always come to an end.

Highly recommend instructors: Steve, Fred, deano, gav ; DM Ewan, Kat&Dave, Ted, Stu, Claudia etc etc they are all great people, buy them a beer as appreciation at the bar and hear their stories out at night, you'll learn a lot :)

Room Tip: The dorm is a great place to make friends but not as good if you are a natural mosquitor magnet like...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013 via mobile

If you are not going to dive then there is little point in visiting Semporan. We stayed for one night on our way to Mabul as we couldn't make the last boat out. This place is packed - the only room that was available for the one night when we made our reservation in Semporna was the ViP room - the most expensive . It was actually a good room but it smelled like sewerage. When I went to speak to the guy in reception about it he basically said we couldn't move as they were full. I am guessing they know about the smell as there were 3 air freshness in the room. But the smell is so bad they don't cover it.
It's a shame as the room was like a suite with a fridge, food prep area, and sofa, small enclosed balcony. But if you want to book then check they have fixed the odour issue first.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warsaw, Poland
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

Quite basic yet comfy hotel in the middle of the town with easy access to shops, jetty, restaurants, atm, etc. Has a bar, neat wifi and pretty basic rooms. Staff is quite helpful, meals are good. May get uber crowded in high diving season.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.

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Additional Information about Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving

Address: PO Box 458, Block B, Lot 36 | Semporna Seafront, Semporna 91308, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Semporna
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty lodging in Semporna
Also Known As:
Scuba Junkie Hotel And Diving
Scuba Junkie Hotel Diving
Scuba Junkie Semporna

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