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“Amazing Diving, Good Dive Shop, Needs to Improve on a few things”

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Uncle Chang's Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge
Edmonton, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Amazing Diving, Good Dive Shop, Needs to Improve on a few things”
Reviewed November 12, 2013

My wife and I stayed here for 4 nights where we completed our advanced diving course and then we did fun dives at Sipadan. The instructors were fantastic, Ker in particular was very professional, patient and very knowledgable. We had a fantastic time diving around Mabul, Kapalai and of course Sipadan...heaven on earth.

We chose to stay in one of the dorm rooms which were basic but fine for space and cleanliness. Although they did offer a safety deposit box for small items, there was no lockers for the dorms which I didn't really like. As others have mentioned before the water pressure leaves a lot to be desired. I can't comment on if it is different at other shops. The power does only work from 5pm-8am which I'm sure cuts their electricity bill in half. We were ok with this as we were out diving or in the common area by 8 anyways but I can see how it would be rough if you were sick and wanted to stay in your room. The food was very very average. Some days it was good, other times we'd be served a miscellaneous buffet of things like cold hotdogs. The quantity of the food was never a problem but the quality needs to be improved. What we ended up doing for a couple of meals was purchase fish from the fisherman in the morning who come around and sell everything from fish, to crab to lobster. You can pay the cooks a few dollars and they will cook and prepare the fish/crab how you like it.

Uncle Chang's is a good budget option to be able to dive some of the best spots on earth. Yes they do have some things to improve upon as I mentioned above, but overall our experience was a good one and we would recommend it to other budget conscious travellers.

Room Tip: Private bungalows are definitely the quietest as they are away from the equipment room and admin off...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Tyrannosaurus_Ross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2013

Me & my family, 4 adults & 2 child under 5 years old staying at Uncle Chang for 3D2N. I paid for room, boat transfer, jetty fee & land transfer on the last day we want to go back KL (Semporna to Tawau airport - invoice attach). When we reach Semporna jetty, the girl told me the transport is not prepare. It's fine, she can arrange it for me between 15 minutes. The travel van come to fetch 6 of us at the Uncle Chang office. After about 5 minutes drive, the driver told me that he cannot send us to airport because he need to fetch another group of people in 30 minutes time, he need to send us to join another group of people that going to Tawau airport by bus. When we step in the bus, there just 4 empty chair for us, my 2 children have to sit on my leg... This is very very not professional service! We paid for a private transportation just for my family (include children sit) but now we need to join other people by bus. I try to email to Uncle Change twice after i back to KL to ask them to check about this but no reply from them...

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank qianchin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2013

I understand that's a budget accommodation but Rats hanging around from day to night, accompany with cockroach is way too far; No expectation on food already due to the budget.
However, Dive Guides are just great, funny and easygoing yet professional.
Dive experience here is heaven, but sleep in hell. Up to your choice

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Cafe T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puchong, Malaysia
Level 6 Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We booked our Chalet Room for our anniversary holiday and Uncle Chang's is the best place to stay because the room are big, clean, looks nice and the prices are affordable compare to other accommodation in Mabul Island. The booking we made, was including daily meals, return boat transfer, return airport transfer, diving trip to Sipadan Island and hiking & snorkeling trip to Bohey Dulang Island. It was a perfect anniversary celebration for us.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank izyanliana84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exmouth, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
78 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2013

We chose to stay With Uncle Chang because they offered the best price for the diving, and they were the only Company that offered free transfer to Mabul and back to Semporan. The transfer is 100 Ringit With the other Companies, and the diving was around 40 ringits cheaper as well. A saving of 150 ringits makes it Worth it.

We were`nt expecting a 5 star resort as it is a Budget Place, but it was perfectly acceptable, actually quite Nice. The rooms were good and comfortable. The electricity was off during most of the day, but who sits in their room during the day anyways?
There was some quality Entertainment in the mess hall - a silver ring and a hook, strangely addictive.
We did not do the Sipadan diving due to the high prices, but the diving on Mabul and Kapulai was surprisingly good. It was amazing I would say. I have over 700 dives, but yet I saw so many Things on these dives that i never experienced before. There was 5 big turtles on one of the dives. The dive crew was Nice and chatty.

Things that could be improved:
- Complete lack of information when we arrived until we actually press them for answer.
- Most of the Food tasted like it was made a week ago....but then again that is not unormal in Malaysia.

If you are looking for good prices, quality diving and Ok rooms ,stay here
If you are looking for gastronomical joys,someone to hold Your hand at all times and a golf cart for you to drive on the island....you should not stay here.

I saw someone complaining here about not getting lifejackets....get real....

Room Tip: take initiative and take to the People if you are wondering about when stuff is going to happen. The...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Stiigen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 21, 2013

My siblings and I have had a bad experience at uncle chang’s sipadan mabul dive lodge. We had stayed at uncle chang’s for 2 days one night only but all the experiences we have had there has rendered us not to visit to that horrible, miserable and terrible place again. There are few things I want to point out for those who look for valuable places to stay:
1. If you expect you can get a room once you arrive at Mabul island, then this is probably not the place-we arrived there at around 9 something morning and we approached staff in charge there, all she told us is to wait until the previous guest to check out first. However, when we asked what the check out time is for the previous guest, she told us supposed to be 8am and she has informed another staff to keep the guest informed that they should check out. In the end, we managed to get the room after 2.30pm and while waiting all other guests that come with same boat have checked in and has gone to one of the snorkelling spot.
2. Snorkelling gears and live jackets were not sufficient- we paid RM15 per snorkelling gears at semporna headquarter before we went to Mabul. However, by the time we wanted to go for snorkelling, we asked for those equipments from staff. What she informed us is we didn't pay for the snorkelling gears and that is why we didn’t have the snorkelling equipments. The staff only smiles at us when we showed her the receipt of payment and they just borrowed the snorkel gears from few guests that sitting at dining area. We also asked for live jackets before we get onto the boat but the staff just informed us the live jackets are already on boat.
3. Boat overload and irresponsible staff on the boat- when we reached the snorkelling spot, there are more than 8 people on the boat without live jackets which including us and we asked help from the staff on boat so that he can get some live jackets from another boat nearby (under uncle chang), the staff just said ok but in the end a friend of mine (without live jackets) swam to another boat to get the live jackets by himself and the live jackets he got all in bad conditions!!
4. No water supply, ants on the bed, leaking roof- there was no water supply in our room and the staff told us to wait for 30 mins and then another 20 mins and another 20 mins etc and finally we have to shower in another public bathroom or else bring pails to the nearest pipe to get water to shower. There is a heavy rain in the middle of night after we have had an exhausted day and the roof leaking has made us has a sleepless night again. The next day, none of us interested going for snorkelling again and we rather rest on the chairs outside our room or go for a beach walk nearby our staying place.

One thing for sure is we won’t stay here again and will not recommend any of my friends to stay here!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank tamy99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2013

Came here on my Gap Year in the summer of 2010 four times (two days each), on breaks from an eco- tourist project I was doing in Batu Puteh. Went with a few other friends from the KOPEL project we were doing, and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely.

It may not be the most luxurious place, but it makes for great value for money. The DM's are very friendly both in and out of the water.

The rooms are a bit basic, but are all you really need tbh. No A/C, but open the window and get the sea breeze.

Meals are included in the cost of your stay, but not soft drinks/alcoholic - but they're v.cheap.

Would recommend this to anyone coming here. Would be back again.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tintin1991
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Uncle Chang's Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge

Property: Uncle Chang's Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge
Address: 91307 Causeway Road, Pulau Mabul, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 29
Also Known As:
Uncle Chang`s Sipadan Mabul Dive Hotel Pulau Mabul

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