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“Cheap should not mean poor.”
Review of Mabul Backpackers

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Mabul Backpackers
Marsillargues
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Cheap should not mean poor.”
Reviewed April 25, 2013 via mobile

I were in this place for 4 days with my family. This is one of the cheapest place in Mabul but I think it could be really better. The owner is just good to ask you for money. Staff to dive doesn't care about you, not able to say hello on the morning for example. Only cooking staff, local people, are nice. Good food but bad rooms. For sure the place is amazing so it's a pity not be be better.
You can find better just nearby for few RM more.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fred C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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155 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

The staff is extremely good and the lunch and dinners are delicious. Breakfast could do with some variety. The diving is amazing with Jon and Eva. They do an excellent job and taking you to some amazing spots and ensure your safety and happiness, especially if you are a beginner diver. The environment is very clean but very basic. Don't come expecting anything fancy. You get what you pay for. The bathrooms are shared marine toilets, they do a good job at keeping them clean. The resort has electricity from 6pm to 6am and there is no a/c just a fan and the breeze from your window. The view from the deck is stunning. If you are looking to rough it, this is the place to be. If you are looking for something fancy don't come here and complain. Pay the extra money and go somewhere else and spoil yourself.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank skellyt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2013 via mobile

I had an amazing week at mabul backpackers. Remember: its a budget place. I think the people who wrote negative about this place, expected the best for the cheapest. But believe me, for a budget stay, this is amazing.
The service is great, the staff is very kind and the stay is good.

When i arrived with a friend by bus, the taxi driver picked us up right in time to bring us to the office where we could book the budget package. Im on Couchsurfing as well; that can make a difference (!!!).

I stayed eight nights at this place.
The food was good for me; three times a meal and in the afternoon a snack. There is Bread and jam and bananas all day if youre a little hungry. Unlimited tea, coffee and water. The breakfast was can be eggs, sausage, Rice, mie goreng, beans in tomato sauce and/or sweet (fried?) Bread. Really Nice!
Lunch and diner is a buffet of rice (off course; were in Malaysia), fish, vegetables, chicken, fruit (papaya, watermelon or bananas) and water that the friendly staff will serve you water when u finished your drink.

The rooms are fine as well. You have a fan that will work from 6 pm till 6 am (like most places on the island), because of the electricity. Sometimes the (quick) Wifi works at day time!!! :D
The western bathroom is basic, like they are on the most places when its on an island. One of the two showers give good 'power' when u want to take a shower.

The divingtrip to kapalai 'house reef' was good for me. I am a beginner, but the staff (Eva and John) showed us Nice micro life underwater. Good briefing, good equipment and i liked the dive. The only 'problem' was we had to go up too early; 46 minutes of diving (for me too short). I had 70 left of my air, so i could have dive longer.. But i know, it always depends on your buddy/group.

Its Nice to hang around the Homestay. You Can relax on the sundeck, watch the beautiful sunset or see how the local people live on their boats or how they fish when its low tide. Sometimes you can see a turttle swim by!!

You will find trash next to the Homestay And in the water, but hey; that's mabul island. Every place will have this 'problem'. Only the luxery resorts are a little more clean.

If you stay here, you have the clean beach of the resort next to you. You are allowed to use their beach and shops.

My plan was to stay three nights, do diving and go back to kk. But because of an spiderbite that i got from indinesia, i couldnt dive said the doctor. After a few days i had to come back to the doctor. The boss took good care and arranged a boat and taxidriver to bring me there and back. Very kind!! The return at the end of my stay went fine as well.

I will miss this place because of the nice people, good food and...everything..

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank DutchLeonie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sencur, Slovenia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

After 4 month working like dive instructor i can say Mabul backpackers rools. First of all is of course nice and great stuff. Food was all the time top good ;)
Mabul island is relaxing place: diving around island is amazing, meet local people is good experience, even is possible find nice beach for relax. Walking around island can be in 20 minutes, but i was sometimes spent 4 hours - taking picuters ;)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MatjazR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 20, 2013

The sundeck is just unbelievable. Staff are great. The scuba instructor Susanna & Chris, with the local divemaster Mo are awesome. Best teachers ever. Will always entertain when you have a question and teaches the do and dont's of diving in a simple way to understand. Would loved to dive with them again!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Capo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fiji
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

My wife & I stayed 2 nights at Mabul Backpackers & really enjoyed it! We had a nice clean room looking out on the sea & thought the meals were very good value. We are not divers but found it very enjoyable just to relax & walk around the island, visiting the beaches & local villages. The dining room looks out over the ocean & a highlight for us was when an enormous turtle came for a quick visit! Highly recommended.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter and Susan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
28 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Mabul Backpackers is not only a backpackers but also the Mabul-hub for sipadan.com diving. Accordingly the review is split for both, the accomodation and the diving.

1) Mabul backpackers
This is a budget-backpackers accommodation. For a very low price you get a basic room with a bed. Not more and not less. Everything is a bit tired, but our room was clean. The bathrooms are also a bit rusty but cleaned daily. Electricity (and internet) is only available at night, but this is pretty much standard for all budget options on Malaysian islands.

The staff is very friendly and dedicated. The food was basic but good and varied sufficiently.
We enjoyed our stay as living together with the very kind local and diving staff also creates a homely atmosphere. And we were there mainly for the diving anyways.

2) Sipadan.com diving
Sipadan.com offers fun-dives, diving-courses and they can also arrange diving at Sipadan (which is the main reason most people go to Mabul and Sipadan is worth it). Dive spots around Mabul are also great. The diving-staff we experienced (October 2012) were very nice and highly dedicated. A main drawback, however, is the security, in particular the equipment. It is really old and faulty. The staff is aware of it, they apologize for it but they can't do much about it. This is a matter of the owner. Until this issue is fixed I cannot recommend sipadan.com, if you are looking for a serious, reliable dive-shop. There are better, though more expensive (and probably less fun) options on the island.

Overall
The staff partly makes up for the tired equipment. We chose sipadan.com because they guaranteed us to dive Sipadan (but check availability in advance!!!). And they delivered. Other companies do not guarantee a Sipadan-spot until you are there and may send you home after five days without diving Sipadan (rumor has it, that the more you pay on your room the higher your chances are).

We also enjoyed the rest of our stay at Mabul Backpackers as we did not have 5-star expectations to start with.

If you are looking for a cheap but still enjoyable option and you are used to traveling on a shoe-string or you are just there for diving Sipadan this might be on option for you. If not, go somewhere else. There are plenty of better (but also more expensive and less charming) options on Mabul.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dennis W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mabul Backpackers

Property: Mabul Backpackers
Address: 1 Jalan Custom, Pulau Mabul 91307, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Pulau Mabul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Newly built Mabul water longhouse. Clean, smart and comfortable, it is located in a quiet and beautiful part of Mabul Island. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Mabul Backpackers Hotel Pulau Mabul

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