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“Exceeded our expectations by far”

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Seaventures Dive Rig
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Exceeded our expectations by far”
Reviewed July 6, 2013

We decided to stay at two different resorts. Three nights at the Seaventures Dive Rig, which surpassed all of our expectation and five nights at the disappointing Sipadan Water Village resort (SWV). We wrote up more at http://mnm.at.

All the information on the Seaventures web site sets a clear picture and we expected great diving but nothing more.
Instead we were surprised by great food, friendly and professional staff and a friendly environment.

The rooms are small but clean and functional, the organisation both for the dives and the resort was excellent. All the dive masters and boat men were very dedicated. There was food, coffee, water and tea throughout the day.

The diving under the rig was very nice and the elevator down into the water never got boring and was great fun.
As very small example about the kind of service you can expect is that you simply walk to the elevator whenever you feel like going for a dive and there is always someone to operate the elevator for you. And when you finish your dive, the elevator will be waiting for you.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mnm_travelling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
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  • French first
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English first
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

We booked to go to Seaventures as a four, but a couple of weeks before we were due to leave one of our friends lost his passport. Due to other commitments we couldn't agree on a second time that we could all go. So instead of a four, Seaventures were good enough to let us come as two groups of two (at different times).

This did lead to one organisational hiccup, as we were quite late on advising them whether we would stay the night before our tour in Tawau or Semporna. We mailed them three days before and advised them we'd like to stay in Tawau and that they should pick us up from our hotel in the morning, but when we came out of the airport there was a seaventures van waiting for us. When we spoke on the phone to the office manager she told us that there was no other van planned in the morning and that we had to come to Semporna now. Having already pre-paid our Tawau hotel we weren't too happy with that. After some fairly "spirited" negotiation Seaventures agreed to come and pick us up from our hotel in Tawau in the morning, and they were even kind enough to take us into Tawau from the airport.

Once our tour on the rig started, everything went smoothly and we had a great experience. The diving is a very slick operation, our dive instructor Mando was amazing (he's a real character, the entertainer of the rig) and of course the sea life was incredible. Sipidan surpassed my (high) expectations. The best way I can describe it is like a highlights package of all the other diving I've done - there's always something fascinating to look at, and at times I felt like I was missing out because one creature would distract me from the next! The flamboyant cuttlefish and all the giant turtles were my favourites, but there were a huge number of high points to choose from.

One thing I hadn't quite understood from the info I got from Seaventures, was that on your Sipidan day, you get to do three dives in the morning, then you come back to the rig for lunch. After lunch, you get the option to go back and do two more Sipidan dives (it costs extra) - minimum three people, and the price per person goes down as you have more, up to the max. 11. Our entire boat of 11 came back for the afternoon dives, we really enjoyed being able to cram in as much as we could (but boy did we sleep well that night).

The food on the rig was delicious (plenty of options even for vegetarians and those who don't love fish). The rooms and facilities pretty basic but certainly good enough for me. Overall, I would definitely recommend Seaventures.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gkee42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2013 via mobile

Seaventures is the place for real hardcore divers. Don't come here expecting five star rooms. But come here expecting a diver's crib with lots of social and mingling with other divers, rig crews and even the rig boss in the dining area. The amiable and amicable Seaventures Rig Crew go all the way out to provide the best hospitality possible. The rooms are simple but comfortable. The food are great, a dive resort seldom comes with such great food.

Seaventures Dive Resort is a rig platform situated about 500m off the coast of Mabul Island. Under the dive rig boosts a rich biodiversity of aquatic life. The pygmy seahorse is said to be found on the dive sites under the rig, but it eluded us with our several attempt in searching for it. (Several of the divers I met on the rig found the Pygmy seahorse under the rig.)

The diving amenities are the best we've seen. Our dive masters Mijie and Jacky are enthusiastic and energetic people. They are good at pointing out aquatic lives in our Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai dives. They are also very observant in caring for our safety. The dives in Sipadan island was AMAZING! Green Sea Turtles, Whitetip Sharks and Blacktip Sharks are everywhere. The schooling of Barracudas and Jack Fish are legendary. Barracuda Point Dive Site is a must-go dive site. In between every Sipadan dive, the bubbly and cheerful Najim will be waiting on the shore with breakfast and tea.

Our entire trip experience was almost spoilt by one person, Dive instructor Tikka. On our 2nd dive trip to Sipadan, we wanted to full utilized our Sipadan permit for the day. Me and my brother and a French gentleman wanted to extend two more dive trips to Sipadan on top of our three dives for the day. We met the minimum 3 person requirement for the trip to happen. Yet she (being the most senior staff around) refused us our two additional dives on the reason that the dive masters were tired and overworked. So we tolerated and relented on our decision to go for the additional two dives. We guess that she might be reluctant to bring us to Sipadan as we just met the minimum requirement.

On our day of departure, I asked the rig crews for permission to stop at Mabul island for 5 minutes to get some souvenirs and they were going to drop off another guest on the island. The rig crews said it is okay as long as I have gotten all other 12 guests permission. And I did get all 12 guests' permission. Tikka was the last minute addition back to Semporna. And she refused to allow me the five minutes to get my souvenir on the reason "I am rushing for time." We tolerated on the diving trip that you can't add for us, can't you at least tolerant with your guests for 5 minutes? She even said, "You should have gotten your own boat back." when she was the last minute addition back to Semporna. She refused to let the boatman drop me off for 5 mins. :(

I find her behavior unacceptable and intolerant. Being a staff of the resort she should show more hospitality. Hospitality should not end the moment we step off the rig. It should go further than that. Tikka almost spoilt my entire experience and I did not get the souvenir I wanted. :( I am however glad that she wasn't my dive master and I would not take my chances with her appaling attitude.

I would not let one rotten apple undo the efforts of the entire rig crew and the rig boss in making my stay a pleasant one. So I still highly recommend Seaventures Dive Resort and give them five stars. Come here dive, eat and sleep. Happy Diving! :)

Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank Alaksander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013

I booked the 4 day 3 night package through Agoda and thought I had bagged a bargain. Instead it was a total nightmare. In short, do not book the Seaventures oil rig through Agoda. The 4 day 3 night package is not the same as the Seaventures website. If you book through Agoda there is a chance you will not get a permit for Sipadan. Seaventures gets 11 permits per day if they have 11 customers each day who booked direct through Seaventures then as an Agoda customer you will not get a permit. You only get a Sipadan permit if they do not have enough customers that booked direct through Seaventures.

My personal experience was made worse as I went into the office in Semporna before booking with Agoda, I asked specifically about diving Sipadan and I told them I was booking through Agoda and no one told me this policy. When I spoke to the manager on the rig about this his attitude was appalling. He was rude, lost his temper and got angry. Anyone working in customer service knows that this is the exact thing not to do when dealing with a customer complaint. He inflamed the situation instead of resolving it.

My Seaventures saga then continued when I was off the rig. It says an airport transfer is included on the Agoda website. In reality Seaventures will only fulfil this committment if there is more than one customer. They refused me an airport transfer on the day of my flight (the day after leaving the rig) as there were no other customers. Instead they dropped me in Tawau city on the day we left the rig and I had to get a taxi the next day to the airport a 25km journey at my own expense.

Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
18 Thank doooron d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wales, UK
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2013

This was my brother's second trip to Seaventures, for me a great experience waiting to happen.
All information we requested for booking this trip was provided, so there was nothing unexpected to pay for. They arranged our bus and boat transfers which ran like clockwork.
The rig accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable. The self service food very good, always choice and more than you could eat, with hot and cold drinks available all day.The crew even put on a BBQ and band night.
The rig crew were very friendly and helpful.The dive deck set up with individual storage boxes, hanging rails for suits, wash tanks for gear, showers and the lift down to the sea.
Our DM guide was fantastic adding his knowledge and passion to the excellent diving. Dives were sites around Sipadan (the rig having prearranged the permits), Mabul and Kapalai. The sea life is prolific, not just the big shark, barracuda, bumpheads, turtle etc but also the tiny fascinating critters,this is nudibranch heaven !
This is a converted jack up work barge, not a 5 star luxury hotel, but it is a great dive facility. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank linds m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2013

The rig itself is an experience. Not luxury and badly in need of renovation, but food is good and plentiful (as long as you like rice, fish and chicken + something green), the staff are awesome....friendly and helpful. It is a diver`s place....it`s actually diver`s heaven If you don`t dive, you`d be crazy to come here. The dive sites are incredible and the rig is well set up to cater to making the diver`s life easy....in the water....out of water....in water...out of....etc.

Our group ran them out of Nitrox after 1.5 days (!!!)...which was a bummer as it cut down on bottom time...but, diving was still good. They get a disproportionate number of Sipidan Permits, so you can maximise diving Sipidan (go to Barracuda Point....DEFINITELY THE dive site).

Rooms are adequate with aircon and (often hot) showers (air con is NOISY and will occasionally give you a refreshing shower in the middle of the night). Two of our group changed rooms as aircon stopped (no gas to refill...like I said, not luxury).

This was my second trip back here......I love this place.

Room Tip: Choose !....HA !......I`ll repeat myself..... NOT LUXURY.,.....
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Berrymanl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walnut Creek, CA
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Just returned from 6 glorious nights out on the Seaventures Rig and could not be more pleased with the magic of the experience. Located majestically like a small village above the sea it is thankfully removed from the third world smell, accumulated debri, sand fleas and clutter of Mabul.

We were there for five (5) full days and by the pure luck of the draw we got in 3 dives each of the 5 days at Sipadan. The resort had a large number of check outs the day we arrived and no big parties checking in during our stay so we were fortunate to enjoy one of their coveted Sipadan passes each day. How lucky is that? All 15 dives some to the same location were unique, breathtaking and spectacular. The set up could not be easier....grab your wet suit, mask, weight belt, fins and hop on an elevator to your boat to Sipadan. We also enjoyed the diving off the rig...the elevator drops you off and picks you up in waste high water! as well as a muck dive at Mabul. The food was consistently very good with something for every taste at every meal. I own a restaurant in the San Francisco Bay area and good, safe, tasty food was important to me...that is exactly what I received every meal, every day.

If you are debating between Seaventures and a Mabul resort don't think twice, book Seaventures. They even take you to Mabul, if you want for 1 1/2 hours every late afternoon. We went several times and enjoyed the exposure to Mabul and were thankful to return to our rig. It was amusing to see boatloads of up to 20 diver/snorkelers being dropped off to dive under the Seaventures Rig (where you have unlimited free diving) as their destination "reef" while all those with Seaventures were going to Sipadan instead.

There are many reviews about the size and dated aspect of the rooms. I read those reviews before I left so a spent a few dollars more and booked the VIP 1 Room. It was nicely appointed, the size of over 3 regular rooms, had 3 great windows over looking the sun deck and ocean, was private, great sized bathroom, icy air conditioning, quiet and a wonderful escape after a long fun filled day. You are on vacation!!! You want to have a great time! You have spend a lot of $$$ to get there. Don't be cheap and go VIP...you will thank me...trust me.

The staff was helpful, efficient and somewhat detached during much of our week because the guest count was unusually low. Everyone spoke English well, except for most of the guests who were mainly from China, Singapore or Hong Kong. If you want to maximize your experience and Sipadan exposure choose Seaventures.

Room Tip: Live it up...spend a few more bucks for a VIP room, you will be glad that you did. No one ever regr...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank unpre10ous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Seaventures Dive Rig

Property: Seaventures Dive Rig
Address: | off Mabul Island, Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Seaventures Dive Rig is a scuba diving platform located within Mabul Island, some 30 minutes boat ride to Sipadan Malaysia. Sipadan Island is known as the world's scuba diving mecca. This rustic dive resort package includes diving around Mabul island, Kapalai and Sipadan Island. All rooms are fully air conditioned, Wi-FI is available at free of charge and food are served buffet-style. The unlimited diving on the Rig's house-reef is popular as it is home to some diverse underwater life. Seaventures Dive Rig is a PADI 5-Star Dive Centre offering Scuba Diving courses for beginners to professional. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Seaventures Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan

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