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“One of the best places in Borneo”

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Singamata Adventures Semporna
Certificate of Excellence
Groningen, The Netherlands
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“One of the best places in Borneo”
Reviewed February 5, 2011

We booked a PADI Open Water Diver course here for 3 days. The price they charge is very good compared to other agencies.
The accommodation lays just a few kilometres from Semporna and is absolutely beautiful! The rooms (we had a twin sharing room) are small but comfortable. The showers only have cold water, but who needs hot water when it is over 30ºC and there is a really nice and warm sea in front of your room?
The diving was good, but visibility at the house reef is low (5m). If this is your first time diving this place is perfect, but I guess more experienced divers would rather stay at Mabul.
The food is average (simple buffet) but good enough after a day of diving.

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone!

The only deception was that we had to do the theory course of the diving in their office in Semporna, it would be much better if you could do this at the resort! Next time I would pay for the boatride instead of staying in Semporna (which is a dump!).

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jochem81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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131 reviews from our community

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Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
69 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 252 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2011

We stayed out at Singamata for 4 days/4 nights in Nov 2010, and dove with Sipidan Scuba (3 days, 2 days at Sipidan).

The biggest negative for us was the boat schedule… We were willing to pay to get to town at other times, but it was not permitted although there are plenty of staff and boats around. As other reviewers have noted, boats only run at 06:30am, 11:00am, and 17:30pm. This inflexibility keeps a good place from being "great".

The first day we arrived from the airport in the early afternoon around 1pm and did some interesting haggling with the rickety boats parked behind the market to take us out to Singamata ("water taxis").

Our first day we snorkeled in the aquarium (I think $5 each?) and did a night dive on the house reef. It was a great place for a night dive – easy, and so close to a shower and dinner! Not the best vis, but that doesn’t matter on a muck night dive, so it was a good start to the trip. I ended up having a problem with my Air2 device and borrowed a reg from them – decent equipment, too.

On subsequent days we took the 06:30 am boat into town to dive with Sipidan Scuba, returning on the 17:30 pm boat.

We had a room with a double bed, and bathroom with toilet and shower (not heated). We were in an end unit, and there was always a nice breeze as we had windows on 3 sides. the room was quite small, but there was a picnic table and chair outside each of the double rooms.

The sunsets were spectacular, and it was nice to swim under the stars next to our room. The food wasn’t bad, either.

There were only a few other visitors while we were there, and quite peaceful, but the walls are thin and I think too many visitors could ruin the tranquility of the place.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank AL-the-squid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
singapore
1 review
Reviewed November 28, 2010

We stayed in Singamata for 5 nights and loved the good facilities of Singamata. Service and food by the staff is good. I think it is a great place to stay but our holiday is marred by the autocratic manageress whose typical reply in any negotiations is emphatic "no" and who treated her customers like the way she treated her staff - authoritarian.

I would stay in Singamata but book my diving trips with operators from mainland as they do not lead groups to Sipadan - only other islands. We paid for 14 people 6 months in advance to go Sipadan only to be told when we arrived that we have only 10 places. And the 10 people are broken up into 3 groups with different dive operators - what a dissappointment.

Other than that, the place is good place to stay and the service and diving instructors/masters are nice.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank bluemarlinsg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexharker, Guest Relations Manager at Singamata Adventures Semporna, responded to this review, September 9, 2011
Hello there, the issue of Sipadan is one that comes up again and again. There are only a small number of dive permits (aprox 120) for the island each day. These are shared between operators who have been established longer than us. This may have accounted for why your group had to be split up as there might not have been enough passes at any one operator. we do our best to fit in with our guests requests so we are sorry that we could not do that this time.

Although we don't visit Sipadan we do visit 7 or 8 other amazing islands and most of the time our divers have the place to themselves. Sipadan is amazing but do have to share it with lots of other divers. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
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Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2010

We've been to Sabah twice from South Africa to dive Sipadan, and we always keep going back to Singamata. It's idyllic staying out at sea over a coral reef (even if it is not the most spectacular reef in the world). I think it's a fabulous alternative to staying in the squalor of Semporna or the busy, commercialised Mabul.
Yes, the accommodation is basic, the food is not the greatest, but the setting is stunning, and look at the price! Its a real bargain. Those sunsets are priceless.

A word of advice to divers heading to Sipadan:
1. Stay at Singamata.
2. Do a few of the local island dives with them - we had better dives with them at Mantabuan than even with Scuba Junkie (they know the area well)
3. Do your Sipadan dives with Scuba Junkie/Sipadan scuba. They are based right at the launch site of the Singamata boat, and there is an early morning boat that will drop you on the mainland every day (so you can dive with other companies and still stay at Singamata.) Singamata can NOT get Sipadan permits at this stage.
4. If you want to visit further islands like Mataking and Boheyan then dive with Scuba Junkies - they offer daily trips here (Singamata does the closer islands mainly - Sibuan, Maiga, Mantabuan). They are very proffesional but their accommodation is awful to say the least.

Greetings from South Africa:-)

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MJvonH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2010

If water villages are too expensive for you try Singamata. Not as luxurious as others but you will find it luxurious once you get there. If you not planning on scuba diving or just relaxing there is no need to stay more than 2 days as all you can really do is walk around the lodge or go snorkeling or pile up on the suntan. Takes about 20 min on the boat to get to the mainland and boat leaves only twice a day and if you need to do an extra trip to the mainland it will cost you quite a lot. Make sure you stock up on your favorite snacks as there are no shops at all! They sell water, soft drinks and beer (cheap).Excellent diving instructors.Also don't miss out on a trip to Sibuan Island while your stay at Singamata, heaven on earth..........not including very pour cleanliness of villagers.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank DedenyShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Golden, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2010

Look elsewhere: Sipidan Scuba or Scuba Junkie. I sent an email at the start of April, asking about a multi-day stay in July (with lots of flexibility as to exact dates) including diving at Sipidan on one of the days. It took over 3 weeks and 17 emails for Vicky finally to say that they could not get me to Sipidan.
Once in Semporna, I dropped into the office. Lethargy everywhere. Need pliers to get a straight answer about what was available at what price for either accommodation or diving.
It's a bad sign when the website gives no specific schedules or prices. Check out Sipidan Scuba's website (and the TripAdvisor reviews). That's how to run a wbebsite: all specific information given upfront, allowing you to choose, confirm and finalize all arrangements on one visit to the website. None of this "tell us your needs, and we'll get back to you" nonsense.
Better to stay in Semporna (Seafest, if you are too old to handle dirty and loud dive hostels) and use one of the dive operators based there. The joys of Singamata's stilt operation seem rather minimal, and their administration flashes negative signals.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Traveller99ab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexharker, Guest Relations Manager at Singamata Adventures Semporna, responded to this review, September 9, 2011
Hi there, sorry for your experience, we have taken on board everything that you have said and we are in the process of updating our website and making everything we offer much clearer. We have improved our diving and which islands we go to so that we can give our guests more option. We have also changed and added to many of our staff to give a more professional experience.
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Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 23, 2010

4 dives + 1 night accommodation for only 300RM sounded like a deal that was too good to be true and indeed, it was a case of you-get-what-you-pay-for. 2 out of 4 dives were at the house reef; the visibility was terrible, there was so much sand and nothing much to see. You don't get to choose which island you want to dive at, they go by a fixed rotational system and tend to favour the nearer islands where aren't exactly spectacular. Singamata also currently does not have Sipadan permits, but that might change in the near future.

Overall, Singmata is a nice and rather charming place to stay, especially for holiday makers who want to get away from the squalor on the Semporna mainland. The owner Vicky is also very helpful, friendly and accommodating. Oh, there's also the much raved about 'aquarium' with big fishes inside, but would you really rather snorkel there than swim with sharks in Sipadan?

Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank squidyink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexharker, Guest Relations Manager at Singamata Adventures Semporna, responded to this review, September 9, 2011
Hi there, thank-you for your comments, we have looked at our dive operation and have increased the number of islands we visit and the options for guests to chose which island we go to visit. You are right we do not have access to any of the daily Sipadan passes, which is why we are now offering trips to some amazing islands that you will mostly have to yourself. Sipadan is great but it is full every day so you are sharing it with lots of divers.
You can also now dive in our aquarium, this will allow you to get within inches of very large fish that you won't she vanishing off into the distance. Sorry again that we were unable to help you this time, rest assured we are continually working our improving customers experience at Singamata.
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Additional Information about Singamata Adventures Semporna

Property: Singamata Adventures Semporna
Address: Jalan Kastam, Semporna 91308, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Semporna
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Semporna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort was established in 2007. Built over a beautiful coral reef, the resort offers both tranquility and adventure. It provides an ideal base, not only to divers and snorkelers but to anyone seeking an affordable and relaxing haven to unwind and escape from everyday stress. Being an authorized Padi 5-star resort, we are ideally equipped to offer a wide range of courses catering to different needs and budgets. Our experienced Padi instructors can help you achieve your goals. The resort offers three different room styles, all with ocean views. Plus, we have a a large buffet-style restaurant. We are the ideal choice not only for families and groups, but also for couples, backpackers and lone travellers. Our objective is to provide an excellent getaway… either on one of our brand new speedboats offering daily island trips for snorkeling and diving, or just a tranquil place to read a book on one of secluded sun-decks. We have great diving right off the site, plus we have a sea aquarium with some really large fish that you can swim around or even dive with. We also have free wi-fi for those wanting to stay in touch with the rest of the world, or perhaps show off your beautiful surroundings to envious work colleagues on facebook! Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort – an ideal retreat for divers, snorkelers, families and friends. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Singamata Adventures Semporna Hotel Semporna

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