We stayed here with the intention of doing some diving and snorkelling for a couple of days. By the end I could not wait to leave the place. The accommodation is pretty basic to say the least. The worst aspect for us was the mice and rats. We had mice in our rooms at night. The rooms have lots of little holes and crevices for them to enter. It seems this is normal/expected for Mabul homestays. One afternoon I also saw a fairly sizeable rat walk past the front door. The packages include meals (as do most of the other 'homestays' on Mabul) but don't expect much. The food is prepared at absolute minimal cost - a typical meal is a bowl of boiled rice and a fish head. If you stay here (and weigh more than 50kg) I would advise you to take some additional food, but seal it up properly so it doesn't attract mice/rats in your room.
As a general point the island of Mabul was a massive disappointment. Don't be fooled - this place is no tropical paradise. The first thing I noticed when arriving was the amount of rubbish including plastic bags, general waste and human excrement floating in the water around and directly underneath the homestays. This combined with the busy boat traffic there is no option for snorkelling near the island. You must take a boat out away from the traffic and filth.
If you want to dive Mabul and Sipadan then I would strongly recommend that you stay at a decent hotel in Semporna and enjoy the boat ride to the islands each day. Spend one day diving around each of the 3 islands and you'll have seen the best of what they have to offer. Alternatively, you could spend 2 days at Sipadan and skip the other two islands. Sipdan is what Mabul should be like - protected and unspoilt. To be honest, on leaving I felt some guilt for staying at Mabul and contributing (albeit in a small way) to its environmental problems.
Overall Seahorse Sipadan Scuba is probably quite a typical Mabul homestay but for us is was a bad experience and very overpriced for what it is. The experience tarnished our trip to the islands, but Sipadan made it just about worthwhile.
One last tip, make sure you are absolutely clear on exactly what you're paying for and how much before going - have written evidence (emails etc).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Seahorse Sipadan Scuba offers from Budget to Luxury Scuba Diving Accommodation, PADI Dive Courses, Snorkeling & Island Hopping to Paradise Islands of Semporna Like " Sipadan Island " The world most Famous dive destination.Facilities :* Airport Transfer* Room Services* Restaurant* Laundry Services* Dive & Snorkeling Equipment Rental* Broad band Internet connection* White sandy beach * Baby Sitter on request * Carbonated & Beer for sale* Souvenier shop.Note : All rooms are Sea View . ... more less
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