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Seahorse Sipadan Scuba Lodge
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Reviews (65)
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All reviewsdive sitesgreat atmoshereluxurious staymabul islandhigh tideup to datestayed here for nightsuncle changcheap pricerooms are cleanbasic roommarine lifebenelectricitysnorkelturtlestrips
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46 - 51 of 65 reviews
Reviewed September 22, 2013

As a single traveller I was trying to work out where to book for diving on Mabul. I decided that high end resorts might be socially isolating and I did not want to stay at a backpackers. Staying at Seahorse Sipadan proved to be a perfect option. The diving was great and the instructors gave very good personal attention. The ratio of divers to instructors was also comforting.

The place is very social with a good multi-cultural mix of staff and guests. The rooms are not flash but I was not expecting them to be for the price. They were however clean. The ones at the front closer to the water are the better ones. The only downside for my one, which was closer to the eating area, was I could hear a bit of late night noise from tv or people talking.

The food was better than I had expected and I really enjoyed it. At one stage the kitchen staff had thought I had missed lunch and provided me with a selection of food upon my return to the lodge.

I also liked the fact that the local people live just behind the lodge. I found them very friendly and a few, who spoke English, were able to explain to me the social issues they face.

Overall I loved my stay and hope to be back one day.

Room Tip: Rooms at the front near the water are best. They consist of a double bed and a single bed so not sure how often they are allocated to single travellers. Another pointer. There are no ATMs on the island and you need to get cash in Semporna. I had difficulty with all the ATMs in Semporna and could not get cash (I was not the only traveller who has had this problem). You may want to make sure you have enough cash before you reach Semporna. Also I would try to avoid staying in Semporna if possible.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Rose O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Went there last June for a short holiday also our very first wedding anniversary.
Basic room with attached bathroom. Unlike other lodges in Mabul, Seah lover.orse Sipadan gave you more privacy. The view is great, we can see Sipadan Island from our deck. All of the staff are really nice and helpful. Had a memorable snorkelling sessions too. Food was okay. Over all, it must visit for all nature lover. It worth all of our money for this budget package.
Will return to Mabul again and definitely will stay at Seahorse. Thank you Kak Nor, Mani, Kevin, Boboi, Rusli and other staffs!

Love from,
Nafis & Illi
Shah Alam

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Illihzbull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2013

The rooms are basic however for the price, it is definitely worth it. The place has a big deck with a great view.We told the staff that the purpose of our snorkelling trips is to see turtles and they really brought us to the site in search of turtles and we saw what we were looking for . Besides that, we have a friend who cant swim , so the staff / snorkelling guides are kind enough to guide her during the entire snorkelling trip.Overall, it is has been an enjoyable stay ; for the price that we got we had Comfortable stay, decent food, nice staff and of course the stunning dive/ snorkelling site which they brought us to.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Francisca L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We booked Seahorse Sipadan Scuba from the mainland, Semporna, after going to a few of the dive centres that offered accommodation, this one stood out for value because we were only there for the snorkelling. We were on a backpacker budget, but we did spend more for Mabul because of the snorkelling activities we intended to do.

Their boat left at 8:30am from Semporna and we arrived 1 1/2 hours or so later. At that time the tide has started to go out and the scene on entering was picturesque, with stunning turquoise waters and greetings from very happy staff.

The price included full board; accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon snacks (around 3pm or 4pm for snacks) and unlimited tea, coffee and filtered water.

Rooms - We had opted for the 'deck room' as it was cheaper, but at the time Nor gave us the 'sea view' room for the same price as they weren't all occupied. All sea view rooms have 1 double bed and 1 single bed, an attached bathroom (wet room) with toilet and shower, along with an front and back balcony (see photos). We were in room number 4 and you could see the ocean when you were lying in bed, we were so pleased! The deck rooms don't have the view, but from what I could see of them, they seemed fine and had the basic set up as the sea view, but without the back balcony either. All rooms have a fan, but they don't start until the generator does at 6pm (see my tips for more info).

Food - Breakfast was served at 8am or 9am (can't remember) and it changed from western style to Malaysian. Lunch, served at 12pm, was rice with 2-3 kinds of dishes from fish, chicken and vegetables and sometimes fruit. Dinner, served at 7pm, similar to lunch but the dishes will unlikely ever be the same. The amount is plentiful, the variety is fantastic and the taste is superb. It's a shame about the 1 review they had on here about food, because they certainly have changed their standards since then. You'll never go hungry and you'll absolutely love the flavours. If you have allergies or dislikes to particular foods, try and make sure you tell Nor or the staff prior to arriving on the island, as all their food is ferried to and from the mainland.

Snorkelling - We rented the snorkel, mask and fins from here, but we also did 2 boat trips out to other reefs, which then negated the daily rental fee and only paid for the boat trips. On Mabul, the best areas to DIY snorkel is out the front of the resorts and went to all of them via entering from 'Scuba Junkies' jetty. You're not allowed to use the jetties of any resort unless you're staying there, so read my tips on how you can get around this. The boat trips were to Kapalai island and the outer reef on Mabul, starting at Lobster's Wall. Mabul has one of the best exotic marine life in the world and you'll see things like, cuttlefish, rays, thousands of various small fish, barracudas, eels, various fish (parrot, angel, tiger, clown, cow and more but I'm still learning what they are), sea snakes, green and hawkesbill turtles. We stayed for 6 nights and went out every day either in Mabul or the boat trips out and saw something new and interesting each time.

Common Area - There are long tables and chairs that are undercover or you can sit out on deck chairs in the sun or even splay yourself out on the actual deck and enjoy the view.

Staff - They were also a highlight of our stay, all the dive instructors and masters (Money, Kevin, Nora, Ben) and the rest, were so fantastic, fun, entertaining and they even help me organise my husband's surprise party for his 30th. Nora came back from the mainland with a birthday cake and decorations, whilst Ben played the guitar to the tune of 'Happy Birthday'. If you have any issues, with your accommodation, food or even equipment, they will bend over backwards to correct the issue and make sure you're happy. They're a fantastic crew, every single one.

Sadly, you will notice rubbish and human excrement now and again, but it's a problem of the island and from what I understand, the government maybe doing something about it, but perhaps not in the near future. So most toilets will flush directly into the sea, the resorts apparently have they're own system, but I was told they also take it out so far and dump in the middle of the ocean, who knows what's true. It's best to watch the currents if you're snorkelling out the front of Seahorse and go at high tides. It's generally clean out the front of Seahorse, but unfortunately when you walk through the back there's a lot of rubbish washed up on shore. It's a problem, but I'm rating cleanliness as 5 for Seahorse Sipadan Scuba, not the issue with the island.

Lastly, the cat, who Nora calls, Mummy, is their house cat. It's an excellent hunter and at the time was pregnant. She's adorable and we let her in our room when we were about, but keep your bathroom door closed as she's been toilet trained to do her business in there. She may jump up on the seat when you're having a meal, all because she wants part of it. She's harmless and loves being stroked.

Room Tip: Booking - Email Nor or visit the office and discuss what options they have, you can even negotiate rates depending on your bargaining skills and length of time and activities you want to do on the island. Snorkelling - For snorkelling out the front of the home stay, I recommend doing it at high tide later in the day (before sunset), loads of eels. For snorkelling access to the other areas, walk to Scuba Junkie resort (ask the staff of Seahorse the way, which should take you through the village and then a field), you'll arrive at a beach, that's where Scuba Junkie is. You can swim straight out (if tide isn't too low, otherwise be careful of rocks and coral), or you if you're brave, go off their jetty. Act like you're staying and if asked, tell them you're staying at SMART (which is another resort). They seem to allow you to use their jetty if you're staying at a resort but not any of the budget places. You can then just swim around the roped area within their jetty or swim left to the other jetty (where we saw a cuttlefish) and other interesting fish. If swimming out to the right from Scuba Junkie is another resort, you can actually swim all the way into their area of the resort that is built on stilts. Don't worry, no resort owns the water! If in doubt, see if Kevin, Nora or Money want to join you to, 'skin dive' (holding your breath under water), they'll even show you some interesting marine life that you're unlikely to see yourself (like the transparent fish!). Boats - When snorkelling or skin diving, always, always look out (up) for boats before surfacing. Be aware of where the thoroughfares are and if you can, snorkel with another person, rather than on your own, so that you can take turns to skin dive if you find something interesting, while the other watches out for boats. There are plenty of roped areas in front of the jetties of the resorts, so no boats will go in them. If in trouble, just raise your arm up and any nearby boat will come to your rescue. Equipment - We found out afterwards that you can hire their underwater camera, which we wish we knew beforehand, as we would have taken it, especially knowing what we saw. So bring a waterproof camera or hire theirs. Rooms - Number 2 and 4 will allow you to see the sea while lying in bed. All rooms have a fan. Power - Generator kicks on from 6pm and runs until 6am. Fun - They all love to sing and have a book of songs with lyrics. Ben is the better guitarist of them all (so I was told), but they all don't do too badly on the guitar. Cleaning - They don't clean your room, however just ask them and I'm sure they will.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank thejordans2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

Got a big big deck to hangout after snorkel.
My room is basic only. But who cares? I go there purposely to enjoy snorkeling. :p
Although it doesn't support 24 hours electricity, but i do enjoy my holiday day and night.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Nexus_Fms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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