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Reviewed 3 August 2017 via mobile

Heading across to Mabul from Tawau airport was smooth. We did arrive a little late, for which they had to hold the boat for us, but in our defence we had to change money as it isn't really an option on Mabul. My advice would be if you're cutting the travel time to Semporna tight, change your cash before arriving at Tawau.

The accommodation is reasonable and ours was airconditioned. The common rooms are quite picturesque and are designed to accommodate large numbers of divers with the food being reminiscent of a midpriced hotel buffet.

If you are just learning to dive or thinking about becoming a professional, then Scuba Junkies is possibly for you. The resort is designed for all levels of dive education. In this respect Scuba Junkies Mabul does have a bit of a PADI conveyer belt type feel to it.

The dive operation is a well oiled machine which is run amazingly considering the number of divers heading out every morning.

As expected with so many novice divers hitting the water, the sites themselves look a little tied, and in some cases they are completely over run with plastic bottles and food packaging.

As I've already mentioned, the operation is run very efficiently but unless you're diving with your own group of friends, you tend to get put on different boats with different divers everyday. Because of this, unlike in smaller resort's, you don't make those connections with your guides or other divers easily. This of course has a knock on effect at lunch and dinner where people usually sit separately from one another, each group keeping within their own clique.

In saying this, I did find the staff incredibly helpful and the dive guides fun and approachable.

There are a handful of sites with coral life around the Island, but the real reason for diving here is to get out to Sipadan.

Sipadan is great, nearly all the dives rate between 4-5 stars. Having dived the coral triangle for the past 4 years I'm not certain Barracuda Point is the top dive site in the world, but it's up there with the best and it's definatly one of the more accessible sites if you're a novice diver or you're diving on a tight budget.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with friends
4  Thank WestonTH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2017

We had a great time at SJ Mabul although in retrospect we could have cut our stay short by a day - making it five days - giving us plenty of time for our AOW and Sipadan. There's nothing really to do on Mabul apart from diving and once you've been to Sipadan its just more muck diving. Visibility and coral are both poor overall in Mabul and Kipalai. Having said that, we saw absolutely amazing marine life in Mabul itself. My most memorable experiences were the dozens of relaxed turtles we saw cruising lazily past us (and one group mating!) and the large schools of Long-jawed Mackerel we saw several times, racing back and forth.
As for the resort itself, it is very well run. Our room was a bit dark but there was seating and a salty hammock on the deck.The large open bar area upstairs is a nice space to hang out. Food was tasty - we are vegetarians and we got heaps of veggies and fruit and were very grateful for that.
All in all, well worth going.
Just a side note, Semporna and Mabul shorelines are both clogged up with plastic bags. It really brings home to you the madness of our reliance on plastic.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank silica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2017 via mobile

We did a 4 day diving package here and generally had a very good experience. The quality of diving around Mabul and Kapalai was variable, but Sipadan was predictably amazing and we appreciated that we got 4 dives there as compared to 3 with many other companies.

The Malaysian dive guides were terrific. Some of the Western guides were very good as well, but there did seem to be a noisy, obnoxious adolescent culture amongst some of them which was offputting at times - we felt like we were intruding on their summer camp experience.

Our room was clean and comfortable, but the furnishings are basic - this experience is about diving, not luxury lodging. Similarly, the food was filling but basic.

The staff here do a great job of organizing a large number of divers and snorkelers each day and making sure everyone is where they're meant to be. Safety was very well attended to throughout our experience. Overall, this seems to be a well-run operation.

Stayed: June 2017, travelled with friends
2  Thank hbinnz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2017 via mobile

Can leave nothing other than a RAVING review for Mabul Beach Resort. Scuba Junkie's organisation and professionalism is outstanding.

Before travelling to Mabul to complete my PADI OWC, I was extremely anxious. Anxious about the diving. Anxious about the island. Anxious about the food. I had no need to be worried about anything at all.

The Diving - Scuba Junkie are very health and safety conscious. During our 5D/4N package, I completed 12 dives and not once did I feel unsafe or like the guide could be doing a better job. I was really impressed by the number of instructors that they had and the fact that divers were always kept in small groups. When my boyfriend was clearly getting to grips with diving faster than me, Scuba Junkie were flexible, encouraging and supportive. They gave me my own instructor for a couple of days and I worked through the OWC at my own pace. Have to give a HUGE shout out to Faza, who had the patience of a saint with me at times. Even in the most frustrating of moments, Faza and I could laugh together and he would always encourage me to try again and suggest breaks when they were clearly needed. Also have to give a big mention to Dan (my initial instructor), who was always checking in on how I was getting on, offering advice or collecting cold water in his cap to keep my feet cool on the jetty. Every member of staff that I came in to contact with delivered the same standard of care. I ended my stay with a day of diving at Sipadan. This was one of the best experiences of my life. Book well in advance.

The Island - I found Mabul to be a charming island and was genuinely sad to leave it. In the few days we spent there it really began to feel like home. The resort is very well kept and a really comfortable and relaxed place to be. You do need to be aware of the fact that the island is also home to a sea gypsy village and there is pollution on the island (Scuba Junkie's beach is always clean and ready to be enjoyed by their guests). I personally found the whole set up fascinating and was really interested in learning about how Scuba Junkie are working with their neighbours in order to educate them about the importance of protecting the environment. I got my laundry done in the village for a very reasonable price and found the villagers to be very welcoming.

The Food - All members of our party found the food to be tasty and varied. There was always something to tickle your fancy during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our favourite meal was Penang Beef Curry. We all enjoyed the 11am cake break each day and the water, juice and hot drinks that were on offer 24/7. If you were hungry for a snack then Scuba Junkie's shop would be able to provide. An instructor also tipped us off about a scrummy ice cream parlour at a neighbouring resort. There were plenty of options and we were always satisfied.

The few days we had at MBR were special and we met all sorts of people and did some incredible diving. My brother did 2 days of Discover Scuba and thoroughly enjoyed himself as well. I will be recommending MBR and Scuba Junkie to others and look forward to diving with them again one day.

We miss you Mabul!

Stayed: July 2017, travelled with friends
1  Thank BexLondon86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2017 via mobile

Nice place, cheap if compared to the other fancy resorts around. Staff is nice, especially divemasters and instructors. Food is good but a little repetitive, there's a very good vibe so it's a good place if you're travelling alone. Dorms are spacious, but unfortunately I found bedbugs in my bed.

Stayed: July 2017, travelled solo
2  Thank Alberto M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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