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Billabong Scuba Homestay
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Who's manning this outfit?”
Reviewed 23 April 2014

Pretty shoddy outfit, starting with a late start out of Semporna as only 1 woman was processing the paperwork of the group of 8 and soon followed by the driver of our boat grounding out in shallow water half way to Mabul. Once there, the basic rooms yes, are very basic and the shared bathroom would run out of water throuout the day but we also heard that even the rooms with attached bath often had problems with the water.
Yes, the diving was great and Rinto is their star, but he's soon off to Bali, then Papu New Guinea next year. The other dive instructors we met were new to Billabong & clearly there for the access to Sipadan. Not sure how they get so many permits but be forewarned that the equipment is not in the best of shape. A couple of seasoned divers had big problems on a night dive with their BCDs and mask.
The rest of the crew on the Mabul side seem to be running on routine & apathy. It is assumed a 330p boat back to Semporna always works for all and it took some time to get someone to respond and organize a boat in the morning so we could catch a flight back to KK. Kicker is, once that morning boat ride was organized with another outfit, they mixed up the time & they brought us to the other side of the island only to see the boat leaving. They did arrange another one and paid 3x more than it costs, but we missed transportation options in Semporna and had to hire a 90 minute taxi to Tawau.

Although the food was good - the atmosphere at other close by Homestays is a lot more interesting & diverse than the mainstay of Chinese groups that BB focuses on. Try Jeff's, Uncle Chang's or even Arung Hyat next door that has a better sunset view (as they actually block Billabong's view).

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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192 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Hangzhou, China
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2014

We'v been there for 5 days including an OW diving course and 10 dives. Being finished the training, they took us to the Sipadan island, what a wonderful experience in the world most famous diving site!

The place we lived in the Billabong Scuba is the best place which was just near the sea. Below the window it was the sea and one time when I open the window it dropped into the sea! Fortunately, it was intact! The shower was broken then and we didn't have hot water, so what! The staff was so nice and the food is wonderful.

The dive master and our diving instructor, I will say, are the best around the world! James, I own you a lot for your excellent patient teaching and showing us lots of tiny fishes when diving. And uncle Shaw, we love you and we will definitely go again to see you.

When I was about to sleep, I sometimes still remember the wonderful tale-like scene: in front of us was 270-degree clear blue sea and a bridge with beautiful curve and some girls setting there singing Malaysian folk music with guitar played by a boat captain in the sunset with cloud and rain from far way.

Room Tip: room to the end, near the outer sea, to the most west.
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Han Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaunas, Lithuania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2014

Billabong is the only company that can get you two days in Sipadan. I learned to dive here and the best thing was my diving instructor Rinto, it only took me to get my open water diver certificate. If you are going to learn to dive pick Billabong and pick Rinto, because he is the best instructor.

Room Tip: Choose the room with the conditioner.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Ikod100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Uppsala, Uppsala Län, Sweden
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2014

I was diving with my friend with Billabong (because they were the only ones who could promise to take us to Sipadan for a reasonable accommodation price). We were somewhat suspicious because of the bad reviews they had gotten here, but I couldn't disagree more with them! I did 10 dives with them and all of them were great. Our dive guides Rinto and Otto were awesome! My friend took her OW course with Luzia and she was a really good and professional instructor. They all were friendly and helpful!

We took a chalet which was more expensive than the other rooms, because we wanted aircon and hot shower. The room was clean (no bugs or anything), aircon worked well, but the hot shower wasn't always working.

We would definitely recommend Billabong to people who want to dive Sipadan and Mabul!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tiina O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newcastle, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2014

Stayed here for 5 days and did approx 15 dives with Billabong including two whole days at the Sipadan. The accommodation is basic, but so too is the price. the quality of diving well and truly overshadowed the basic accom. Food is inclusive and is reasonably good.

The local sea gypsies sell fresh lobster and crab at the resort multiple times a day, its dirt cheap. As too is the cost to have them cooked by the resort staff.

Billabong is one of the few resorts on Mabul that has Sipadan day permits. The dive gear is reasonable quality and the instructors were top notch.

Unless you really, really dislike turtles, I would recommend this place.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank peefry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014 via mobile

I only dived with billabong because they had a last minute permit for sipadan andi said yes beforei knew it was with them. And I certainly reneged it.there areso many awful things to say about this shop I will just to put it in bullet point
- last minute change to an early morning dive without any notice leaving me having to traipse around the island to inform my buddies
- no greeting when we arrived in the morning, we had to sort out our own gear and only saw our dm when the boat was about to leave
- I knew their gear was crap so I brought mine from another dive shop, my buddy had a broken depth gauge
- dm were useless at finding anything and somehow managed to make one of the worlds best dive sites boring, on the first dive they kept on going back and forwards indicating that there was current, leaving all of us in the water wondering what the heck they were going on about as it was not a strong current
- dm's ignored us completely during the surface interval, Vanessa seemed more interested in her phone
- most seriously, on the last surface interval I had an argument with Otto becuase he wanted to get in the water but my computer was indicating i needed more surface interval due to previous dives. He actually shouted at me " you divemaster, you should know, 45min to one hour thrn you can get back in". He tried to convince me my computer was broken. He then proceeded to spend most of the third dive at deeper than 30 metres which was way below us. This behaviour is dangerous and take this supposed dive opersation from one that is merely bad with customer service and gives you an unpleasant diving experience to a shop that is dangerous.
Dive with them at your own risk but I wouldnt dive with them again if you paid me to.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
7 Thank Gabrielle W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan, Italy
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2014

Billabong is a very beautiful place but you have to be prepared to this experience before going. If you have booked a basic room you won't have your private bathroom and you won't ask hot water in the shower. At first it could seem strange but when you will arrive you will understand that you don't really need a private bathroom and hot water. You'll smile to the gipsy sea children who live in small ships under the buildings and you'll realize how much stupid you were asking hot water! Mabul is a really magic place, you must go walking in the village smiling to people and taking them pictures, they will thank you! The staff of billabong is amazing, il keep them in my heart for ever!
The diving is great and well organized.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Cristina N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Billabong Scuba Homestay

Property: Billabong Scuba Homestay
Address: Lot 28, 1st floor, block E, Seafront, Pulau Mabul, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Billabong Scuba Hotel Pulau Mabul

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