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).
- Also Known As:
- Billabong Scuba Hotel Pulau Mabul