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“Bed bugs, not willing to help, dangerous dive master”

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Billabong Scuba Homestay
Reviewed 4 August 2014 via mobile

English:

Rooms:
We stayed 8nights there and we got bed bugs. We had to almost fight to get another room without bed bugs and to get a small discount at the end.

Food: fruits only 2times during our stay. No bread half of the times, when we ask the staff, we got always the same answer "Finish!" which seems incredible at 7:30 AM for breakfast.
There was a vegeterian tourist there, poor guy he had to say 'please buy some bread, I'll pay for it' to get bread some mornings.
No water or no cup every 2days already at 7:30 AM. Each time we had to ask the staff few times to get watter/cup.


Diving: the first day they forgot us on the jetty. After 10 min someone called them and they came back.
The second dive, we lost the 2dive masters. They were the first ones on the boat, not taking care of the 4tourists still diving which luckylly found the boat and finished the diving without any issue.

The island: Mabul island should be called garbage island. It´s really awfull all the plastic bags you see under watter/ on the beach. The staff from billabong is not ecofriendly at all, no ashtray, cigaretts and plastic straws are going directly in the sea.

  • Stayed: July 2014
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1  Thank Mido1w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 July 2014

We stayed at Billabong Scuba for 3 nights. This was the only accommodation were we could stay 3 nights and have one day of diving at Sipadan.
The room/little house above the water where we stay was basic. We had AC and a fan and a very basic bathroom, but it was okay. During our stay we were the only western people, the other divers were Chinese. The food was okay, maybe some more toppings for bread would made it better.
As a beginner diver 20-30 dives, diving at Mabul was okay. The visibility was not that good, but we saw of course sea turtles, nudibranches, school of jack fish, lion fish, frogfish, clown fish etc.
The dives at Sipadan were better, although visibility was not 25-50m. We saw school of Humphead (Napoleon) wrasse, school of barracudas, school of jack fish with reef sharks around it and us in the middle and green sea turtles everywhere. It was very beautiful.
It a shame that there is so many plastic and other garbage in the water at Mabul Island. Mabul island is a nesting beach for sea turtles, but first they have to conquer meters of plastic near the shore!!! I don't understand people from the resorts clean those beaches. Or at least let the population clean it for a couple of dollars/euros/ringits. We saw tourists swimming/snorkeling, but first they had to pass the plastic barrier, just unreal!

Room Tip: They are building new accommodation, perhaps in a couples of weeks/months you can stay in there. The...
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mel3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

All people there are divers who want to enjoy Sipadan beauty. The staff is friendly, helpful and divemasters are excellent. Rooms are basic, but clean. Keep in mind that it is a cheap option: shared bathrooms are really basic, and there is no Wi-Fi. But again, divemasters are really knowledgeable and helpful.
But diving equipement is good and you can rent waterproof camera. Plus the food is good and in good quantity which is perfect after a dive. You can buy and then cook some seafood to the fishers around.
It is really better to stay in Mabul than in Semporna since Sipadan is at least one hour away from the Semporna.
Book in advance, espacially if you want a permit to Sipadan, and then enjoy. We also enjoy Open Water Course: Lucia is an excellent, funny and patient professor.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Mikaket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2014 via mobile

It's a comfortable stay after a whole day of diving activity. People at the resort are very friendly and helpful.
Food's good as compared to the other dive resorts there. Price is cheap. Good dive. Credit to Wong, James, Amanda, Husin and the rest of the boatman there. Equipments' good. I like my visit and I would come again.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
Thank Shasha A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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3  Thank Jessica L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Han Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank Ikod100
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

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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