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“Great diving experiences and staff services”

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Borneo Divers Mabul Resort
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 10 June 2013 via mobile

We went as a group of 15 divers and had stayed there for 6 days /5 nights.

As a group, we enjoyed the dives and stay tremendously and were very sad when we had to leave.

Accommodation - the room was basic but clean. The bathroom was only ok and the water did smell a bit. However, it was still bearable for us. There was heater and the water pressure was strong enough.

Food - food was good overall. there is a good variety of food from western, chinese to malay food. The food was not spicy or hot. They offered bbq once a while and the sataty were particularly tasty. Only problem is that the smoke from the bbq got into the dining area and it can become rather smoky and hot there. What i like most is that they offered heated food when we were at Sipadan island. Only thing for improvement is that sometimes the breakfast items can be a bit oily.

Dives - Excellent dive masters and boatmen. Very experienced and knew exactly where to find the small and big fishes. i would definitely recommend Madil and Steven to be your dive masters. Also, we would recommend to have at least 2 days dive in Sipadan island.

Facilities - there is a swimming pool but we never use it. Why bother if there is a nice house reef just at the jetty. The house jetty was nice and they serve drinks and snacks, so that you can chillout there.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank Abikoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 May 2013

I can't say enough about this place. It is not fancy, but has lots of charm and intimacy. The rooms are basic, but CLEAN and comfortable. Everyone who works there couldn't be nicer, always smiling and kind. They give you everything you need for comfort including their amazing Sabah coffee. The meals were plentiful and good, lots of choices and it was clean, fresh and good. The dive operation is FIRST CLASS. I can't say enough about our dive masters, Lilihana and Roy, THE BEST! The crew helping you (especially Iman), with your equipment were so helpful and kind, including William and Narfez as wonderful boat captains. They definitely helped me alot and beyond the call of duty. They pretty much do everything for you, you just need to get on the boat. I booked through Asia Diving Vacation and they were fantastic in guiding me where to stay and pretty much spelling out everything I would expect. The diving in Sipadan is the best in the world,
and they made sure we had fantastic dives. I hope to return one day and grateful that I made it there.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same, basic, yet charming and comfortable
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled solo
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2  Thank Melissa K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2013

We booked Borneo Divers Mabul resort via Asia Diving Vacation. Our liaison person was Serena. She was fantastic! We selected our resort mainly based on price but also on recommendation from a fellow diver. We read several reviews on Trip Advisor in June and July 2012. I have to say that I was a little concerned as there was a common theme of poor food and rooms, but we were after all, going for diving, not a resort stay.

There was a major security issue in Eastern Sabah involving the Malaysian military taking action against a large group of insurgents (terrorists) a few weeks before we due to depart. The Australian Government issued a Do Not Travel alert to the area and specifically Semporna and the dive islands and we thought our trip was up in smoke. Serena was instrumental in keeping us well informed on an almost weekly basis via links to the Sabah Tourist Board website and other sources. We felt that the situation was more secure than our Government and other Western Governments were admitting to. Despite still having some concerns we decided to go. Smart choice!

Our party of 4 was met on time at Tawau airport and taken to Semporna, passing through Military check points en route. We had a couple of hours to wait in Semporna for the transfer to Mabul. Lunch and a walk into the main street filled the time easily. The Military and Police presence was huge and we felt completely safe.

Our trip across to Mabul was smooth and took just under an hour. We were met on the Borneo Divers jetty by our Dive Master Lionel and Amin, the hard working dockside manager. Lionel took us directly to the resort's main centre, where we received a welcome welcoming drink and a comprehensive briefing on day to day operations. It's probably the best orientation I've ever received anywhere.

Our room was freshly painted inside and out and was perfectly presented and clean. During our 5-day stay, we watched a couple of other rooms having a similar treatment and it was obvious that most rooms had been renovated. The only drawbacks were typical Asian drain smells from the bathroom which had a hot water booster, but the shower leaked onto the bathroom floor.

Meals were wonderful with different themes each night, including a Steam Boat night and a beach side BBQ with entertainment. It seems like management has listened to complaints lodged on Trip Advisor and elsewhere.

All pre and post dive operations such as gear hire, washing and storage, boat arrivals and departures were managed by Amin. He knew each of our group by name by the second day and what gear we had (we brought our own). It was always in the correct tub in the store room.

Our DM was Lionel who was a competent diver but relatively new to Borneo Divers. His briefings were thorough and included safety and lost buddy/group procedures as required as well as the features of each dive site. My only disappointment was that he often asked us which sites we wanted to dive, rather than leading. We of course weren't familiar enough to know which sites were best. This is only an experience issue, but it did lead to confusion, especially at Sipadan which we were fortunate enough to do twice in 4 days.

In my opinion Sipadan has the best wall diving on the planet next to the Red Sea's Brother Islands, Daedalus and Elphinstone reefs.There was big fish action with hundreds of schooing Barracuda, Jacks by the thousands and hundreds of Bumphead Parrotfish. There were more turtles, both Green and Hawksbills. on a single dive than I've seen in my life and the best Gorgonian seafans since Big Brother in the Red Sea. We did 16 dives in 4 days. We were all exhausted!

A word on security. Borneo Divers Mabul Resort is right next door to the Police Station which was well staffed by heavily armed officers. It was the same on Sipadan. We arrived at dawn on ANZAC day, which commemorates Aussie and New Zealand's troops and their defeat at Galipolli in WW1. The commander of the Malaysian Army and a security detachment were on Sipadan that morning. We met him and had a short chat. Sipadan has an army detatchment permanently stationed there due to it's proximity to the Sulu Islands in the Philippines. We always felt 100% safe.

Our experience at Borneo Divers Mabul Resort was the best resort based diving experience I've ever enjoyed. Our thanks to Lionel, our boat man Sammy and Amin for making this truely a holiday to remember! Last but not least, their agent Serena at Asia Dive Vacations. Without her security updates, we would not have gone.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank DiveMedic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2013

I read lots of review and was expecting the worse. I have been really positively surprised ! Ok the room are simple but very clean, and the confort is totally ok (better than simple bungalows on the beach). After that the service was great !!! I was not diving ( pregnant) and came with two small kids, everybody took a great care of us ! And concerning the price, I think it is the best deal of the island ! you can have 10 dive over 5 days plus 4 night, everything included for the price of only the dive in Europe ! They transfer you by boat (2hours boat) and take you at the airport (40 euros if you do it by Taxi) , all of that included in the price ! And for snorkelers, the boat take you freely ! After that, free coffee and tea, and delicious cakes available at 3pm after the effort,,, A great garden for the kids, a nice beach also for the kids... Really After having visiting all the resorts on Mabul, I do think it is the best option for family with small kids.

The food was diverse and fresh and I found it really good, We had great mango the first day !! We spent 3 days in Shangrila Rasa Ria after, no fish, everything cleaner ok, but we WERE BORED !! I do think it is worse spending a few days to dive or snorkle in MABUL. After yes the island and the village is dirty and it is TRUE MALAYSIA and the resort does its best to clean up the beach and does a great job ! I definitely advise this hotel !

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank FAKRA V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2013

Mabul was a wonderful little island and Borneo Divers was a good choice. They cover absolutely everything divers could need, with constant snacks and refreshments and the grounds of the resort are beautiful - beware mosquitoes, though! I went as a non-diver and thoroughly enjoyed walking around the local fishing village, I accompanied the divers on the boat for snorkelling and even hung out at Sipadan for the day while hubby was off, having the time of his life in the water. The accomodation is good, apart from the bathrooms which really need some work. I'm usually pretty fussy about the bathroom, but when you're somewhere this fabulous, I could over-look it. At the end of the day there was a shower, a toilet and a sink and that'll do. The food choices had something for everyone and I thought they did a great job. The staff were full of information, very helpful and friendly and I wouldn't hesitate to go again.

Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank AnaBangkok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2013

Borneo Divers was an excellent choice to dive Sipadan. The diving at Sipadan was excellent and made even better by the great Dive Master we had. If you stay at Borneo Divers, make sure you request Lianah as she will ensure you see the most hiding and incredible creatures under water.
Don't be taken aback by the so called muck diving around Mabul and Kapalai. They are also very interesting to explore and you will be able to find ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish and many other small and interesting specimens.
The rooms were comfortable and the food was good. I highly recommend visiting this area and staying with Borneo divers.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank tocinillo77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2013 via mobile

We booked a 5 day package from Australia and were impressed from beginning to end. We were in constant contact with an agent in Malaysia throughout the booking process up until we left Australia. We were collected from the airport at Tawau and taken to our boat in Semporna which takes about 90 minutes. The boat transfer takes about 45 minutes. The accommodation is basic, but adequate. Nice big rooms with ceiling fans and air conditioning, own bathroom and tea and coffee making facilities. All meals are included, which was mix of local and western cuisines. The food was very good and there was plenty of it!
We had 4 days of diving booked plus 1 dive on arrival at the house reef. We were lucky enough to get 2 days at Sipadan, plus 2 days at Mabul Island.
The only negative was that the bathroom in our room was a bit smelly, but it was 30+ degrees in Asia, so we were prepared to keep the door shut and overlook it.
The grounds of the resort are well looked after, clean pool, well stocked bars and a BBQ night with entertainment was put on by the staff.
The diving was great, the staff were very friendly and helpful and we had a great trip. We would happily stay here again if returning to the area.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank DaleAnne23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Borneo Divers Mabul Resort

Address: Mabul Island, Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the East Coast of Sabah, just off the coastline of Mabul Island, Borneo Divers Mabul Resort is passionate in showcasing the best of Borneo’s beautiful and lush marine life to the world. Mabul is arguably one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world. The reef is on the edge of the continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to a depth of 25 to 30m. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Borneo Divers Mabul Island Hotel Pulau Sipadan

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