We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Excellent training, great stay”
Review of Big John Scuba

Big John Scuba
Ranked #3 of 16 things to do in Semporna
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A small company with a BIG heart.. and passion for customer safety and satisfaction.
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Myself and a couple of mates stayed in Big Johns Mabul for a few days to take our PADI and dive Sipadan. Mark did a great job organising the program to fit to our tight schedule. The training was first rate and we felt very well prepared by the time we hit Sipadan, which was the highlight of our time in Sabah.

In addition to being a great instructor, Mark had great banter and made sure we had time to let our hair down to see the island and get in a few beers. He also booked our Sipadan dives with Uncle Changs which we were also very happy with. Back on shore in Semporna he went out of his way to help us get a good hostel and organised our airport transfer for us. Definitely recommend the outfit.

Accommodation is basic but that's to be expected in the price range. The staff were all friendly and helpful and the centre had a fun atmosphere.

2  Thank Adam W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (244)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

127 - 131 of 244 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2014

The office communication and staff was quite helpful. They booked a Sipadan trip for us with other diving company called. Borneo Unlimited. We wired money a week in advance and there were no issues with reserving our permits or our booking, so they are definitely trustworthy, when it comes to bookings and money.
The Sipadan dive with Borneo Unlimited was great and executed and organised well above and beyond are expectations.

The second day we dived Mabul and Kapalai directly with Big John and so the contrast in quality was quite obvious. The transport to the island was bordering with unsafe and definitely uncomfortable, as we were all completely soaked wet and guys sitting in the front row had serious troubles staying in their seats and not being thrown around the boat. The dive centre in Mabul was a little disorganised and messy. Bathrooms are disgusting. and the island is dirty, even when just stepping out of the resort
.
We made a good habit of checking and setting up our own dive gear still at the dive shop before even boarding the boat. Even if you are an open water beginner, and don't feel too confident, don't ever feel rushed and take your time to set up and check your equipment for leakage and other issues. It was definitely a good thing, as we had to replace our BCD's twice, as they were leaking. Also, on our second dive, our divemaster had to surface almost at the very start as he missed an O-ring on his tank! The boat was thankfully nearby, and we were only at Kapalai house reef, so it wasn't a big deal and only cost us 10 minutes of threading water. It's quite a big and basic issue, which should never happen as it's easy to spot.

The food was very nice and plenty of it after every dive.
The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed.
The value was very good and Big John is one of the few places where you can get Sipadan permit without booking expensive 5 day packages or booking 6 months in advance, so we owe them a big thanks for that.

1  Thank Baasja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2014

My wife and I took our Advance Open Water course with Big John Scuba. We got in touch with Big John's team the night we arrived and were already invited to join for dinner/beer. Our experience overall was great. The staff is extremely friendly and giving which really made our stay enjoyable and relaxing. The equipment is new and well maintained and we really felt confident and safe during all the dives. The plus of Big John is the atmosphere. Our instructors were just awesome! We couldn't resist staying an extra day after our course to take a few more dives with them. We also had the chance to visit some islands and met some locals. The food and accommodation in Mabul were really good. For anyone intending to dive around Semporna, I can only recommend to go with Big John. Last but not least, it is really good value.

Thank kevin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

The rooms may be basic, but the experience you get at Big John's is strictly one of being in a big, extended family. I did five days snorkeling the beautiful waters around Mabul and Kapalai. I was traveling solo but never felt alone here. Everything was well-organized, with a variety of sites to dive or snorkel, always accompanied, so safety was never a problem. Big John was not always around, but the operation was smooth, all the folks super friendly. Special kudos go to Mark, the general manager and divermaster extraordinaire. You couldn't be in more capable hands if you're looking for certification. He was also great to pal around with when the diving was done and beer hour approached. My time with Big John was the highlight of my two weeks in Borneo. Thanks, Mark, for the grand time.

1  Thank MikeyS513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

Fantastic vacation with the best guides to keep you safe as well as having a good time. They took us to places where all I wanted to do was bop underwater to feel the splendour of it. And the guides will always be there to meet your needs and answer your questions. Mostly everything is provided and the services are fantastic. It's my first time and the experience I had makes me wanna visit again. Fantastic place.

1  Thank no r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Big John Scuba also viewed

Semporna, Semporna District
Semporna, Semporna District
 
Semporna, Semporna District
Semporna, Semporna District
 

Been to Big John Scuba? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing