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“Fit for purpose!”

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Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
39 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Fit for purpose!”
Reviewed 3 November 2012

I think there needs to be a clear point here somehow that they offer TWO types of accommodation- both in Semporna and on Mabul,and I think they should be rated individually.
The hotel in Semporna is fit for purpose, as somewhere to rest your head either before or after your dive trip. We had a double room with air con which was fine, and had a comfy bed so we slept well, it was fine. Their own restaurant next door did good food, but we also ate at a local restaurant maybe 3/4 shops down the road, which did amazing (seriously cheap) Indian-style food.
Great for those trying to offset the cost of Sipadan....

The accommodation on Mabul was lovely, nicer than I'd expected. They maintained their specific patch of the island well, but the shanty towns that greet you on arrival was still quite a shock. I agree with what others have said- divers are ploughing so so much money into this area- and clearly, most of it is going straight into the pockets of the (probably) Western owners and not filtering down to help this area and the locals.
Semporna is one of the grubbiest places I've ever been, which did shock me- couldn't some of the revenue created go towards helping them upgrade a little? I know it's more complicated than that, but it still seems terrible that we're all passing through spending fortunes that they don't appear to benefit at all...

We're vegetarians, and they were aware in advance we were coming and had staff who were too, so they made plenty of allowances for us which was really nice, we had plenty of choice for all our meals. The food was great and water, tea,a snack of some sort was generally always available.
If i'm honest- after all the hype, we both preferred diving Mabul. Sipadan was good, but we've had better experiences at the Yongala (sorry guys, although you're now voted top!) and I just think everyone's constant going on about how it'll blow our mind...it just seemed underwhelming after that. Plus the visibility was low most the time, which probably didn't help.
Great staff though, great food, and a good night's rest, would go back again for sure.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Nikki S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2012

Recently stayed for 5 nights at Scuba Junkie on Mabul island. The diving was obviously amazing! I have never dived with such knowledgable and professional dive staff who all had so much experience and were there to share this with you. As the lonely planet states, this place attracts the 'flashpacker' crowd. I now know what this means! We had a private room with ensuite.... there is no way you will beat this place for value for money. The quality of accommodation, food and service we received during our stay was fantastic. I cannot recommend this place highly enough and would love to find similar diving resorts like this in other places in the world!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank LAE007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
hong kong
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 October 2012

Recently spent 4 days with SJ- not only were their staff serious about diving, they were very clued up and inspired about conservation, and were so wonderful to talk to about our oceans and the situations most divers really care about; shark populations, dynamite fishing etc- its a pleasure to not only have amazing dives, but to do log books over a beer, while chatting about diving and the oceans with people who care enough to make a difference. Our dive masters were fantastic- and were always realistic about the dives and what to expect. Mabul was a wonderful place to dive as much as possible, and the relaxed atmosphere of SJ is far better than the "upmarket" places they compete with.

Plus, part of your money goes to supporting so many great projects- thanks for a wonderful stay SJ!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank nicole g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

This hostel has the best breakfeast we had in malaysia, a restaurant with a top australian chef and very shy prices....good beds, all ac, quiet and very clean. The staff went over board to help us with everything, picked up our laundry and even sent it to the next island we were staying at. Warm showers, tv lounge....the one oasis in semporna, trust us, this is the place you want to be in.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JulesMattsson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

After staying on Mabul Island I booked this hostel as it was affiliated with scuba junkie. Location is central and next to the scuba junkie restaurant. Plus points are wifi, breakfast included and hot showers. Downsides include; no key for your room, no lockers available in the room, plug sockets in room do not work, strong smell of damp. Overall fine to stay for just one night.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Brighton85Brighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2012

As a family with a 7 and 9 year old, we stayed at the hostel in Semporna and then Mabul beach resort. Overall we found that SJ gave us a really easy trip - accommodation and dive/ snorkelling experience all went smoothly and was organised well and hassle free.
Semporna Hostel - we stayed in the family room which was great - 2 rooms and a kitchenette, great air con, and really well priced.
Semporna itself is a weird wild west type town - where is all the money going that passes from the hands of all the diving and snorkelling tourists? Certainly not into the town, or to the locals. Certainly not into environmental education. Certainly not into a suitable and salubrious garbage collection program. The garbage is right on the boat pier where all the boats depart and for maximum stink factor - no-one actually bothers much to put their garbage bags in the skip, but instead throw it all (bagged or unbagged) haphazardly around in the general vicinity. The local police force seem a might to be reckoned with however.We chose not to walk around much.

Mabul Beach Resort - The air conditioned villa was great - a generous double bed and bunk bed. Well air conditioned and really comfortable. Lovely newly built accommodation with own balcony and hammock. Well worth the money - especially as we heard poor reviews on the dorm accommodation. The food on Mabul was definitely below par for anywhere else we stayed in Borneo, coffee awful. We were happy with the 'no fish on the menu' policy , understanding that until local fishing techniques improve SJ do not want to support their industry. We could see that SJ are trying to have a positive environmental influence on the locals.
We were really impressed with our action packed diving and snorkelling guides and experiences- a really wonderful experience, incredible place....
However...Just couldn't get over the rubbish - I have never seen so much in such a small area so close to a major tourist destination and marine/ national park area. Again, it made me wonder where the money is going and what exactly the government and dive companies are doing to fix this problem up - even just on Mabul - I don't see why all the resorts on the island couldn't pitch in for a sustainable garbage collection and sorting service, plus intensive local education input - they must make so much money from the surrounding diving dollar, why not and how much would it really cost to do so?
Yes, we would go again, hopefully to see some great developments in marine protection of this wonderful environment.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank dene s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2012

The Scuba Junkies lodge must have gone through massive renovation since previous reviews because my experience was nothing like previously described. I stayed in the first dorm (dorm 2) for 4 nights while diving with Scuba Junkies and also another dive shop. They offer you the discounted rate of 25 Rinngit a night as long as you dive at least one day, you can say as long as you like for the same price.

The dorm was comfortable with AC and fan. It was clean and had new mattresses. Towels and sheets are provided. The bathrooms had hot water and good pressure which was great after a diving day.

Plentiful breakfast is included: eggs, fruit, toast, coffee, cordial, and tea. They also have free wifi, a computer for guest use, and a small tv room. The staff was nice but the main lady in charge was extra nice - she remembered your name and greeted you every day.

On a separate note about diving with Scuba Junkies for people WITHOUT SIPIDAN PERMITS:

Ask other dive shops. Since Scuba Junkies is the most popular it's always booked far in advance and it only has 7 permits daily. We went without permits and they told us we had no chance for 2 months but other dive shops had permits for that very weekend and they also had more permits than them - 11 permits per day. Don't let Scuba Junkies popularity ruin your plans to dive Sipidan. Diving only in the surrounding dive sites will leave you disappointed.

Also, the town of Semporna is extremely dirty, unattractive, and locals sell sharks in the market which goes against everything divers and tourists want from Sipidan. Be prepared.

Room Tip: The downstairs showers might be better than upstairs. Dorm 2 is very clean.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LAbackpackerChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving

Property: Scuba Junkie Hotel & Diving
Address: Lot 36 PO Box 458, Block B | Semporna Seafront, Semporna 91308, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Semporna
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 22 Speciality Lodging in Semporna
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Scuba Junkie Hotel And Diving
Scuba Junkie Hotel Diving
Scuba Junkie Semporna

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