Mabul, a small island with coconut palms and white sandy beaches, is located on the northeast coast of Borneo in the Celebes Sea. The resort is located on the south-eastern side of the island next to a local fishing village. To get there fly with Malaysian Airlines via Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to Tawau. From there it is approx. 1 hour by air-conditioned minibus to Semporna and another 40 minutes by speedboat to Mabul.
Accommodation & Facilities
The resort is set in a coconut palm plantation and has its own sandy beach overlooking Sipadan. It boasts 18 Standard Chalets (wooden duplexes), 22 stand-alone one room chalets and 2 suite chalets.
All rooms have attached toilets/bathrooms with hot water, mosquito screens, air-conditioning, fan and a veranda. Some of the rooms are ocean view rooms. There is a swimming pool with a small whirlpool to relax after diving.
The restaurant is in the open main building. Here they serve three buffet style meals per day. Water, tea, coffee and small afternoon snacks are offered free of charge. There is also a bar and a small shop.
Ka'andaman Spa is located at Mabul Water Bungalows. They offer various treatments and guests of the Sipadan Mabul Resort are most welcome there.
Electrical outlet is 220V AC, 50 cycles using three rectangular prongs similar to British plugs. Electricity power supply 24 hours a day.
Sipadan Permit System (as of April 2010)
Due to the tremendous popularity of the Sipadan drop off, the Malaysian government was forced to introduce a permit system to safeguard the fragile underwater environment and limit the number of divers to 120 per day on this particular site. As a consequence, each dive center must compete for a total of 120 permits per day to dive the Sipadan reef walls. These permits are allocated only 24 hours prior to each new dive day.
As a result, agents and operators alike are unable to guarantee the number of dives at Sipadan Island to be allocated to any resort guest for the duration of their stay. Getting one of these permits seems to be based on luck as much as on the general booking situation in the region (an argument to schedule travel into the off-season), and we have indeed not noticed certain resorts being favoured over others. Resort managements do what they can to keep this system as fair as possible, and to give everyone a chance to visit the Sipadan dive sites at least once in a 3-4 night period. To make the most of this precious opportunity, day boats often schedule 4 dives per day in rather quick succession for those carrying the Sipadan permit.
Sipadan Mabul Resort has stable mobile phone reception. If guests have their own computer they can use free wireless LAN (very slow) in the restaurant area. For guests staying at Sipadan Mabul Resort you can rent broadband for 24 hours usage.
This is a dedicated dive resort. It is not luxurious, but clean with reasonable sized rooms. The dive sites are nice, especially the combination of large marine life in Sipadan and macro sites near Mabul. The resort is often booked out early. The 14 dive boats are almost always full. Therefore individual dive preferences can't be catered for as in some smaller resorts.