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Mabul Island Diving – An Insider’s Guide for 2023!

Interested in Mabul Island Diving?

Did you know that on average each year, 150 people die from coconuts falling on their heads, as compared with 8 to 12 deaths due to shark attacks? 

If you ever had any fear or doubts as to whether you should start diving, hope that quells your fear and you can begin to look forward to one of Malaysia’s best muck-diving spots; Mabul Island Diving. 

Doesn’t the thought of sandy beaches, clear blue skies, coconut scented sun lotion and  shades of turquoise coloured water make you want to hop on a flight? 

Look no further than the stunning and calm waters of Mabul Island and Mabul Island Diving. 

Known for muck-diving and a favorite spot among photographers for macro photography of unique and rare marine life species, Mabul Island is a gem for those looking for their next beach getaway!

If you are wondering what muck-diving is, it is a form of macro diving where you are swimming close to the sea bed which is filled with sediments and debris to explore the distinctive and diverse critters and creatures of the marine. 

WWB guestposter Pavi got you covered with the complete guide to Mabul Island Diving. 

Mabul Island Diving

At a glance, we will cover;

1. Mabul Island Diving sites 

2. How to get to Mabul Island  

3. Accommodation and Mabul Island Price

4. Safety tips 

5. Bonus: unique Mabul Island Diving experience at the world’s only scuba diving platform 

6. Other things to do at Mabul Island 

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Some of the links here are affiliate links, and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. I hope you find the information here useful! Thanks!

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Mabul Island Diving Sites

Mabul Diving is best all year around. 

However, the best conditions would specifically be from May to August as it is turtles’ hatching season and you can find turtles laying their eggs on the beaches. 

Here are a couple of notable diving sites around Mabul Island: 

1.Froggy Lair 

Located in the northeast of Sipadan land, Froggy Lair or also known as Paradise I offers the best of Mabul Island.

 Covered with a dense forest of corals, divers can spot colorful nudibranchs, frogfishes and its famous local resident, the flamboyant cuttlefish. 

With a depth of only 5 to 10 meters, divers who are familiar with open water will enjoy this diving spot. 

2.Eel Garden 

As its name indicates, this site is filled with garden eels awaking from the seabed. 

It is located on the southeast end of the reef with a depth from 5 to 25 meters.

On their lucky day, divers are able to spot manta rays, whale sharks and green turtles swimming around this area and can capture postcard-worthy shots of these beautiful marine creatures. 

3.An Artificial Reef

On the south side of Mabul Island, divers can also explore one of the largest dive reefs in Mabul Island, which is actually a man made reef filled with wooden towers and boxes. 

Right in front of the Sipadan Mabul Resort, the reef offers divers to swim together with batfish and barracudas and schools of jackfish. 

4.Crocodile Avenue 

Home to snake eels, seahorses, small creatures of the sea and its namesake, the crocodile fish,  this site is located on the north side of Mabul Island. 

With a depth of 5-20 meters, divers who are familiar with open waters should be able to easily navigate their way around Crocodile Avenue. 

5.Lobster Wall 

Located at Mabul West Reef, the Lobster wall is synonymous with caves filled with lobsters and also lionfishes and seahorses. 

A deep open water wall with a depth of 25 to 30 meters, divers of advanced expertise will definitely enjoy their time here. 

Mabul Island Diving

2. How To Travel To Mabul Island? 

Well, there are a couple of ways to travel to Mabul Island depending on where you are starting from.

The closest international airport to Mabul Island is the Tawau Airport, where you can fly from Kuala Lumpur, approximately a 3-hour flight, or to Kota Kinabalu, approximately a 55-minute flight. 

Once you have landed at the Tawau Airport, the next leg of the journey to Semporna can be traveled by car or a minivan depending on the size of your travel group. This can take up to 75 minutes and rental of minivans or taxis/Grab can reach up to RM 100 (USD 23). 

From Semporna, for the last leg of the journey, head out to the Semporna jetty and you will then be traveling to Mabul Island by a boat transfer, which can take up to 45 minutes, depending on the speed of the boat and the waves. 

There are 2 operators, D’ One Permata and Semporna Paradise Travel & Tour that provide boat transfers from Semporna to Mabul Island and vice versa, however tickets are not available online and have to be purchased at the Semporna Jetty. Please note that the last boat transfer is from 4.00 – 4.30 pm. 

So do plan out your flight arrival time and add some buffer time within your travel itinerary to make sure you do not miss out on the last boat ride to the Island. 

3. Where to stay (Accommodation And Cost )

You would definitely be spoilt on Mabul Island accommodation options from Mabul Island beach resorts and Mabul Island water chalets for those looking to treat themselves to a luxurious and refreshing summer retreat. 

There are plenty of affordable homestays for those who would like to splurge on what Mabul Island is famous for, that is for more diving trips at the island. 

For those looking to save more bucks, here are a couple of Mabul Island Bookings for 3 day 2 nights (3D2N)  trip: 

Spheredivers Scuba & Leisure

This Mabul Island Package  offers a quality stay at an affordable price, RM 432 (USD 98) for 2 nights for a standard twin room with a shared bathroom and is inclusive of breakfast meals. 

Mabul Backpackers Hotel 

Starting from RM 527 (USD 120) for a budget double /twin room up to RM 1170 (USD 266) for an economy quadruple room with a shared bathroom, this package is inclusive of full board meals and free Wifi.

Located right in front of the Celebes Sea, this place is a treat for travelers with amazing front row seats to beautiful sunrise and sunset views. 

Mabul Paradise Lodge 

Another affordable option for those on a budget. This Mabul Island Sabah package starts from RM 326 (USD 74) for a standard air conditioned room with either a twin double bed or 2 single bed and includes breakfast and dinner meals.

Borneo Divers Mabul Resort 

Looking to stay in a traditional Malaysian Chalet? The Mabul Island Resort offers travelers and divers as a unique advantage of learning from the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified diving courses available at the resort in addition to diving at house reefs.

This Mabul Island Resort price starts at RM 1060 (USD 240) for a deluxe king room and includes breakfast for 2 people and complimentary wifi. 

4. Mabul Island Safety Tips 

Due to past kidnapping incidents and attacks along the coast of Semporna and near the border of the Southern Philippines, there have been questions about the safety while visiting Mabul Island. 

However, rest assured, there have been no incidents lately and the dusk to dawn curfew (between 7 pm to 5 am) is strictly enforced on the sea to ensure the safety of tourists and divers. 

Malaysian security forces regularly patrol the border so do not worry, as long as you do not join diving tours after 7 pm, you will have a safe and fun time at Mabul Island. 

Since you will be spending most of your time exploring what Mabul Island Diving has to explore underwater, why not ensure your safety on both land and underwater? 

Considering that most diving packages do not offer travel insurance, this insurance package from World Nomad offers both travel and dive insurance in one package.

Covering more than 200 activities, the World Nomad insurance package is available in 2 plans; Standard (USD 130/month)& Explorer (USD 180/month). 

5. Bonus: Unique Mabul Island Diving Experience At The World’s Only Scuba Diving Platform

Converted from an old oil rig, Seaventure Dive Resort is an all-inclusive Mabul Dive Resort offering an unforgettable experience for those to dive at its famous house reef.

In addition, the resort also offers guided boat tours to Mabul Island and other surrounding islands such as Sipadan Island and Kapalai Island. 

Featuring an onboard restaurant (buffet style), varying amenities such as a game area and sundeck bar and PADI certified diving courses for those looking to learn to dive, the Seaventure Dive Resort is not an opportunity to miss out on! 

For a 4 day 3 nights (4D3N) stay, check out this Mabul Island Resort Package .

It includes a standard twin share accommodation, boat transfer from and to Semporna, full board meals, 3 daily boat dives and unlimited house reef dives, starting from RM 2900 (USD 660). 

Please bear in mind, a minimum 3-night stay is required at the Mabul Island Sabah Resort and the package is not inclusive of diving equipment however it is available for rent!

So if you are looking for a unique diving trip, don’t forget to add the Seaventure Dive Resort to your bucket list. 

6. Other Options for Non-Diving Folks 

For those who are seeking other things to do at Mabul Island other than diving, fret not. Here is a lineup of other activities that you can indulge in: 


Check out this deal: You get to do a one-day snorkelling trip to both Mabul Island and Kapalai island. The package includes lunch, snorkelling equipments such as a life jacket and snorkelling mask, port fees and return boat transfer. All from RM 341 (USD 77.50) per person. 

Regatta Lepa Festival

Held since 1994, the Regatte Lepa Festival is one of the oldest cultural celebrations in Borneo and celebrates the Sea Gypies (Bajau Laut) tribe and their nomadic lifestyle.

This famed boat celebration usually takes place for 2-3 days around mid to end of April each year.

Filled with colours, music and fireworks, the festival also features a competition between different village and different families from the Semporna region for the most beautiful lepa boats.

So make sure, if you are visiting Mabul Island in April, do catch the parade of colourful boats descending on the Celebes Sea and give this festival a go. 


Who Owns Mabul Island?

Technically, there is no owner of Mabul Island as it is part of Malaysia

What Is Special About Mabul Island?

What makes Mabul Island special is that it is one of the best muck-diving places in the world. Muck-diving is famous among macro marine photographers due to its low visibility and sandy bottoms hence an ideal site to spot unusual and rare creatures lurking around the seabed such as moray eels and blue-ringed octopus. 

Mabul Island Diving

Are The Cayman Islands Good For Scuba Diving?

If you are wondering whether the Cayman Islands are good for scuba diving, fret not because the Cayman Island is known for its devilishly deep drop-offs, wicked wrecks dive and some of the coolest coral in the Caribbean, landing the Cayman Island the top spot as one of best diving spots in the world. 

Which Island Has The Best Diving?

1. Bonaire, Netherlands

2. Cozumel e Riviera Maya, México 

3. Jardines De La Reina, Cuba 

4. The Cayman Islands

5. The Bahamas 

6. Roatan, Honduras

7. Turneffe Atoll, Belize

8. Silver Bank, Dominican Republic

9. Turks and Caicos 

10. Dominica 

11. Curacao 

12.Tobago & Trinidad 

13. British Virgin Islands

What are you waiting for now that you have the inside scoop on Mabul Island Diving?

Get ready to plan your next holiday adventure with these tips and an insider guide to Mabul Island Diving.  

Whether you are looking for a short getaway or a well-earned long break, there’s a bit of everything in Mabul Island that will fit your bill. 

Pack up your bags and treat yourself and your loved ones to a well-deserved island retreat. 

If you have any other suggestions on what else to explore on Mabul Island, do let us know in the comment section below. Bon, voyage, and have a great time with Mabul Island Diving. 

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