Sipadan, found off the east coast of Malaysian Borneo in Sabah, is one of the top dive sites in the world. Being a ‘scuba junkie’ myself, I have always wanted to dive there! After some research, I decided to book with Scuba Junkie in Mabul , (15km way from Sipadan) for my accommodation , dives and permit arrangements for the national park of Sipadan. (please see my separate post about Sipadan; soon to come!).
Scuba Junkie arranged everything down to the last detail for me. They picked me up from Tawau airport and took me to their main office in Semporna, (approx.. 75 min drive) to do all the paperwork. Very friendly staff, very excited about diving and about Sipadan which made the experience even better.
After all the paperwork was all set, I went to a local supermarket to buy some snacks for the trip to Mabul Island and then went for a cold beer across from their offices, at the Scuba Junkie Bar until it was time to depart for Mabul.
It was time to go to the jetty and set off for Mabul! I was ecstatic! The boat ride took 45 minutes but the scenery was really worth it! Only sad thing was the amount of rubbish I saw floating on the sea on the way to Mabul.
The moment you step off the boat at Mabul Island you come across the Scuba Junkie dive centre where you leave all your equipment in nicely organized boxes, or you can rent equipment if you don’t have your own. There is a big noticeboard in place showing where each dive group will be diving at every day, along with dive times and boat names. There are big buckets of fresh water where you can rinse off your equipment and hang them to dry.
There is a long jetty that runs to the shore where the main building (offices and restaurant ) and all rooms are found. On the one side of the jetty there are Bajau people living where you can see them fishing in their wooden boats and going along with their daily routines. There are plenty of children playing, smiling and happily posing for photos.
Scuba Junkie has 3 types of rooms (En-suite Fan Room, Deluxe Air-con Room, VIP Air-con Room) and a dorm room. All rooms include 3 daily meals plus afternoon snack, tea, coffee, water and juice. They are simply decorated but clean, and spacious, located just a few metres away from the beach where you can swim, snorkel, dive or simply sun bathe.
The staff at Scuba Junkie are very professional; always with a smile, happy to help you out or discuss with you. What really impressed me was the fact that Scuba Junkie is an eco-friendly resort. They pay a lot of attention to the environment and get involved in several environmental projects. They try to teach local communities about the implications of littering and do regular beach clean ups. They protect and save turtle eggs, having created the first turtle hatchery in Mabul on the beach in front of the resort. They are also involved in several other projects such as shark education and awareness, conservation programs, reef checks etc.
In the evening you can take a stroll in the village and see how the Bajau people live .
or have a drink at the upper floor bar of Scuba Junkie
There is a high end resort (Sipadan Water Village Resort) right next to Scuba Junkie with over-water bungalows where you can go have a coffee/drink or even have a dinner for real jet setter lifestyle!.
There is a small local little restaurant with seafood, mostly aimed at locals but worth a try. Otherwise there are no restaurants on the island as resorts and lodges provide all meals to their guests.
Another post will be all about the diving there so stay tuned….
- Book your permit in advance with Sipadan Scuba Junkie so that it is guaranteed.
- Buy snacks from the super market so that you have with you on the island
- Supply yourself with giveaways for the Bajau children
- Avoid buying sea shells and corals from locals.
I am not a diver but the whole experience looks awesome! Great post!