The Semporna region is the diving and snokelling paradise of Sabah. At this vicinity there are two marine parks, including the world-famous Sipadan Island Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park which have a very high level of marine diversity. Both Parks were established about the same time in 2004. Sipadan the only oceanic island in Malaysia, attract scuba divers from all over the world. Reef Sharks, Hammer Head Sharks, Barracudas, Sea Turtles, and host of fishes are what made the divers come back for more. The Semporna Islands Park, which is another name for Tun Sakaran Park, is formed by eight islands and three reefs. Hard and soft Corals, with a wide varieties of reef fishes like, Anemonefish, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Cardinalfish, Damselfish, Surgeonfish, and Wrasse are found here.
Once located at the popular dive heaven of Sipadan Island, through conservation and regulation, the Sipadan Dive Centre has now been relocated to the Mabul Island. Today Mabul Island is the main accommodation area for divers and snorkellers at the Semporna region and also for those who are keen to explore the great underwater adventure of the irresistible lure of the Sipadan. Located near the northern end of Mabul Island, and situated right in front of a patchy white sandy beach, this is where the chalets of the new Sipadan Dive Centre. The new beach front chalets of rainbow colours, seven in total, are divided into two rows and were built with wooden stilt structures.
The Mabul Island has two interesting sides, on one side it houses all the exclusive accommodations, and the other side is where all the budget homestay accommodations are located. Situated on the side of the budget stay, as well as nestle among the villager houses and just 500 metres out to the sea is the Billabong Scuba. Built on top of the sea bed with stilts and wooden structure, the Billabong Scuba building is shaped like a letter “U”. The sleeping rooms are located on both of the parallel lengths, while the dinning hall, reception and the common area are placed in the middle. Guests will be able to enjoy free Wifi service at the dinning hall. Billabong Scuba has a total of just 16 rooms and these rooms are divided into three categories, namely Air-Conditioner Room, Fan Room, and Basic Room.
Sabah is located on the northern part of the Borneo Island, the third largest island in the world. It has a land mass of 73,619 square kilometres, which is just slightly bigger than the Washington state of USA. Two thirds of Sabah shoreline are surrounded by seas and with its long shoreline, it also comes with many tropical islands, as many as one hundred, which range from the habitable big ones to exotic tiny ones.
Last century a prize winning book called “Land Below the Wind” which was written by celebrated American writer Agnes Keith, has created a lot of interest from the Western world to explore this wonderful mysterious land. Today with avid promotion done by the state government in many developed countries and also via words of mouth, Sabah is fast becoming the popular choice for an ultimate tropical vacation.
A wonderful three-star resort located at the edge of the continental shelf on the Mabul Island.
Resorts and Lodges that have allocation of permits by Sabah Park to dive at Sipadan Island.A long time ago go diving at Sipadan Island is a straight forward thing. You can dive at the island as long as you feel happy. And as long as you can afford the fee. Today this is not the case any more. Since 2005 when the conservation of the island started, Sabah Park only allows 120 persons, including divers and snorkellers, to visit Sipadan Island on a single day. Permit costs RM 40 per day.
Mabul Island lied 35 km south east to Semporna town, a fish village on the south eastern part of Sabah. With an area of 200-hectare, the island is quiet flat and is almost completely covered with coconuts trees. Beautiful sandy beaches surround the oval shaped island, and guest can easily walk around the island in less than an hour, and during low tide Mabul Island seems to be bigger as the shoreline extends further out to the sea. Wooden houses, on stilts with atap roof top are inhabited by the Bajaus, can be seen at numerous spot on the Island. The Bajaus are traditional fishermen and with their generations of pass down knowledge on the Celebes Sea, today many of them work as boat men, ferrying divers to Sipadan Island and the other surround Islands, including Mataking Island and the Kapalai reef.
The best backpackers lodge at Mabul Island.