Scuba Junkie Dive Lodge is the first port of call for many divers on packages with the popular dive company, and offers the cheapest dorm in town—if you dive or snorkel with Scuba Junkie.
If you don't, dorms and rooms offer significantly less value as they are priced at 100 percent more.
Conveniently located opposite the dive shop on a top level of a row of shophouses, the bright blue painted building is hard to miss. Air-con mixed dorms, and doubles with share or ensuite facilities are freshly painted and clean but some of the most basic in town.
The dorms offer solid wooden bunks, with good thick mattresses and clean linen (bottom sheet only), but the room is a little cramped. Storage shelves, large enough for bags, are provided but travellers don’t seem to use them and store bags on the floor. Small lockers for valuables are available for a ten ringgit deposit, and towels for a 20 ringgit deposit.
Double rooms are clean and characterless, but hey, they’re the cheapest private rooms in this part of town and rooms at the back side of the building offer a pretty jungle outlook. It’s worth going for a room with an ensuite as the share hot-water bathrooms are old and grimy at the edges, although they’re clean enough.
Free WiFi is only available in the small reception area that serves as a basic communal lounge with a couple of chairs—not a common area we’d be spending too much time in. Previously the neighbouring restaurant was run by Scuba Junkies and had a popular bar, but it's now a local restaurant and the bar is no longer. Breakfast isn’t included, but plenty of local restaurants nearby open early enough to have you sustained for a day of diving.
Compared with Scuba Junkie’s excellent accommodation on Mabul, we feel they are sitting a little on their reputation here, however friendly staff do make up for inadequacies. Scuba Junkie Dive Lodge is fine for a cheap overnight sleep if you’re diving with them, but if you are basing yourself in Semporna for a few days, we’d spend a few more ringgit for a little more comfort.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Dorm air-con, low season: 50 ringgit, high season 50 ringgit. Notes: 25 ringgit for divers
Room: Dbl air-con share bathroom, low season: 150 ringgit, high season 150 ringgit. Notes: 75 ringgit for divers
Room: Dbl air-con private bathroom, low season: 190 ringgit, high season 190 ringgit. Notes: 95 ringgit for divers