First choice for divers
It’s no wonder Mabul Beach Resort is a divers’ favourite: there’s comfortable rooms for every budget, relaxing hangout spaces, a good bar with a fun atmosphere, a pretty white sand beach and they’re environmentally conscious to boot.
Wooden chalets and dorms surround a sandy tropical garden leading off the north facing beach. Eight-bed fan-cooled dorms sport solid dark wooden bunks, quality mattresses and clean white sheets. Dark wooden floors and pale walls continue the dark and light theme and give a tropical Asian feeling to the airy and spacious dorm. Lockable lockers provide storage. Bunks don’t have individual lighting (you’ll be too tired after a day’s diving to read anyway), but plenty of power outlets are available for charging the gadgets.
Ensuite bathrooms are clean, and with three per dorm—no waiting, but showers are cold water only. A few hooks and unusually in a dorm, a bit of bench space is provided. You can hang out on the balcony or hang out your wet swimmers there too.
Private rooms up the comfort levels and are more “log cabin” themed with wood-panelled walls as well as the wooden floors. Rooms are clean and good sized, but could do with a bit of an update, particularly the bathrooms. Choose from fan-cooled with cold-water showers, air-con with hot-water showers, or VIP where you get a fridge and a sea view.
Furnished private balconies add hammocks for tropical island ambience (and to have a snooze in). All room rates include all meals, served buffet style (no seafood—“fish are friends, not food”). Drinks from the bar are additional.
You are encouraged to support the local community and buy snacks and get your laundry done in the village. Mabul Beach Resort are proactive in supporting and educating locals about their environment and have established a small turtle hatchery, and guests can join in a weekly beach clean up.
A two-dive trip is 250 ringgit and snorkelling is 120 ringgit. They also offer a variety of dive courses. Under water cameras can be hired.
To stay at Mabul Beach Resort you must book a trip with Scuba Junkies; they don’t accept “accommodation only”. Room rates are cheaper if you dive, and snorkellers pay a premium (and may feel a bit second-class” at times.
Staff are welcoming and knowledgeable. Mabul Beach Resort is rightfully busy and you will need to book well in advance. Recommend for scuba junkies, snorkellers may get a better deal elsewhere. For more upmarket accommodation with a reputable dive company, Borneo Divers Resort, just along the beach, offer private chalets and a swimming pool.
Note that rates below are per person and include meals. High season rates are an extra +25 ringgit per person. Boat transfers are 50 ringgit each way.
By Sally Arnold
Last updated on 19th October, 2016.