photo by Irwandy Mazwir

Mabul Island (Pulau Mabul in Malay) is a small island off the south-east coast of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. The island is known as one of the best muck diving destinations in the world.


The island is covered in palm trees and fringed with fine beaches. It is a famous diving spot for divers, both international and local alike, and is well known as the macro diving paradise.

It is located near Pulau Sipadan.

Getting there

Make your way to Semporna, then take a boat from there. The journey takes about 30 minutes by speed boat, 1.5 hours by slow boat. Resorts and lodges provide boat transfers for their guests. Visitors can also come in on day tours by joining a dive trip organized by one of the dive operators in Semporna.

Traveling around

Mabul is small enough to be explored entirely on foot. There are no roads or cars. Boats take visitors to various diving and snorkeling sites around the island.


Mabul possesses beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut palm trees. However, the indiscriminate throwing of litter by the local fishermen does much to detract from this beauty, particularly on the island's west side.

Things to do

Scuba diving - While its famous neighbour Sipadan is a home to large pelagic species, Mabul is the place to find the smaller macro species. Scorpionfishes, frogfishes, nudibranchs, crocodilefishes, various crustaceans and many other interesting and rare forms of marine life can be found here. Most dive sites are quite shallow - 12-18 m - with a maximum depth of around 30 m in a few places. Visibility is around 5-8 m at the real muck sites like Froggy Lair, Paradise Reef, and Seaventure Platform, reaching around 15 m at the seaward site Lobster Wall. Turtles can also be seen in places, although by far not as many as at Sipadan.

Snorkeling - A few sites close to shore are suitable for snorkeling, primarily around Paradise Reef as well as Lobster Wall.


There are no restaurants, but resorts and lodges provide their guests all meals.


Resorts and lodges provide drinks to their guests. Other than that there are no choices on Mabul.


There are several resorts in the island.


  • Big John Scuba, +60142843723, +60142843723, A clean and friendly homestay and dive resort that opened in 2006. Big John Scuba has an office in Semporna and there are about 10 or 11 double rooms with a fan on Mabul. Good deals on accommodation and diving packages. Lots of diving courses available with experienced diving instructors. All meals included in the accommodation price.

  • Noble Inworld Diving . A homestay and dive resort is which offers clean and basic accomodations on Mabul, diving and high instructor to student ratios. Price for homestay is 60 RM a night with all meals included and diving is 250 RM for 3 fun dives on Mabul.

  • Panglima. Clean, budget longhouse accommodation on Mabul.

  • Scuba Jeff Sipadan , 0178614391, Mabul Island, Offers budget accommodation.

  • Uncle Chang's Sipadan Mabul Dive Lodge , +60 089 781002 (office hours) +60 089 786988 (24 hours), +60 089 781002 (office hours) +60 089 786988 (24 hours), 91307 Causeway Road S.O.T.C., book at Uncle Chang's office right on the causeway in Semporna next to the Dragon Inn or at the second office near the dive shops at Semporna town, and get your transfer to the island arranged


  • Borneo Divers Mabul Dive Resort ,

  • Mabul Dive Lodge , +60 089 919128, +60 089 781788, +60 089 919128, +60 089 781788, book at dive centre in Semporna at Causeway Road near Semporna Ocean Tourism Centre, Air-conditioned chalets.

  • Seaventures Dive Resort , , An old accomodation barge (not an oil rig) that has been converted to a dive resort, just off the north shore of Mabul

  • Sipadan Mabul Resort ,


  • Mabul Water Bungalows

  • Sipadan Water Village Resort , +60 089 784227 / 784228 / 797008 / 797009, +60 089 784227 / 784228 / 797008 / 797009, fly into Tawau, then get picked up at the airport for transfer to the resort, Very nice chalets on stilts above the water, but very pricey.


Besides small shops in resorts and lodges there are no shops on the island.

Take a boat back to Semporna.

Contact & location

Be the first one to add a review

Already have an account? Log In
Will never be displayed

The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Irwandy Mazwir, amrufm

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Ryan HollidayRobert Biuk-Aghai, Burmesedays and Vidimian

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

Share this:

My lists

People who'd like to go there (1)

Going to Mabul Island?
... and need recommendations

Ask your friends on Facebook

Ask on Twitter