Mabul Island

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Mabul  is  a small island belonging to Malaysia in the Celebes Sea. It is located about 30 kilometers south of Semporna and 80 kilometers east of Tawau off the east coast of Borneo.
The island is the tip of a coral reef with an area of ​​about 2 km² . The coast is a continuous line of sandy beaches ranging from several meters to several tens of meters wide. In the inner part of the island, there is practically no natural tree cover – almost all of the unused territory for building is planted with coconut palms.
So-called sea nomads also live around the island. Depending on the season and the current, they lie with their houseboats just off the coast in the east or west of the island.
The island has been inhabited by fishermen since 1970. Then, in 1990,
the island has become a popular diving destination, not least due to its proximity to Sipadan Island (15 km from Sipadan).
There are 6 resorts on the island that provide accommodation for scuba divers, some built on stilts above the water, and one even sits on a former oil platform about 500 meters from the beach.

Access : Coordinates:4.245833, 118.631111 / After arriving at Tawau airport, you need to get to the port city of Semporn. You need to take a taxi or a bus, within about 1-1.5 hours  you will reach the port of Semporn.  – Mabul is 26 km from the nearest town of Semporna. From the pier in Semporn, you will take a speedboat to Mabul Island, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. Departures start at 08:00 and end around 16:00. Speedboats are organized by the resorts where you have booked your stay.

Highlights :

  •  There are 2 villages on the island – Kampung Mabul and Kampung Musu. A large part of the inhabitants belong to the ethnic groups of the Bajau Laut and Suluk Muslim and come from relatively nearby island groups in the southern Philippines.
    Gypsy – nomadic, gypsies,  here everyone is called the bajau tribe – people from the neighboring southern Philippines, who, due to conflicts in the zone, moved to these islands of Malaysia 50 years ago, when Malaysia was just being formed as a country and you see nobody cared about them. Now the Gypsies live on almost all of these islands, some of which have settled, a minority still retain the traditions of their tribe.
  • In the Mabul Island area the depth of about 25 to 30 meters is suitable for scuba diving.  Dive equipment can be rented around the town of Tawau at affordable prices. boat trip around the island or take you to popular snorkelling spots.
  •  Popular scuba diving sites : Lobster Wall is arguably the best diving spot on Mabul Island. The name “Lobster Wall” in translation from English sounds like “Wall of lobsters”, in the “cracks” of this wall you can most often see lobsters hiding. Froggy Lair is a famous poppy diving site in the Mabul Island area. Seaventure Platform. The unusual diving site is located under a former oil platform, now converted into a resort hotel. Crocodile Avenue it is home to rare crocodile fish, Ray Point is famous for its many blue-spotted stingrays lying on the sandy bottom. You can also see many lionfish, grouper (or “sea bass”), cavalla. Visibility: 5 m, immersion depth: 5-15 m.
  •  There were three resorts on the island with private beaches and wooden piers.
  •  Snorkelling is possible near the marinas of the resorts. But the best way is to hire a small fishing boat to take you to the best snorkelling spots around the island.
  •  The best time of the year to visit is from April to June (best underwater visibility).

Activities : Swimming and snorkelling / photo opportunities, shoot underwater photos , Mabul is a well known place for macro underwater photography / the possibility to stay overnight on a converted oil rig about 500 meters from the beach.

Go next : The nearby island of Pulau Sipadan / town of Semporna ,a city on east coast of Sabah , Sabah is a state in Malaysia. Together with Sarawak to the southwest, the two states form the Malaysian portion of Borneo.

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