Just 15km from the world-famous Sipadan, Mabul is by no means overshadowed when it comes to the quality of scuba diving to be had.

In fact, Mabul is reputed to be one of the best places in the world for muck diving and underwater macro photography.

What To Expect

Mabul scuba diving
The quality of Mabul Island’s muck diving is widely regarded as one of the world’s best.

Visitors often stay in Mabul and use it as a gateway to the world-famous diving mecca Sipadan, where there are no hotels or resorts. However, it must be said that the diving in Mabul is by itself excellent and to give it a miss while over here would be a sure-fire mistake.

Diving in Mabul, which is surrounded by gentle sloping reefs 2 to 40m deep, is quite different from what one would normally experience in Sipadan.

In Sipadan it’s all about big-fish sightings whereas muck diving in Mabul lets you get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s tiniest and rarest lifeforms.

Muck Diving in Mabul

Mabul Island is located in Southeast Asia, home to some of the world’s best muck diving sites. The island’s dive sites are especially famous for its rich diversity of marine creatures.

Most of the island’s dive sites are close to shore and even snorkeling in Mabul will give you a taste of the variety of micro marine lifeforms in these waters.

Dive Sites & Marine Life

There are over 15 popular, established dive spots, each with its own speciality and appeal. Please refer to our Mabul dive sites map for more information.

Various dive sites including Paradise 1 and 2 and Ribbon Valley 1, 2 and 3 as well as Crocodile Lairs located just off Mabul’s coast will keep you busy with the amount of things to see and experience.

There are ribbon eels, cuttlefish, sea moths, baby Lionfishes, Mandarinfish, shrimps of every shape and size, Decorator crabs, nudibranchs galore, pygmy Seahorses, frogfish, the list just keeps getting bigger!

Diving in Sipadan

According to the permit system, only 120 divers may visit Sipadan daily. Only 12 operators have been officially granted Sipadan Permits by the government.

More information on: Diving in Sipadan, Snorkeling in Sipadan, Hotels/resorts with Sipadan Permits.

Diving in Tun Sakaran Marine Park

Located about 1.5 hours from Mabul, day trips to Tun Sakaran Marine Park are a popular choice for those who have time on their hands and would like to venture further out.

Daily trips are organized to the marine park from Mabul, Semporna (10-15 minutes to the nearest island), Pom Pom (±20 minutes) and Mataking (±30 minutes).

More information on diving in Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Mabul Dive Resorts

There are numerous dive resorts in Mabul which cater to all budgets, ranging from homestays and backpackers to exclusive, top of the line resorts. Most of them are on the island itself while one is on a converted oil rig platform about 500m offshore.

Some visitors prefer to stay in or arrange diving trips from Semporna due to cheaper accommodation and diving packages.

Most resorts in Mabul and Semporna provide daily transportation to and from Sipadan, Kapalai and other nearby islands including those in Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Day Tours

To the island
You do not have to stay in Mabul in order to snorkel/dive here. Dive operators/resorts in Semporna, Kapalai, Mataking and Pom Pom may arrange for day trips to Mabul and other islands off Semporna.

From the island
Many of the homestays, dive operators and resorts in Mabul arrange daily snorkeling and diving day tours to Sipadan, Kapalai, Mataking, Kulapuan, Siamil and other nearby islands including those in Tun Sakaran Marine Park.