10 things to do in Mabul Island

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a laid-back family holiday, romantic getaway or diving trip, you’ll find plenty of activities and things to do in Pulau Mabul suitable for all age groups.


Ocean Kayaking

Girl KayakIf you’ve never been sea kayaking before, then now’s the time to break your duck.

Explore Mabul in a Molokini transparent kayak to reach pristine stretches of sandy beaches, waterfront picnic areas and secret hideouts unreachable by foot.

Learn more: Kayaking in Mabul Island.


Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsies) Village

Any trip to Mabul Island will not be complete without a visit to the island’s Bajau Laut village, home to the legendary ‘Sea Gypsies’.

Famous for their nomadic, seafaring way of life, they live mostly in houseboats or wooden stilt houses built over the ocean.

The Bajau Laut are a friendly and welcoming people – if you’re lucky, you may even be offered some purple seaweed or fresh coconuts during your visit.


Snorkeling

Mabul snorkelingSnorkeling in Mabul is a great way to observe marine life in a natural setting.

Day trips to Kapalai or world-famous Sipadan, both located 15-20 minutes by speedboat from Mabul, may also be arranged by your resort or dive operator.

However, Sipadan Permits are required before any snorkeling or diving trips can depart for the island due to the government’s environmental protection policy.


Diving

Diving MabulDiving is the main activity on the island, though you do not have to stay here in order to go snorkeling or diving.

In fact, many visitors prefer staying in Semporna, where hotels and day trips are generally cheaper.

Diving in Mabul is entirely different from what one would normally experience in Sipadan, where it’s all about big fishes and vertical coral walls.

Mabul is known as one of the world’s best muck diving destinations – any opportunity to dive here should not be missed.


Sunrise & Sunset

Sunrise, sunsetMabul is located in Sabah, the first Malaysian state to witness the golden rays of the sun every morning, at about 5.45am.

It’s an early wake-up call, but the reward is well worth it. Join the villagers as they prepare for the day ahead or settle down in your chosen spot at the end of the day to experience sunrise or sunset in Mabul.


Tun Sakaran Marine Park

Aerial View Tun Sakaran Marine ParkIf you ever find yourself in the area, be sure to drop by Tun Sakaran Marine Park, where a world of intoxicating beauty awaits.

Comprising 8 islands and 2 patch reefs, the amazing biodiversity of Sabah’s second largest marine conservation area was found by representatives of the U.K.’s Marine Conservation Society to be on par with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The main attraction of the marine park is Pulau Bohey Dulang, one of the most visited and photographed islands in the area.


Milky Way

Milky WayThe Milky Way galaxy lights up Mabul’s sky at night, providing a scenic backdrop visible from most parts of the island.

If you love stargazing or time-lapse photography, then this live, 5-day Mabul weather forecast can help you see if there is a clear night in the near future, so that your chances of catching the Milky Way can be maximized.


Island Hopping

Sebangkat IslandGoing island hopping in Sabah is one of the best ways to discover the coastal beauty of this region.

Day tours may be arranged (from Semporna town or Mabul) to many of the nearby islands.

Apart from Sipadan and Kapalai, those who wish to venture further out may visit other islands including Bum Bum, Pom Pom, Mataking and Tun Sakaran Marine Park.


Regatta Lepa

Regatta Lepa Festival SempornaIf you’re making your way over to Pulau Mabul in April, do remember to check out the annual Regatta Lepa festival, which takes place in Semporna.

Non-stop celebrations lasting 2-3 days pay homage to the culture and traditions of the Bajau Laut, who come from all over Sabah to take part in this popular water festival.


Miss Scuba International

If you’re coming over in November, you’ll be arriving just in time for the annual Miss Scuba International festival, held for the very first time in 2011.

Training for this event, which boasts participants from all over the globe, usually takes place in Sipadan-Mabul Resort (SMART) (link) or Mabul Water Bungalows (link).