11 things to do in Mabul Island

Whether 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

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

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

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.


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

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

Bear in mind that Sipadan permits are required before any snorkelling or diving trips can depart for the island due to an environmental protection policy put in place by the government.


Diving is one of the main activities here, with several resorts offering unlimited house reef/jetty diving.

You do not have to stay on the island in order to go snorkelling or diving here – some visitors prefer staying in Semporna on the mainland, where hotels and day trips to the outer islands are generally cheaper.

Sunrise and sunset

Mabul 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.

Learn more: Mabul sunrise and sunset

Tun Sakaran Marine Park

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

The main attraction of this unique marine conservation area is Pulau Bohey Dulang, one of the most visited and photographed islands in the entire region.


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

With low light pollution in the area, being on the island represents an excellent opportunity to observe and appreciate this spellbinding phenomenon.

Island hopping

Going island hopping in Sabah is a great way to discover the coastal beauty of this region.

Apart from Sipadan, Kapalai and Tun Sakaran Marine Park, those who wish to venture further out may visit other islands including Bum BumPom PomMataking, Timbun Mata, Timba-Timba and many more.

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

Regatta Lepa

If you’re making your way over to Mabul Island in March or April, do remember to check out the Regatta Lepa festival, which takes place anually 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 preparations for the annual Miss Scuba International festival.

Held for the very first time in 2011, the extravaganza features participants from all over the globe.

Training for this event usually takes place in Sipadan-Mabul Resort (SMART) or Mabul Water Bungalows.

Turtle Conservation Programs

Each year Borneo Divers Mabul Resort, one of the oldest on the island, organizes two turtle conservation programs.

The first, called Mabul Turtle Day, is held in the month of May while the second, Borneo Divers’ Celebration of Sea Turtles in Mabul, takes place towards the year end in November.

All interested parties and in-house guests are welcome to take part.

Scroll to Top