Mabul Island- An Ideal Muck Diving Destination near Sipadan

Mabul Island Sabah Malaysia

Characterized by sleek, slender trees swaying in the wind and calm green waters, Mabul Island or Pulau Mabul is located 15 minutes away from Sipadan Island. This journey can be taken via speedboat. Being in the vicinity of the Sipadan Island, most of the tourist traffic gets diverted to this region as well, which hence defines its credibility of being a visit place.

Located on the northwest corner of a 200 hectare reef, Mabul Island is a small, oval-shaped, level and flat island with sandy beaches. Small marine life dominates the area in the sandy bottoms on the coral reefs and in close proximity to the man-made reefs. Ostentatious and eye-catching cuttlefish, metallic shrimp, bobtail squid and blue-ringed octopus is to be found here.

Features of Mabul Island

Read on to know what you can do on this beautiful island, which is considered an ultimate destination for tourists, especially who love muck diving:

Macro Paradise

Macro life is what Mabul Island boasts about the most, as it is a natural abode to a rich diversity of species that attracts underwater photographer’s to explore and capture some of the scarcest and rare ecological species on the movie. The bio-diversity at Mabul Island is categorized as something to be not found elsewhere, hence giving it the unique touch.

The underwater world has been inhabited and preoccupied by a multitude of rare ecological species, evoking great interest on the part of the macro photographer. Multi-colored nudibranchs, devil scorpionfish, mandarin fish, snake and ribbon eels, crocodile fish, stonefish and the never-ending list goes on and on. The island is hence a habitat for all.

Muck Diving

The scuba diving community as known internationally, lists Mabul Island as one of the top notch ones on the list & it is also one of the best diving spots in Kota Kinabalu Sabah. Muck diving is something which has recently gained momentum and is a field of particular interest for scuba divers of all categories. It is characterized by shallow diving sites, encompassing encounter with rare and preposterous little critters, appropriately termed as macro-life. With the inexhaustible and boundless visibility and easily identifiable reef and pelagic life, Mabul Island presents you the most unusual and uncanny marine life ever on a platter.

The best sites for Muck-Diving are Seaventure, Froggy Lair, Eel Garden, Lobster Wall and Crocodile Avenue. You can also opt for snorkeling as few sites near to sea shore are ideal for it. You can do snorkeling at Lobster Wall or Paradise Reef.

The inexorable underwater life can be laid to rest for some while, while you enjoy sun-basking on Mabul’s soft sand.

The Diving Season

December to March is specifically identified as the rainy season hence, the other months besides these are most opportune to dive in and quench your diving thirst. The dry season is from March to September when visibility is not so good, yet it is of not a much serious concern as macro life is discoverable during muck diving.

Related Article: Best time to visit Sipadan Island


There are no restaurants and café on the island, but you can have your meal at the restaurants of hotels and lodges.

Where to Stay?

Obviously, when embarking on a journey to these exotic islands, one books an accommodation in a worthwhile resort. On days when Sipadan Island is not your to-do-list you can explore Mabul Island, where the critters are found in abundance.

The island is full of resorts that cater to all age groups, from a budget resort to a stilted bungalow luxury. The local rates apply for Malaysians, Singaporeans and expatriates with work permits and the difference is quite huge from the international market. For example a 2 day and 1 night stay in a Junior Cottages (Twin Only), the diver’s package is for MYR 960 and MYR 2720 for locals and international visitors respectively.

Related Article: How to travel from Kota Kinabalu to Sipadan Island

Reef Summary

The reef is good for small animals, underwater photography and beginner diverse, but on the other hand it is not so good for visibility and non-diving activities. The depth of the reef is calculated to be 5-20m, whereas its visibility is 5-15m. The water temperature generally recorded is 27-29°C and the surface conditions are calm. Divers either beginner or expert can easily dive in here.

Hence, if you are planning to visit Mabul Island then you can plan your stay for approximately 5-14 days, because there is so much to do with 12 diving sites here. This island can be reached within 25 minutes from Sipadan and if you are coming from Kapalai then it is about at a distance of 5 km

Photo Credit: Irwandy Mazwir

2 Comment

  1. […] package that snorkeler might be offered is inclusive of a welcome drink, stay at the beach lodge at Mabul Island. There are three daily times of meal with drinking water. Five snorkeling trips and free transport […]

  2. […] Sipadan Water Village Resort is a wooden stilted resort constructed over the shallow water of Mabul Island. The beautiful and abundant waters of the Celebes Sea can be seen gently lapping underneath your […]

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