After 6 months of planning and anticipation, me and my friend arrived at Tawau airport from LCCT KL, at 10am under a slightly rainy sky. We were pleasantly surprised to see our hotel rep was waiting for us and we did not waste time waiting at all. I had booked the accommodation at Mabul Island with Billabong Scuba and had arranged for airport transfer. Our journey started from Tawau airport to Semporna and it took an hour's drive through stretches of oil palm trees and village houses.
|Journey by cab from airport to Semporna- narrow roads, green all the way|
We arrived at Billabong Scuba's office in Semporna and waited for transfer to jetty. The jetty was rickety and was missing a few planks here and there. For one moment, me and my friend thought we were about to be kidnapped as the guys who came to fetch us were two scrawny kids and we were the only passengers in a remote jetty.=) They were awfully nice and we had a really nice boat trip to Mabul. The island from afar seemed unassumingly quiet with lots of wooden thatched houses cloistered close.
|Our lodge at Mabul, lovely wooden houses perched atop amazing green waters of Mabul|
Our lodge was simple and clean but it was nothing fancy. It was fairly a good price to pay for a 2 day 1 night stay in Mabul when compared to other expensive accommodation in Mabul (Sipadan Water Village and Sipadan-Mabul Resort@SMART) and caused us RM 240 accomodation plus one way airport transfer, two way boat trip and food. The first day at Mabul, we walked around the island and explored the sandy beach. Snorkeling in Mabul is free and you only need to pay for the equipment. However we neither bathed nor snorkeled as most travellers who come here use Mabul as a place to put up for their diving trip to sister islands of Kapalai and Sipadan. We found the island to be a bit crowded as fishermen and their family were living there. Nevertheless, I found Mabul lovely and a must go. The water of Mabul is so crystel clear and you can see fishes swimming beneath the lodge and starfish lounging underwater in a carefree manner.
Some parts of Mabul were so picture perfect that it left us astounded. The sky, the water, and the village environment was just out of this world. There were another part where we found poverty was so striking, the village of Bajau laut people, it was heartbreaking to see. While walking on the beach near the village some children approached us asking for money. We had to turn them down and they just looked so forlorn and sad. Otherwise, everybody in the island, be it old man, young child had a smile for us and a greeting. It was just so heartwarming.
|children of Mabul|
|Sunset at Mabul|
|Fishermen coming in with their catch|
|Lone boat treading the shallow waters during low tide|
|Paradise- Mabul island|
Tips to enjoy your holiday:
- Bring a book along, there's nothing to do but to relax and enjoy walking around the island
- You can ask for a guide to go for a walk around the island
- Book in advance
- Bring extra money to get those beautiful shells being sold in Mabul
- There's no electricity from early morning till 5pm (but its cool in the island)