We stayed at Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART). We wanted to stay at Mabul Water Bungalows (MWB) but they were booked. These are under common management and you can go back and forth between the two by road or bridge. In the end, we were very glad we were at SMART. As others have mentioned, these resorts cater to the Chinese. MWBs were all Chinese and we would have been the one two Westerners. Plus, you only have the boardwalk areas for movement. There are ample walkways and terraces but I think I would have felt trapped. On the SMART side, there was only one other person there (it was their slow season). He was from California and we took many of our meals together. Because there were only 3 of us at SMART the first few days, we ate all of our meals at MWBs. Because of the Chinese, almost all the food was Chinese. Several nights there were giant platters of Tuna Sashimi. There was generally a chicken, beef, seafood (shrimp, fish, crabs), vegetables (mostly stir fried bok choy), rice, lots of fresh fruit and lots of different desserts. When SMART had an influx of guests, we started eating there instead of MWBs. The food was typically the same or similar. The food was fine but we would have preferred more variety, especially since we were in Malaysia. As others have mentioned, alcohol is very expensive, but this is true all over Malaysia. It is a Muslim and 2 at SMART. They appear to be poorly stocked but I did not try any of them. We stayed in the stand alone chalet. It is very comfortable and air conditioned. If you're diving 3 times a day any time you are there you are ready to nap! A note, the bathroom shower is actually in a fenced in area with screen at the top. As a result, your bathroom is not air conditioned. As far as the grounds are concerned, they were beautiful and sandy. And, no, the pictures on their website are not only of the"nice"areas. It ALL looks like that! The road between SMART and MWBs does house their physical plant including power plant, water works, sewage treatment, lumber yard and workshop. But this is far enough away that it never bothered us. The bridge between the two resorts is beautiful, especially in the evening. I am a diver and started quickly with incredible dives. Sometimes the currents were a bit strong on a couple of the dives. I was the only OW diver so I ended up with a personal dive master. She was incredible and was able to point out many things that I might have missed. She even took my GoPro and filled me with sharks, giant sea turtles, and jetfish. The guy from California was AOW so he dove deeper and also ended up with his own dive master. My husband was not certified and took lessons. He finished in 3 days. During his last instruction day he was able to participate in our afternoon dive with his teacher. The next two days, we all dove together. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Elizabeth (manager) was a huge help when we needed to change our flights (read their instructions carefully!). A note on internet. It is almost non-existent. I use Verizon and made a couple of calls from the island with good reception. My mobile data was very spotty but sometimes better that the resort WiFi. Don't plan on any downloads! You're lucky if your phone or computer grab a signal overnight and updates your email! The sights you can see are unparalleled. I dove twice in Sipadan and we are already taking about when we can come back.…
We spent 5 nights. We didnt stay in the water bungalows but in a detached house. The house itself had all the comforts. There was a kind of swimming pool and a bubble bath available. The diving was amazing. The food for us was ...very difficult to eat...I am sorry to say for the people working there who do their best and work very hard. But even by average EU standard was difficult to match....very little choice, repetitve and quality wise...... Not much to do if you are not a diver. So consider this if you go with family.
We stayed on the SMART side where there is a pool and jacuzzi and beaches. It is the cheaper side but was still very comfortable and a fantaastic 10 days. Everyone was very friendly and helpful and as it was a quiet part of the season (June) we were eating meals on the Over Water Bungalows side of the resort. I loved it and the diving was awesome. The food was very good with a lot of variety. The diving was fantastic and the dive guides very experienced. The only down side of the trip was seeing the amount of rubbish and plastic bottles floating in the Celebas Sea where Sipidan is situated. It is said to come from Phillipines but I think it is all over and locals live over and next to the water so I am sure it is their rubbish bin. Education would help.
Beautiful chalet and island, the diving sites are good and the sipadan one is exceptional! Really amazing!! BUT the organisation is bad (had to wait 2h for the boat), the personal only took care of the water bungalow people (the rich one!) and not of the others, the food is just ok (canteen quality...), no coffee machine (no espresso), no resting zone, construction works all day long (from 7.30 am to 10 pm), can’t swim into the sea, the diving masters are not friendly and didn’t give any advice (except Kiren). That’s really expensive but it worth to go there if you like diving!! The diving sites are a must to see
We are so thrilled with our stay at Mabul Resort! It was truly the best step of our honeymoon in Malaysia! The place is wonderful, the staff was ever so attentive and caring to us and we really appreciated their thoughtfulness and help. Breakfast and dinner meals are very decent, the bungalows are spacious (but our air-conditioning seemed defective), and the landscape is breathtaking! We had such a wonderful time diving in Sipadan, one of the most beautiful diving sites in the world. Despite the high price, it is really worth it and we highly recommend Sipadan-Mabul Resort!