I returned to CBR Pom Pom after 3 years away. Since then there has been a change in management, and for the worse. 1) No proper pick up, no sign, nobody from resort met me, and they wanted to dump me at some random jetty in Semporna. Yes given that Air Asia had decided to make my day by cancelling my early morning flight and shifting me to a 1030 flight from KL – meaning I arrived at 1330 in Tawau airport but there was nobody from the resort to meet me. I had to wander around and ask people if they knew where the pick up for CBR was. Then I was put on a general pick up van to Semporna, and the van driver tried to drop me off at some random jetty. 2) Lack of dive guide allocation – there is only 1 guide. I am the only diver in the resort. How can they mess this up? Aparently they could. I walked to the dive centre on day 2 of my stay only to find no dive guide waiting for me and my equipment all still not set up. Resort manager not in sight. I had to ask at the counter and they woke up a freelancer to bring me out. 3) Sand in the dive centre/ untidy dive centre – sand is a bane to divers. It gets into everything, is scratchy and more importantly breaches o-rings and seals. The previous management was stringent about sand in the dive centre. We couldn’t wear our slippers into the area, and there were 2 tubs set up for us to wash our feet before entering the area. This is not the case now, and even though the tub was put out to wash feet, it was never enforced. And the water was never changed during the whole 4 days I was there. A tank I had put up on the bench (because I thought I had to set up my own equipment) was left there on the bench for 4 days too. It is probably still there on the bench today. 4) Poor room maintenance – the first thing I checked when I got in was my room toilet. It didnt flush. I had to come out and ask for someone to repair it. It took a while. Immediately after they left, I turned on the lights because it was getting dark. There are only 2 lights for the room, and 1 wasn’t working. I had to complain again. It wasn’t just a change of bulb but needed rewiring. I was shooed out of the room. All in, I didnt get to use my room for the first 2 hours – till after dinner infact, since I arrived in so late that day. 5) Workmen entered my room unauthorised and unasked for, whilst I was out – on day 4 after I came back from my 2 morning dives, and I went to my room, I noticed that the bed has been moved to 1 side, the room aircon was on full blast whereas Im always sure to turn it off before leaving, there were dirty footprints tracking into and out of the room, paint chips and dust on the floor, and bolts and black soot in the toilet area. Nobody has told me why, and I had nothing that needed repairing. 6) Waited 15 minutes for the dive boat to pick me up whilst clinging to a buoy. It could have been worse, I could have surfaced in the middle of the ocean with no buoy line to hang on to. On day 4 we were allocated a different boat and boat driver than normal – I understand these guys normally handle the snorkellers. There was me, my guide, 2 discovery scuba (first time try out divers), and an instructor. The discovery scuba & instructor came out 10 minutes before me bringing their total waiting time to 25 mins. What an introduction to scuba diving. All in it took the boat guys 1 hour and 25 minutes to realise that we werent surfacing where we dropped off and that they should start looking for us. This is an accident waiting to happen. Despite our late return the manager made no remark, no comment and no apology for the incident. 7) They no longer have spotters – in critter heaven – Pom Pom is renown for its small stuff, exotic and incredibly diverse sea life. This is the reason divers visit the place. The guide is basically doing his job – guiding divers from point a to point b. Dont get me wrong. He is a nice guy, he is just not trained. Many times he would have to wait for me while I stopped and looked for stuff. 8) Lastly – the manager is inaccessible, aloof, and never available. Not just all the issues over the days – the confusion over the dive guide, the snorkeller boat allocation to divers, but on day 5, I wanted to settle my bill – it was just for a few cans of beer which I had consumed there. But I needed small change. The girl at the counter couldnt change my cash for me because she need access to the petty cash box which only the manager has to key to. And he wasnt awake yet. It was 10 am. Actually I realised that the manager was never around in the mornings. I only might catch a glimpse of him in the afternoon. 11 am I went to check – he was awake and had his breakfast but in no mood to open any petty cash box for me. This is terrible attitude and knocks off on the whole staff there. Dont get me wrong, I want to love this place. I used to love this place. I brought 15 divers here to celebrate my 500th dive 3 years ago. The previous manager Nurul, would make us all welcome, greet us warmly every morning, and make sure we were well tended to. She would go the extra mile for us. No house reef dive was ever a “self dive”. We would always have somebody bring us around from the dive crew, sometime Nurul herself would go with us. This year when I went back, the 2 people who greeted me warmly were ex staffers no longer working at CBR, and all part of Nurul’s dive crew. Come on, get your act together. Since Nurul left, this place has had quite a few alarming reviews on trip advisor. Nothing spreads faster than bad reputation. You have all the best resources, beautiful surroundings, and even though there are other new resorts on the strip, there is enough room for everybody. For Malaysians, this is our own backyard. If we love it we will keep coming. But if we don’t, we vote with our feet.…
Great beach and white sand as in the picture ( no filter) If the 12 dives (5D4N) are taken into account then it's not so expensive- so preferably for divers. Our dive master Basha was really good and we had him to ourselves most of the days - we got so many amazing experiences under water. Ok food though somewhat repetitive. The place was mostly visited by Chinese tourists and the common area seemed to be used mostly by the staff as their living room which is a bit unfortunate. The room was modest but not cosy ( however most of the time was spend out doors). Good logistics with pickup and transfer. Recommendable for divers mostly.
Superb dive spots!! Nice simple resort!! Good food!! Good service!! Nice & friendly staffs!! Will visit here again for sure!! Visited here in a total of 15 friends, had a great time hanging around on this island. Security is good with armed forces around the island during the night.
I was there last year and this is one of my favorite place to rest and do my favorite scuba diving activities. The house reef is already very nice, lots of macro, eagle rays, school or turtles ahahaha, frog fish etc. we really enjoy the trip, eat sleep and dive activities . quite place too... i like it
The dive sites around this resort was superb. Even when dive in front of the resort you can find many nice creatures. The dive center staff are friendly and informative. I think this resort really need some maintenance and renovation.