Staying in place like Mabul is something really interesting. Houses having holes everywhere move with the waves, around is nothing more than water and a piece of the mainland, which actually I went to visit only once. When I reached the mainland on the way back I had the impression that I’m still swinging. Water in bathroom is salty, probably taken from a large rain barrels and mixed with the sea water. Electricity is available approximately from 8PM to 8AM. So you can charge the batteries only during night time. Days are very humid, evenings quite calm and dry, nights are something in between.
Almost every evening we were able to watch beautiful thunderstorms in surrounding. But when one night storm moved to our place and started shaking our wooden houses and wind flew easily through 10 cm gaps between windows it was not so funny ;) Noise was huge and the lightnings were a bit scary. We wondered whether our accommodation will not fall apart ;) But next day, in the morning we were planning to dive, so we just went to sleep keeping all things on the beds just in case the rain would get through all kind of wholes and gaps in the floor, on the walls and in the roof.
Sometimes during high tide you can meet huge (I mean really huge, 1,6 m more or less) turtles swimming just underneath huts and walking platforms. Funny is that children are always there – no matter if it is low tide and no water or if they have to play in the water ;) In fact there are plenty of kinds on the island. They are absorbed with glass balls type of games, some are playing on the beaches, other collect sea fruits from the floor during low tide. Often save things not very well clipped to the laundry lines.They are asked to catch whatever falls into water and I hope there is some nice reward for them ;)
Some more information:
Cheap accommodation on Sipadan and Mabul
Uncle Chang – affordable accommodation on the sea offering Sipadan diving and three meals per day. (Prices in Mabul shops are very high)
Uncle Chang has it only from 8PM to 8AM (mostly).
Safety on Mabul
Is it safe? – there were some problems not so long ago. (click- dailymail.co.uk article) There’s been a number of kidnappings of locals and tourists around Semporna and up the east coast of Borneo. There is now an ESSCOM (Malaysian naval police) patrol boat in the area for Sipadan/Mabul, there is permanent small military base on Sipadan. No one can say it is safe now, but they are doing a lot to take care of tourists.
We bought DiGi at Kuala Lumpur airport – 1,5 GB; 43 RM, it was working even on Mabul! There is also Maxis – 1 GB; 42 RM, they were not able to ensure it will work on Borneo (they said it should, but only 3G)
Getting to Mabul and Sipadan
Tthe nearest airport is in Tawau – good connections from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. It is about 1:40 h from Semporna. And from there about 1 hour by boat.