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mabul/sipadan Dec 2012


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#1 njcfm

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 02:09 PM

my wife and I are headed to mabul/sipadan for 5 days and 4 nights in December, we currently have 2 problems
1) not sure where to stay
2) want to do whatever we can to ensure we get to dive sipadan

I know it is a quick trip and that appears to be why we are having such a hard time getting a guarantee, however I have heard that these really don't mean anything and getting to go to sipadan is sort of a right place right time thing on a daily basis.

Is this area "busy" in early december? should getting the guarantee be a requirement or are the chances good we would be able to make the trip anyway, even if we have to pay the $200 to purchase a pass from another resort?


We have spoken to an agent about almost all of the resorts in the area and at the moment the following have "guaranteed" at least 1 day in Sipadan.

-borneo divers - they will guarantee at least 1 day at sipadan
-seaventures - they will guarantee at least 1 day at sipadan
-SMART - no guarantee and no promises that we'll be able to purchase a pass either
-pulau mataking reef resort - no guarantee and a $110 fee per person, plus the fee to try to get a pass from another resort
-Sipadan water village - will guarantee at least 1 day at sipadan (however this is a much longer trip, and only 2 dives)

We are looking to book this quick, and I'm curious as to what wetpixel's experiences are at these places:
-Are they clean?
-Decent food?
-Which would you go with?

thank you in advance!

Edited by njcfm, 25 October 2012 - 02:09 PM.

On the rock that is Bermuda, if anyone is visiting let me know

#2 eyu

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 04:15 PM

We stayed at Sipadan Water Village, it was wonderful. You have your own private bungalow sitting over a reef and the food was good. The big plus was that we went to Sipadan daily. SWV always got permits, but that was a few years ago and I do not know if the permit system has changed. I would go back to SWV.

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#3 Luko

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:23 AM

Been 5 times with Borneo Divers, would recommend them anytime.
When they guarantee at least one day diving in Sipadan within 5 days, they're on the safe side. I was at Xmas time in 2010 for 5 days, I had the opportunity to dive 3 times in Sipadan but skipped the last day and gave our permits (my wife and daughter) to another lucky family since I was feeling a bit cold at the time and didn't want to stay away from the bungalow for the full day.
Borneo Divesr is located right on the best house reef in Mabul : Paradise 2. So even when you're not going to Sipadan you can either take the diveboat to Mabul/Kapalai or enjoy diving from the jetty by yourself.

SWV, Kapalai and SMART and a slightly more upmarket than Borneo DIvers but their housereef is not as good. SMART is a larger resort with less chances to go to Sipadan.

Seaventure is located on an old oil platform. Even though it's known as a party place, I wouldn't like to stay there. more budget than teh other resorts.

Mataking is very far away.

Edited by Luko, 27 October 2012 - 08:25 AM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#4 kun1

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:36 AM

I wouldn't describe Seaventures as a "party place". It has a sociable atmosphere, food is served buffet style and everyone eats together but there are plenty of places to find your own space. If you haven't personally stayed their how can you comment on the resort....

#5 njcfm

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:52 AM

based on the advice we received and more importantly the happiness of my wife, we are going with SMART. All I can do it hope that we can get to Sipadan at least once, I plan on doing the house reefs and other spots on most days.

Thank you all for your opinions and advice.
On the rock that is Bermuda, if anyone is visiting let me know

#6 Luko

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 08:32 AM

If you haven't personally stayed their how can you comment on the resort....

Well, Mr.Replycheck

Just if you have ever been yourself on Seaventure, you may have noticed it's just in front of Borneo Divers pier.
And probably you may have noticed also that large areas of water is prone to bring sounds from the platform.
At daytime that was hammering on the metal structures (what a nice sound! that was an endless joke for all Borneo divers guests sipping their beer on the jetty. Trying to guess what was happening on the platform), at nighttime that was sounds of music, playing guitar, etc. something you may only find at Uncle Chang for instance but seldom in the other resorts. Then partying, socializing, where's the limit and who cares btw?
It may also happen that I have diving friends who stayed at Seaventures and told me about their experience.

That's how I "can" (sic) comment, now probably the first thing you should ask yourself is if you "may" comment on other people replies.

Edited by Luko, 28 October 2012 - 08:33 AM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#7 kun1

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

Well, Mr.Replycheck

Just if you have ever been yourself on Seaventure, you may have noticed it's just in front of Borneo Divers pier.
And probably you may have noticed also that large areas of water is prone to bring sounds from the platform.
At daytime that was hammering on the metal structures (what a nice sound! that was an endless joke for all Borneo divers guests sipping their beer on the jetty. Trying to guess what was happening on the platform),


I have no idea what this means, it doesn't make any sense.


I have stayed their a few times now.

They have a live band which plays roughly once a week. It's a bit of fun and entertainment. Hardly club Amnesia...

Yes, i noticed Borneo divers, i haven't stayed there so i didn't comment on it.

I also know a lot of other divers who have stayed at various resorts across the globe, i wouldn't give my opinion on any of them without staying there first.

I can comment on your comment, because this is a forum where we discuss comments ;-)

#8 Luko

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 02:05 PM

I have no idea what this means, it doesn't make any sense

Ok, next time I'll try to write for the more challenged ones.
Day time, hammer, bang bang, a never ending project.
Night time, guitar, ting ting.
Got it now?

Hardly club Amnesia

Hmmh...Show me where someone mentioned that. Some reading problems : you were talking about making sense, weren't you?

I can comment on your comment

Of course you "can"... Do you know the difference between "can" and "may"?
The question was posted in order to give your opinions on the resorts NOT on what the other posters wrote about the resort. Got it?

Edited by Luko, 28 October 2012 - 02:07 PM.

Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#9 kun1

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 01:15 AM

I may comment on whatever i like, this is a public forum.


You said Seaventures is a

party place.

A opinion based on zero visits to the resort in question.

I wanted to give the op a opinion based on someone who's actually been to the resort.

That's it.

#10 Uli Kunkel

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 04:57 AM

Seaventures has a good thing going- last time I was there I believe that you could dive the house reef under the platform for free during the day? It's a great site, but unless you are diving nitrox you could probably only dive there once a day as the entire site sits at about 18m. Also it is a pain to dive in the current.

Definitely wouldn't call Seaventures a "party place" ...

I'd say go with Borneo Divers if its still one of your choices.

#11 alfred

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 10:30 AM

Sipadan Water Village is an amazing place to stay. You have your own personal bungalow seated over an offshore and the meals is excellent. The big plus was that you go to Sipadan everyday.

#12 gee13

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:33 AM

Hey Luko

Sounds like you need to go diving again LOL

Now lets see thats next month right?

#13 Luko

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:48 AM

Hey Luko

Sounds like you need to go diving again LOL

Now lets see thats next month right?

You're right Gavin, the good thing below is you can't hear the grouches or the bores from above. ;)
How did you go in Underwater Festival?
Pls have a look at my Flickr photo gallery and leave a comment.
Galleries in Pbase : Ambon & Maluku, Bangka & Bali, Komodo & Maumere, Moalboal, Mabul & Sipadan.
Vanuatu incl.SS Pres.Coolidge wreck.

#14 gee13

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:18 AM

Not the best year for me Luko, but I'll send some up your way for you to check out.. As to go back on topic I second what Luko said.. At times but not always Sea ventures had some loud music playing at night but they didn't go to late not like the karaoke disco in Malapascua which ran til 1am every night I was there!

To the OP Im not sure why you chose SMART tbh.

Everyone ive dived with that went there claimed the lowest opportunity to visit sipadan.. Good luck anyway. Things may have changed. Then again not diving Sipadan means you get to check out some great macro around mabul, kapalai or si amil.

Edited by gee13, 02 November 2012 - 07:41 AM.


#15 njcfm

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

Not the best year for me Luko, but I'll send some up your way for you to check out.. As to go back on topic I second what Luko said.. At times but not always Sea ventures had some loud music playing at night but they didn't go to late not like the karaoke disco in Malapascua which ran til 1am every night I was there!

To the OP Im not sure why you chose SMART tbh.

Everyone ive dived with that went there claimed the lowest opportunity to visit sipadan.. Good luck anyway. Things may have changed. Then again not diving Sipadan means you get to check out some great macro around mabul, kapalai or si amil.


as stated the decision of where to stay was encouraged by my wife, being able to go to Sipadan for 1 day is all we are asking for. I'll be happy diving anywhere. We live in Bermuda and dive every weekend, not much life but love being in the water
On the rock that is Bermuda, if anyone is visiting let me know

#16 eyu

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:24 PM

Sipadan Water Village was great, having your own private bungalow with an open deck overlooking the ocean was wonderful. Besides going to Sipadan, their house reef Paradise 1 & 2 were also exceptional dives.

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