Mabul Island, Sabah

I took my PADI diving certificate almost 3 years ago in Mabul Island. The island is located in Sabah, Malaysia, and ¬†mainly famous due to it’s location, near the Sipadan Island- the best diving site in the world. ¬†There are no resort/ hotels/ B&B in Sipadan. Hence most divers coming to Sipadan stay in Mabul. Or alternatively Kapalai Island or Semporna. Hotels and resort in Kapalai are very expensive, while Semporna is a bit on the far side from Sipadan. Hence, Mabul is the ideal location. You can reach Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai via Semporna.

I went to Mabul with 4 friends. Our journey started with a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Semporna. Then we took an approximately 45 minutes boat ride to Mabul.

We stayed at Scuba Jeff Guest House. The place is suitable if you are going on a shoestring. Bear in mind that facilities there are very very basic.  I did not mind anyway. The food was delicious and hearty, I could sleep well, there were showers and toilet, friendly  host, many other friendly travelers and divers, the host even brought us around the island and provides recommendation- where to go, what to do, where to snorkel, where to shop and etc.  The package we took covered everything- 5 days 4 nights stay, boat transfer, airport transfer, meals for the entire stay, diving equipment and PADI dive course.

The course started on the second until forth day. On the day of arrival, we just went snorkeling and walked around the island.

Photo credit: Brother Azizul, my husband, and yours truly.

This is Scuba Jeff Guest House from the back. This was 3 years ago. I learnt that there has been A LOT of upgrades and changes.

That turtle photo was shoot right in front of our room balcony.

At guest house patio.

Night by the guest house.

Morning by Scuba Jeff GH.

View from patio.

Sunset by Scuba Jeff GH.

This is where you should stay if you want to splurge. At the Mabul Water Bungalow. If I’m not mistaken it cost as high as a few thousand MYR per night?

Mabul Resort. Heard its expensive too- a few thousand MYR. But not as nice as Water Bungalow.

Picturesque village by the beach.

At the village. Mini shop selling sundries. Liquid in small plastic bag, from left to right: vinegar, soy sauce, fabric softener and  clorox bleach. MYR 0.20 each.

The village.

Sunset by the beach village.

Sunset by Mabul jetty.

Boat making by the locals.

Random photos. Jumping into the sea. By the jetty and by the guest house (during high tide).

Jetty. Going back to Semporna, then KL.

Do note that if you want to go to Sipadan, you gotta apply for a permit. You should apply as early as a year ahead, as the number of visitors per day is very limited and access is very strict. Anyways, don’t worry too much. You could still enjoy Mabul and Kapalai. And you could come for second visit! If you are a first time diver (me too!), it is recommended to go diving at other locations prior to Sipadan, and only go to Sipadan after you have prior experience at other dive site. That way, you could gather diving experience, improve your diving skills and¬†would be able to enjoy and appreciate Sipadan better.

Pulau Lang Tengah – Day 3

05.30AM- Woke up

05.45AM- Gathered down stairs. Only Ayu, Ahtuck, Crab, Mr X (forgot his name), and myself. Ija, Azura and Kemal did not joined. Crab suggested us to walk by the beach, which was full of¬† huge rocks. That way¬†was quicker than¬†¬†trekking thru the jungle (45mins to watching spot). We were fine with the idea.¬†Mr X led.¬† Ayu and I wore slippers. So it was kind of difficult to climb. Slippery rocks at the bottom, the higher ones were well… high (had to be spiderman). Plus it was dark! ¬†But we managed. Initially I wore a sweater over my tank top, thinking that it was early morning and should be very cold. Dang i was wrong… we were not even half way, and¬†I was already sweating like crazy, kalah pergi¬†BodyJam for 1 hour.

06.30-ish-¬†Reached the sunrise watching spot.¬†It faces Pulau Redang. Ahtuck set up his camera. I didnt bring mine. Ahtuck took pictures. We chat,¬†enjoy the view, and modeled for Ahtuck’s pics =p

DISCLAIMER: pictures here are courtesy of Ahtuck. If you wish to use any, please give credit to the photographer. Thank you.

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07.30AM Walked back to resort thru the jungle. Walking back was kind of easy as¬†the skies were clear.¬†Crab went back to the resort earlier than us¬†to prepare breakfast for resort guest. Once we reached D’coconut, we woke up the rest.

0800++ Had breakfast.¬†Don offered to guide us to snorkel later. Got back to room. Packed our stuff and transferred them to Ija’s room. We were not able to extend room stay for all rooms, except for Ija’s.

09.30AM Crab joined the snorkeling. Don is the diving instructor there. I think that was the best snorkeling trip within the 3 days!

10.30++ Got back to resort.

11.00AM Hang out at dive centre

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11.30AM Took more pictures but the jetty

12.00PM Azura and I went back to Ija’s room to clean up. Ija, Ahtuck, Ayu and Kemal went for a dip at the swimming pool.

01.00PM Checked out. Took farewell pictures at dive centre. Said goodbye to everyone. Exchange phone numbers.

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01.15PM Get into our boat to Merang

02.00PM Reached Merang. Headed to Kuala Terengganu on Ija’s new car. Had lunch. Went to Pasar Payang. Didn’t buy anything. I was very tired and sleepy. Imagine you woke up at 5.30AM, then rock climbing (as if… hehe) for 20-30mins in the dark… with scratches here and there,¬† then jungle trekking, then went to snorkel under the hot sun, and photo shoot¬†under the hot sun. All within 6 hours. I don’t know where did I get all the energy. I bet it was adrenaline. Island adrenaline. Hehe.

05.00PM Went to a photo shop and made CD copies of photos by Ahtuck. I just sat at a corner of the photo shop as I felt dizzy. Hahaha. over gile. Said goodbye to Ija  and Ahtuck.

05.30PM We took a cab to the airport. At airport, I freshened up + put on my sweater, and just relax.

07.00PM Flight check-in

07.30PM Dinner

08.30PM flight to kl

Pulau Lang Tengah- DAY 2

Before I continue telling stories about day 2, lemme share about the pre-trip. It started when Azura and I wanted to finish our year 2008 leave . We had to finish it by  March09. We planned to go to Redang. Or was it Perhentian? I think initially Redang. Then Azura contacted her friend, Kemal, who has been there before. Kemal then shared with us one URL and said we gotta check it out, and he said just how beautiful that place look, online. When we cheched, it was apparently Pulau lang Tengah. So we all agreed that we should go to Lang Tengah. We basically fall in love with the resort (when we reached the resort, we fall deeper!). Then, Kemal & Azura invited Ayu, Ija, and Ahtuck. We all correspond via email, for trip arrangement. So, consider we did the ice-breaking over he internet. After further discussion, we reached a consensus to go to PLT in April. Hooray!

Ok, now getting back to DAY2 updates. During the first night at PLT, we planned to watch sunrise on the following morning. According to Crab and Don, a good place to watch was 45 mins away from the resort by walking thru the jungle. So, we had¬†to be ready by 5.45AM. Otherwise, we’d missed it, and just watch in-front of the resort at 6.30AM.¬† We chose the latter, as 5.45AM seems to be too early!¬† So, the next morning, we climbed the highest rock in front of our resort. Just a short one, but it was the highest rock there…¬†hahaha. The sunrise¬†was beautiful. But we wished that we chose the 5.45AM option. It would be more beautiful. Anyways, it was okay¬†though, as we had one more day on the island.¬†While waiting for breakfast to be ready, we took more pictures.

 Picture by me. Lawa taks?? hehe

  

Photo by Ahtuck (L-R): Kemal, Ija, Ayu, Azura, Ahtuck, me

Had breakfast at 7.30AM. Changed our cloths¬†(changed from¬†sweater to shirt jer), then went to west wing at around 9 or 9.30AM… The plan was to walk to Blue Coral Resort (the resort which has closed it’s operation), and we had to pass thru D’coconut west wing, and Lang Sari Resort.

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Headed from east to west wing

After passing the west wing, we went to the beach area and walked, until Lang Sari Resort. We hit a dead end. Couldn’t find a way to go to Blue Coral Resort.¬†We did not want to take a risk redah here and there without knowing where to start, and where we would end up be, so we turned back to our resort. Made a few stops at beautiful spots. ¬†I let the pictures below explain the rest.¬†At 11AM, we did our own snorkeling trip at Turtle Bay. If you face the sea at East Wing swimming pool, Turtle Bay is on your left hand side. Seriously, there was nothing much at Turtle Bay. Snorkeling right in front of east wing¬†was better (we did that on day3).

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Gigam lagi

After snorkeling, got back to our room, took a bath and had lunch. ¬†Was so hungreh!¬†It was a rather long lunch session. Sat at dining hall¬†until 2.30PM. Then, went back to our room,¬†rest ¬†and got ready for snorkeling trip at 3.3oPM. 4PM, ¬†another round of snorkelling. Not that good this time, as we were brought at the same place as the day before. There were new groups at the resort. But anyways, we still jumped off the boat and tried to enjoy the trip lah. Hey, its water activities… who wouldn’t enjoy it.¬†It was a short trip as compared to the day before, as¬†many of them wanted to quickly go back to the resort. May be sea sick. Kemal and Ija were patient though they were sea sick too. Such a sport! Our group requested the driver to go back the long way, made¬†a round around the island.. hehe. Once arrive at the resort, we went to the swimming pool again. Then went to¬†west wing again. Jumped into the swimming pool there again cus the pool was so inviting. And the view was so beautiful. Then,we stayed until¬†the sunset.¬†Took more pictures by the beach.

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Dinner at 8PM. With our wet swim suits still on!  Then, went back to our room to take a bath and I came down back hang out with the rest at 9.30PM. Don joined us.

Later we figured out that the shop at¬†Redang Lang ¬†would be opened until midnight. That was the only shop available at the island.¬†Don brought us there. First, we walked to West wing, then went to Lang Sari Resort. We had to get into the resort area, and bypass a jungle. It was completely dark. 100%.¬†I held Azura’s hand all the way. Azura kept pulling and tugging on Don’s shirt, no wonder he kept saying “kejap lagi sampai” or, “dah nak sampai ni”, “sikit je lagi”. Tapi tak sampai2 pun! Rupenye ade drama. Then we reached Blue Coral Resort. I thought it was scary. Cus most of the rooms were¬†dark. There were¬†one or two rooms with lights on, as there was somebody watching over the¬†¬†resort. After passing Blue Coral Resort, we had to get into jungle again. Then, exit by the beach, and finally reached Redang Lang Resort. My goodness, Redang Lang was noisy!!! The kind of noise that I never like. I prefer D’coconut. Cus visitors cannot make noise there. If u did, the management¬†would ask the visitor to go to beach area.

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After buying some souvenirs, we made our way back to the D’coconut. Walking back felt quite fast! ¬†The night was still early. So we climbed the rock in-front of our¬†resort (the sunrise location this morning). Then, just lay and gazed into the night skies.¬†Thousands of stars twinkled above us.¬†Someone said, kat Bukit Bintang pun tak nampak banyak bintang camni (lupa sape cakap). hehee. I¬†saw a shooting star.¬†¬†I made a wish, but¬†couldnt remember what exactly did I wish for… cus¬†I tried to put everything I could think of, together. Hehehe.

Azura and I went straight to our room. Kemal, Ayu, Ija and Ahtuck continued to hand out at dining hall. I slept at 12.30AM. The next day had to wake up by 5.45AM!

Pulau Lang Tengah- DAY 1

I have been¬†procrastinating to update about my trip to Pulau Lang Tengah (PLT).¬† It is something which has to be done. Or else, I will forget the details… like my Angkor trip. So, here it is. The first day at PLT.

DISCLAIMER: most pictures here are courtesy of Ahtuck. If you wish to use any, please credit the photographer. Thank you.

Got out from the house, at 0400, to LCCT. Took the 0430 bus to LCCT, which arrived there one hour later. I freshened up… then checked in at 0600. Later, I joined Azura. She¬†introduced me to Kemal and Ayu. Had breakfast with them. Flight to Kuala Terengganu was at 0705, for 50 mins. Then, we took a cab from airport to Merang jetty.

Reached jetty around 9AM. Our boat ride from jetty to PLT, was at 11AM. So, we had plenty of free time. We browsed thru souvenir stalls, hang out at a cafe, took pictures, and just laze around. At around 1000, Ija and Ahtuck arrived from Kuantan.

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Stalls at Merang jetty (picture by yours truly)

ddsc_00241 The fun-tastic gals. (L-R) Azura, Ayu, me and Ija.

Reached D’coconut Lagoon Resort at almost 12noon.  Had buffet lunch at 1230. The buffet was just average, and not many choices, but  it was fine.

Swimming pool at east wing

Kemal, Azura, me, Ija, Ayu

Lunch and chit-chat, until 1400. Then, Azura and I went back to our room to take a nap (as if… but we slept for one hour). The rest continued hang out. Ayu joined us a bit later. Ahtuck was busy taking pictures and Ija was the¬†model. Btw, Ahtuck was our so called ‘official photographer’ cus he loves photography and has that huge camera and he takes very good photo. Heh.¬† If anyone were to ask me about the room at D’coconut, I‚Äôd say, they seriously need a lot of improvement. Our rooms were very basic and small. The furniture were old, and the bathroom hardware looked cheap. But anyhow, to be frank, these did not bother me much… and I believe my group feels the same cus we hardly spend time in our room except for sleeping and for taking a proper bath (sometime they all just shower by the shower at swimming pool… yes)

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Pictures (L-R):  Dining hall at east wing, swimming pool at east wing (picture was photographed from dining hall), somewhere at east wing, somewhere at east wing, track from east to west wing, same as before, 1st snorkeling trip, sunset at west wing

At 1530, Azura and I went down. Kemal, Ayu, Ija and Ahtuck has already officiate the swimming pool at east wing. Then, we got ready for our first snorkelling trip. Met Crab and Don. Don was the dive instructor/ customer liaison (our made-up position). Crab multitask. He is snorkelling instructor, escort guest to snorkelling trips, works in the kitchen and acts as customer liaison as well. Both of them were very friendly. Sume2 pun lah, except the assistant manager and one reception lady. Macam cold jer.

While getting ready at the diving hut, I saw the pricing schedule of the water sport activities. My eyes caught the word ‚Äúnight diving‚ÄĚ. OK! That is my dream!¬†Don explained that, to go night diving, you¬†gotta have diving license first, and must did¬†20 diving trips prior. Hmm cancel! I was interested to go scuba diving. My group, prefer to relax and enjoy the sea breeze. Rather understandable cus the private beach was so beautiful ok!¬† So, I told the dive instructor, I‚Äôd think about it first.

Snorkelling trip started at 1600.

We snorkel at two locations. I forgot what was the name of the first one. The second, was at Purple Coral. It was near the Blue Coral Resort, which has closed its¬†operation. Purple Coral, was literally… purple! I mean the corals..

When we got back to the resort, we jumped into the swimming pool right away!! The view at swimming pool was picturesque. It faced the sea. A few rooms, were at the right hand side, and atas room tu, open air dining hall.

Then, we went to the west wing. Had to pass a thin jungle to get there. There was a decent enough track with adequate lighting for night.  Just 5-10 mins from east to west wing. West wing has more beautiful and more expensive rooms, with an infinity pool!! Awesome right. We jumped into the pool, posed for more and more pictures (hehe),then had a walk by the beach until dinner time.

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Infinity pool at west wing

 

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Chill & gossip session

Dinner was at 7.30PM. Sat and chat at the dining hall, with our wet swim suits still on, until 11PM. Azura and I went back to our room. The rest swam at swimming pool. Among the good part about this resort, was, the swimming pools. Not many island resort has¬†swimming pool actually. And this resort has¬†two! Both are facing the sea, both have¬†fantastic view, and both open 24 hours. They put chlorine at every 8PM. It is safe to swim again at 11PM. However, there’s no life guard on duty.

I slept at around 12midnight. Brought Angels & Demon to read, but didn’t touch the book at all. Haha!

Our 2nd day there…to be continued…