9th september 2010 – over the hari raya holidays, my colleagues and i decided to go for a scuba diving/rest & relax trip to mabul island. we can either a) take a 50-minute flight from kota kinabalu to tawau, then take a one-hour journey via van to semporna, followed by a 45-minute boat ride to mabul island or b) take a 9-hour coach ride from kota kinabalu to semporna, and then a boat ride to mabul island.
we chose option b) as it was cheaper. due to the fact that we travelled during the raya period, coach fare was understandably more expensive than usual at RM75 from kota kinabalu to semporna. we chose to ride with dyana express sdn bhd as it is more established locally. to secure the seats, our tickets were purchased several days earlier at the inanam bus terminal. we departed from kota kinabalu at 7.30pm sharp. the coach is air-conditioned and comes with a toilet (which i did not use). they have a television screen which was showing some english movie. but i did not bother to watch as the screen was too small from where i was sitted, and raya songs were blasting from the stereo. i managed to sleep on and off during the 9-hour journey.
we arrived at semporna around 4.30am. usually, there will be food stalls selling breakfast. however, as we travelled during the raya holidays, there was not a single food stall in sight. my colleagues decided to have junkfood for breakfast while waiting for the automated teller machine to start
vomiting cash service at 6am. we needed to withdraw cash to pay the dive operator – scuba junkie as they do not accept credit cards.
with about an hour to kill before we could use the atm, i walked around snapping pictures.
muslims gathering at a nearby mosque in semporna for morning prayer at the start of the hari raya.
after withdrawing sufficient amount of cash, we walked for 15 minutes to scuba junkie, stopping at a coffee shop along the way for our breakfast. usually, their office will start operation at 8am or so. as it was the raya holidays, we got to wait til 9am! we sauntered to the nearby scuba junkie backpacker to wash up.
feeling more refreshed, we walked to the nearby ocean tourism centre to kill time. *pixelated my early morning face*
*picture courtesy of colleague
at 9am, we were at the scuba junkie office, doing what we needed to do. i paid RM300 for 3 dives at mabul island, RM100 for return semporna-mabul boat ride, RM160 for 2 nights stay and RM2 (malaysian) jetty fee. once that was done and out of the way, we made our way to the jetty and boarded a boat for a 45-minute ride to mabul island!
once we reached scuba junkie mabul resort, we had to wait til 2pm to check in to our room. but we were way too tired to walk around the island after the long journey, that we resorted to rest at the bar area after our lunch. *picture courtesy of
our RM80/night dorm-style room (inclusive of meals). on the first night, we had a lady from berlin staying with us. the following night, some caucasian guy took over the bed above me. the room was basic but clean. no air-conditioner though. but the fan was sufficient to keep us cool.
*picture courtesy of colleague*
later, we ventured around the resort. this walkway leads to the jetty.
certain parts of mabul island can be polluted with plastic bags, cans, nappies, et cetera. my colleague saw a local child taking a dump in the sea. i wish more can be done for the cleanliness of this island.
sipadan water village resort, nearby our resort.
we later snorkelled around this jetty. we even managed to spot a turtle!
at night, we spent our time at the jetty, taking more pictures. after that, we played all sorts of games with the pack of cards i brought in the room. we turned in early to get a good night rest for the next day’s scuba dive.
to be continued…