Scuba Diving Locations - Koh Tao Thailand
Diving in Koh Tao Thailand
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scuba diving locations - Sipadan Sabah - Malaysia
Diving Sipadan – Dive Sites Review
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scuba diving locations - Mabul & Kapalai - Malaysia

Standing in The Shadow Of Sipadan
Are Two Amazing Islands

Diving Mabul & Kapalai Islands - Borneo

I have seen other places like Sipadan 45 years ago. Now we have found again an untouched piece of art.” Late Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, 1988.


When diving Mabul and Kapalai, you'll truly be gifted with some stunning waters. Located in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) the basis of Malaysia's claim as a home to world class diving. Specifically offering a top class mixture of diving experiences depending on where you are, you can find anything from larger animals like Hammerhead sharks to smaller, yet stunningly colourful fish around the pristine coral reefs. In addition to inquisitive turtles swimming everywhere, swirling tornadoes of barracudas and also without doubt tons of wonderful macro life! All within a few dives across most of these Borneo dive sites around Mabul & Kapalai and Sipadan.

Mabul and Kapalai Diving

Mabul and Kapalai are famous for muck diving and macro photography. Many divers and macro photographers come to Mabul and Kapalai Diving especially for its macro-life underwater species. Yes, it is Nudibranch Heaven! There are both reefs and artificial reef around Mabul and Kapalai, both of which have a reputation for their amazing bio-diversity. Our favorite dive sites where Mabul house reef and Lobster Wall.

Besides the fantastic diving Mabul has to offer it cannot go unsaid that the island itself is simply beautiful. Although it may be small, with sunsets like this, which here by the way are nothing special after a few days diving each evening, hosted up on stilts, relaxing with this view while the water laps gently below you is an experience in itself.

Some say that the term Muck dive originated from diving here and as macro monsters and nudibranch addicts we couldn't resist this location!
Diving Mabul Island Sabah Malaysia Sunset

Mabul Dive Sites

Artificial Reef | Crocodile Ave | Eel Garden | Froggy Lair | Lobster Wall | Ray Point

The Artificial Reef – This site is on south side of Mabul, its is mostly made of artificial reef objects constructed from wooden towers with crates and rock piles Here you will find many different types of marine life. At first glance you may mistake it to be only a bunch of boring old junk when in fact it is a habitat for an astonishing array of critters and creatures

Crocodile Avenue - Mabul Island may seem a little slow for many divers but for macro-lovers and photographers it is a haven of critter discovery. As with many of the dive sites here, progress should be slow and deliberate with eyes scanning the floor and every feature on it for sightings that you will miss if you fin off looking straight ahead

Eel Garden – Again, some people might miss the rich rewards when scuba diving at Mabul dive sites, especially eel garden, where is your patient and willing to move slowly in search of rare species you will find them here! On the sandy seabed (approx depth of about 20 metres onwards) you'll spot loads of small lairs and tunnels home to shy colourful gobies of various species, blue ribbon eels and a carpet of Nudibranch delights which you can top off with some nice close ups on cleaning shrimp.

Froggy Lair – Keeping keen eyes pays off here and you will not miss its gems. Suspended particles in the water can make for what some would call poor visibility but its still good by most world dive site standards. The point is this should not matter, as you won't be staring off in the distance looking for passing sharks, rather you should be seeking out delights closer to your mask. That explains why there are mixed reviews I read for this dive site.

Lobster Wall - Lobster Wall is a slope running down to about 20m. The dive site consists of a colourful reef edges with various species of nudibranchs different types of pipefish and eels oh and the occasional lobster if your eyes are good. Start off on reef edge near the shallows and work your way down gently along the sloping wall. The wall is full of holes and a network of tunnels behind the main wall of the reef

Ray Point – Splashing in here into the water right above the reef and descend gently down the slope… no prizes for guessing what you’ll probably see most here!

Kapalai Dive Sites

Cleaner Station | Gurnard Point | Lobster Rock | Mandarin Valley | Spotted Ray Channel

Cleaning Station – A nice and easy dive where you descend to the top of the reef at about 5m depth before making your way down the slope whilst you check out various Nudibranch and leaf fish as well as the resident turtles

Gurnard Point - This is another site which is abundant in sea life. Having back-rolled off the boat, you can choose to explore either the lively reef wall or the sandy rubble bottom or both.

Lobster Rock - Diving at Lobster Rock can be dived in many ways i've heard, make your way reefward enjoying the colourful reefscape of soft and hard corals or sifting through the hard corals and nooks and holes to critters such as nudibranchs and small pipefish oh and as the name suggests, lobsters!

Mandarin Valley – a beautiful coral slope where its best to go slow so you don't miss the more camouflaged critters like stonefish and frogfish. Like all of the dive sites here, both small rare fish and invertebrates are in abundance, living without the threat of Sipadan's many dangerous reef predators.

Spotted Ray Channel - As with all the dives at Kapalai, this is a nice relaxing wander in relatively shallow water. Down the channel as you go you can find many creatures here including a lavender frog fish, very nice!

Have You Been Diving Mabul or Kapalai?
Comment and Let us Know Your Dive Stories!

Andrew Jennings
Andrew Jennings
You host and creator of underwater clicks.