Whether you’re planning a laid-back holiday, romantic getaway or diving trip, you’ll find plenty of activities and things to do in Pulau Mabul suitable for everybody.

Pulau Mabul is an isolated and idyllic island surrounded by beautiful reefs and aqua waters. It is most popular as a world-class diving site as well as the home to the Bajau Laut tribe - an ethnic group originating from Borneo. Listed below are the top things to do in Pulau Mabul.

Read also: Best Resort in Pulau Mabul: Sipadan-Mabul Resort (SMART)

Top 10 Things to Do in Mabul Island, Sabah, Malaysia

Celebrate Regatta Lepa

Heading to Pulau Mabul in March or April? You are arriving just in time for the grand 3-day Regatta Lepa festival that is held annually. Participate in continuous celebrations spanning across 3 days and pay homage to the age-long traditions of the Bajau Laut tribe during this unique water festival. Among the activities organised are the dragon boat race, tug-of-war, as well as duck catching competition.

Regatta Lepa at Pulau Mabul
Celebrate Regatta Lepa at Pulau Mabul

Scuba Diving

As the main activity in Pulau Mabul, every resort on the island offers house reef diving and for those who are more adventurous - daily boat trips further out into the ocean for serious scuba divings. The incredible marine life corals here makes it the top diving sites in the world, particularly at the Coral Garden, Barracuda Point as well as the Drop Off Point. While diving is available all year long, the prime time to visit is during the dry season throughout March to October.

Recommended: Stay at Seaventures Dive Rig - the world's only one-of-a-kind scuba diving rig that transformed an actual decommissioned oil rig into a resort cum diving center!

Scuba diving at Pulau Mabul
Scuba diving at Pulau Mabul

Visit the Bajau Laut Water Village

No trip to Pulau Mabul is complete without a boat trip to the Bajau Laut village - home to the eminent and legendary Sea Gypsies of Borneo. The tribe lives in wooden boats and houses made by them from scratch, and they spend their entire lives at sea. Today, the Bajau Laut or Pelauk people still remain “stateless” with an undocumented status as they are not given citizenship to any country. However, thanks to the NGOs in Sabah, they are able to secure a piece of land for them to sustain a living.

bajau laut pulau mabul
Visit the Bajau Laut Stilt Village in Pulau Mabul

Snorkeling at Pulau Mabul

Love the sea but don’t own a diving license or don’t intend to get one? Speak to your guesthouse to arrange a trip to main dive sites where you get to join in the fun and witness the beauty of the thriving undersea life and if you’re extra lucky, you can even spot giant turtles! Just remember to keep your camera charged at all times!

snorkeling at Pulau Mabul
Snorkeling at Pulau Mabul

Ocean Kayaking

Want to experience kayaking out the open ocean? At Pulau Mabul, kayak rental is available all year round at approximately RM30 per hour. You definitely need to try the Molokini - a transparent kayak that gives you quick and easy access to the marine life without having to get wet!

Ocean kayak at Pulau Mabul
Ocean kayaking at Pulau Mabul

Catch the Sunrise and Sunset

Sabah is the first state in Malaysia to be blessed by the golden rays. You can get up early and catch the sunrise at around 5.45am, or if you miss this, you can always catch the sunset instead which is equally a remarkable sight to help you end the day in awe!

A Guide to Mabul Island in Malaysia
Catch the spectacular sunrise and sunset at Pulau Mabul

Visit the Tun Sakaran Marine Park

Every corner is postcard worthy at the Tun Sakaran Marine Park - the gateway to a world of spellbinding beauty and untouched wonders. As home to the islands of Boheydulang, Sabangkat, Bodgaya and Salakan, the sand cays of Sibuan, Maiga, and Mantabuan, as well as the patch reefs of Church and Kapikan - it is no wonder why it has become the most photographed region in the world.

THE BEST Things to Do in Pulau Mabul
Pulau Mabul must-do: Visit the Boheydulang Island at Tun Sakaran Marine Park

Stargazing at Mabul Island

Nature is amazing, and Pulau Mabul is the perfect destination for you to open up your senses and absorb the raw beauty of this planet. When the sun goes down, the Milky Way comes into view and light up the sky. Away from noise and light pollution, the island gives you the opportunity to stay enamored throughout your trip.

Stargazing at Mabul Island
Stargazing at Pulau Mabul is a must-do

Island Hopping at Semporna

The quickest and most exciting way to discover the grandeur of this region is by island hopping, where you get access to islands that are otherwise unreachable or restricted to travelers without a guide. Other than the more popular islands like Kapalai and Sipadan, hopping onto a boat can gain you entry to smaller but astonishing islands such as Pom Pom, Mataking and Bum Bum.

Island Hopping at Semporna
Got some extra time on hand? Why not indulge in a day of island hopping at Pulau Mabul!


You can find Instagram-worthy shots at every corner of the island. From capturing the Sea Gypsies to the vast, blue ocean, the sky’s the limit when it comes to taking the perfect photos here. A very important tip to keep in mind is to never give money to the Sea Gypsies in return for their photos to be taken. Instead, you can give them snacks or stationery instead - something they can actually use.

Photography at Pulau Mabul
Photography at Pulau Mabul

Can't get enough of beautiful islands? Check out our list of the 7 Most Beautiful Islands in West Malaysia and look for the best Mabul Island vacation packages to plan for your trip to Sabah!

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