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

On planning your next escape, consider venturing into the azure water-kissed paradise of Pulau Mabul, where an array of captivating experiences awaits your discovery. Be it a tranquil retreat, a charming romantic getaway, or a daring dive expedition — the island caters to each predilection with an impressive array of things to do.

This hideaway, teetering off the edge of Borneo, gently swaddled by radiant reefs and crystal-clear waters, creates the perfect backdrop for your ultimate leisure exploration. Unwind at the pristine beaches, soak in the solace of sunsets, or step into the thrilling world of underwater marvels, Pulau Mabul unveils an assortment of adventures that suits every taste and temperament.

Delve deeper, and Pulau Mabul offers a rich cultural experience that embellishes your island adventure. The island is not just a vibrant aquatic hub; it's also the dwelling to the fascinating Bajau Laut tribe, an ethnic group that holds a gripping past. Engage with the captivating narratives of the Bajau Laut folks, absorb the nuances of their daily lives and marvel at the resilience of their seafaring legacy. This chance encounter will bridge the divide between a tourist and a traveller, immersing you into the heart of the region's cultural fabric.

Whether you're lacing up your diving boots or donning a dinner suit for a candle-lit beach soirée, Pulau Mabul promises a compelling escapade of sun, sea, and myriad surprises.

Table of Content

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

    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 diving. 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

    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

    Snorkelling 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

    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

    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 enamoured 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 travellers 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
    The white sand and turquoise waters of Pulau Mabul are perfect for photography enthusiasts

    As the sun dips below the horizon, casting an ethereal glow across the idyllic landscapes of Pulau Mabul, you'll undoubtedly find yourself captivated, your heart filled to the brim with unforgettable memories. The island weaves a compelling story of natural beauty, vibrant marine adventures, and profound cultural engagements that awaken the explorer within you.

    Each day comes adorned with new discoveries, charming surprises, and mouth-watering culinary encounters. As you set foot on your journey back, the echo of azure waters and the captivating tales of the Bajau Laut tribe will undoubtedly enamour your recount of this hidden paradise. Each parting glance at the island will leave an enduring imprint, an enticing promise of yet-to-be-explored adventures and a yearning to return. Venture off the beaten path, and who knows what delightful surprises will greet you in this fascinating oasis of the Borneo Archipelago.

    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!

    Remember to share your travel and dining experiences with us on Instagram. Tag @rollinggrace or use #RollingGrace. Safe travels!


    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Mabul is a very beautiful island... I wish to go back there again one day

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. mabul island is my dream destination, booked for my honeymoon but cannot go coz got something came up on the fly sad..

    5. OMG! Just look at the crystal clear water. I would want to visit this beautiful island one day.

    6. Memang dalam wishlist percutian Sis dan family.. oone day..
      Sangat tenangnya lihat kejernihan airnya.. mau kena stay lama di sini..

    7. Oh my god! The ocean kayaking scenery looked so wonderful! So cantiklah the entire location... the water looked so crystal clear and relaxing... I wanna put this in my wishlist seriously... thanks for sharing ya...

    8. suka tengok sabah, sebab dia banyak pulau, pulau pulak bersih dan jernih je. View semua cantik. Memang bila datang Sabah mesti nak datang lagi

    9. I would certainly love to do the water activities here, especially snorkeling and kayaking in a transparent kayak. The place looks amazing.

    10. I wish that Covid goes away soon so I can start state-hopping and visit here. My group has planned our yearly trip here in 2021 but looking at the current situation - we might have to postpone it. I want to swim in the glass-clear sea!

    11. I kalau sampai sini.. i mmg aim nak scuba diving... Cantek betul warna laut dia... Suka tgk

    12. Mabul island indeed is so beautiful! There are so many sea activities that can be done here apparently :)

    13. Rindunya nak pergi pulau2 kat sabah lagi. Hopefully this pandemic cepat2 hilang. I nak pergi pulau2 dekat sabah lagi. This time nak bawak my son as well.

    14. Wow this place is so serene and interesting, i would like to plan my trip there after covid.

    15. Indahnya! Teringin nak sampai sini one day with family. Suka ketenangan, air nya yang jernih. Moga keindahan ini terus terpelihara

    16. So pretty sangat pulau mabul ni kita sumpah tak pernah sampai lagi memang ini adalah salah satu dalam list bucket kita untuk travel tahun ini lepas sahaja habis covid memang kena pergi sini cantik sumpah gilerrr.r..

    17. Been to Mabul before.. Memang sangat2 cantik.. Air dia fuhhhh jernih sgt2.. So in love... Mcm xnk balik ja rasa❤️

    18. Jernihnya air. bestnya dapat explore. lama tak bervacation ni. hmmm bertabahlah

    19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    Post a Comment

    Popular Posts