Mabul Island in Sabah, Malaysia, Named One of the World’s ‘Best Secret Islands’

Travel + Leisure searched the world to compile a list of the Best Secret Islands. Mabul Island in Sabah was featured as one of the best islands in the world with that is not teeming with fish instead of tourists. The travel magazine stated, “Diving enthusiasts should opt instead for the secret island of Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the marine life is on a par with the Galapagos.” The magazine adds, “Even better, the native sea moths, bobtail squids, and elusive paintpot cuttlefish are some of the only inhabitants.”

Diving is a year round activity on this island, with more than eight popular dive sites. It takes approximately 15 minutes or less to reach any of the Mabul dive sites by boat. Most of the diving in Mabul is very shallow with depths from 10 – 60 feet. Marine life that can be seen include fire gobies, crocodile fish, pipefish, cuttlefish, snake eels, sea horses, exotic starfish, and much more.

Mabul Island is reputed to be one of the best destinations for underwater macro-photography in the world. Located in the clear waters of the Celebes Sea off the mainland of Sabah, it is surrounded by gentle sloping reefs. It is considerably larger than the nearby world-renowned Sipadan Island, covering approximately 51 acres
(21 hectares).

Three resorts cater to scuba divers; two are on the island itself while one is on a converted oil rig platform about 1,600 feet offshore. All of the resorts provide day trips for their guests to the nearby Sipadan and Kapalai Islands.

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