29 Oct - 03 Nov 2009 Mabul

Malaysian Borneo
Sabah aka Land Below the Wind
Arung Hayat Dive Resort +6089782334
Basic double room and full-board package (with the most delicious seafood and fish dishes) in a stilt-house homestay, perched over a coral reef, for MYR 50.- or US$ 14.80.- per person per day.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Arung Hayat Dive Resort on Mabul Island and for directions:

DM Konni: Scuba diving the reefs off Mabul Island and Kapalai Island together with experienced Austrian PADI instructor Wolfgang (who had difficulties to find dive spots deeper than 2 m, ooops) and with Thai PADI dive master Micky (who had difficulties to clear her mask without panicking and abandoning the dive, ooops) from the start-up Sipadan.com dive centre (MYR 105.- or US 31.- per dive, all inclusive) and still marvelling at sea turtles (mostly green sea turtles aka Chelonia mydas) which were like ballerinas floating amidst the corals, foraging for food before their next breath of air, and at a variety of distinctive reef fish, such as crocodile fish (Cymbacephalus beauforti), Indian lionfish (Pterois muricata) and scorpion fish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus).

Exploring the traditional water villages on Mabul Island, inhabited by the Tahusug tribe, Islamic refugees who flew from the Philippines in the 1970s, and watching how they build right on the beach their seaworthy, wooden jungkongs (sales price: MYR 12,000.- for a new 10-m boat, outboarder extra) which are used for both fishing and inter-island transport and meeting Bajau sea nomads, liveaboards who live their entire lives aboard their boats.

Meeting the seasoned Dutch travellers Addie & Bart from Outdorio +31650443986, an excellent internet shop which helps international backpackers, hikers and cyclists to find the most suitable equipment for their individual trips and exchanging our views about memorable travel photography, sustainable travel destinations and practical travel equipment.

Enjoying the speed-boat ride from Mabul Island back to Semporna, thereafter hiring a chauffeured private car for MYR 40.- for the 60-km long ride through vast oil-palm plantations to the modern airport near Tawau, flying with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in an Airbus A 320-200 c. 1,700 km from Sabah back to Kuala Lumpur's KLIA-LCCT at Sepang) for all inclusive (including “supersize” regular luggage up to 15 kg and the usage of the toilet in the plane, excluding food and drinks during the flight) MYR 36.- or US$ 10.- per person and one way, thereafter taking a pre-booked Skybus +60162176950 (MYR 6.50 per person) from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal to Kuala Lumpur Sentral and eventually the ever reliable but always arctic Monorail Train (MRT) for MYR 2.50 per person to our hotel.

Click below for more blog posts about scuba diving in Southeast Asia
22 Feb - 10 Mar 2013 Pulau Tioman
26 Sep - 24 Oct 2012 Tanjung Karang
20 Mar - 07 Apr 2012 Iboih Beach
05 Sep - 15 Sep 2011 Tanjung Karang
13 Nov - 15 Nov 2009 Tulamben

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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