Monday, December 25, 2017

The Lite Backpacker: How to Dive in Borneo on a Budget

Heading to Malaysia and want to do something adventurous? I suggest going for a dive in Borneo, in particular the island of Mabul. The diving in Borneo is spectacular, the water is warm and clear, the wildlife is plentiful and the people are friendly.

If you are a dive enthusiast or just a lover of all things in the ocean then I can’t recommend Borneo enough! It was an amazing experience and one of my all time favourite places to dive, but there are a few things I wish I had thought/known to ask before I left. Hopefully this post can help you plan your own Borneo dive adventure.

Where did I dive in Borneo?

I stayed on the island of Mabul which is off the coast of Semporna and is where most people stay when they dive the world famous Sipidan reef. Unfortunately, because I didn’t get my act together quickly enough, I wasn’t able to dive Sipidan, but the dive spots around Mabul were amazing in my opinion (though obviously I cant compare them to Sipidan).

Is it safe to dive in Borneo?

First things first, never take chances with your safety. It isn’t worth it. There is a travel warning on most of the dive areas in Borneo, in particular Sipidan, due to pirates from the Philippines. I strongly suggest doing your own research to work out if you are comfortable traveling and diving in the area.

At first I was concerned about how many people said they weren’t going to go due to the travel warning, but the more I dug, the more I discovered that there was still a large volume of tourists visiting the area with no harm coming to them. Doing the percentages, I would be safer diving in Borneo than I would be walking the streets in London or New York.

While there, I felt nothing but safe. I can’t imagine how a pirate would be able to kidnap you. I stayed on the island of Mabul which is the launch pad for Sipidan and there was always a Malaysian navy boat in sight.

Not to mention that most of the dive sites were within eyesight of the island, which is densely populated, therefore any pirates would be seen approaching from a long way off. I had zero worries for my safety from pirates… hurricanes maybe, pirates none.

You need to make your own judgement by doing some research, but if you were to meet me on the road and ask for my opinion, I would say go for it.