An absolutely idyllic Borneo Island Resort in Sabah
For those looking for scuba diving vacations, don’t make your travel plans before taking a look at Mataking Island in Sabah. On Mataking Island, you can indulge in being a beach bum or spend your days scuba diving. I have found the perfect island getaway, located in a perfect setting. Picture this, white sandy beaches, coconut trees, surrounded by the sea. Beautiful chalets, modern facilities and a resort spa. This is as good as it gets in Sabah. Located in the vicinity of the world famous dive site, Sipadan in the Celebus Sea. This is The Reef Dive Resort on Mataking Island.
Mataking Island Dive Resort
The Reef Dive Resort
The Reef Dive Resort is built on the island, Mataking Besar which means Big Mataking, constructed in traditional architectural design that reflects the local native culture and lifestyle. The Resort accommodates about up to 70 guests, in rooms equipped with air-conditioning, attached bathroom with hot shower and fresh water, and other amenities. The accommodations are 8 King’s executive Chalet (bungalows), 12 Premier Deluxe & 12 Deluxe rooms (lodges). As befits it name, The King’s chalets are spacious (700 sq ft) with wide sliding doors that opens out onto a private sea view balcony, and comes with an attached bathroom where guests get to soak up in a tub while enjoying the serenity of the sea view or sunset.
The Premier Deluxe and Deluxe rooms are slightly smaller rooms, which in turn makes it beautiful and cozy. The Deluxe rooms has a sea view and their own little private garden in the front porch.
Check In time: 2.00pm
Check Out time: 10.00am
Food & Recreation
The Reef Restuarant is an open-air restaurant serves a mixture of Asian and Continental cuisine, meals are presented in buffet style. Complimentary snacks and hot tea/coffee will be provided in between meals. The Coral Bar opens from 9.00am to 11.00pm.
There is a souvenir shop which sells basic toiletries, and other souvenir items ranging from t-shirts, post-cards and local handicraft products. The reception centre has a library and satellite television for guests who might want to take a break from water activities, or want to have a quiet night. Wireless broadband internet service is also provided for a fee.
The Jamu Spa
The Jamu Spa promotes “wellness for body and soul.” Close your eyes and imagine the sound of splashing waves, the tranquility in an tropical island far away, and the scent of tropical floral floating through the warm air.
Jamu is traditional remedies for beauty and health, using aromatic oils and herbal ingredients.
The Dive Centre
The Reef Dive Resort at Mataking is the ultimate base for exploring and experiencing this pristine corner of the world, with over 30 different dive sites to choose from, covering not only Mataking but also 6 neighboring islands. This is a scuba diving vacation spot, and a haven for underwater photographers. You must see the video for the amazing underwater marine life. You can rent digital cameras with underwater casing for those amazing snapshots of the marine world.
You can take a break from your scuba diving vacation, snorkeling is just as much fun. How about fishing trips to the nearby islands, or go ocean kayaking? Grab a picnic lunch and go for a walk. Night time activities include jungle trekking and turtle watching.
What People Say
You can read what people say about their stay on Mataking Island. For more scuba diving vacation reviews, just Google [Mataking Island reviews] and read unbiased reviews of this resort.
“Arriving at the island confirmed we had made the right choice. It is a small island with clear waters and beautiful beaches. At the end of the island is a sand bar which at low tide allows you to walk across to another small island. We are divers but decided not to dive and to use the time to relax and snorkel. We saw as much snorkeling around the island as the divers saw (turtles, moray eel, barracuda and much more)
Our rooms were kept clean and tidy and all of the staff were incredibly friendly and accommodation…” review by OrangutanUk, April 29,2009, www.TripAdvisor.com.
Mataking Island is divided into 2 islands, Mataking Besar (big) and Mataking Kecil (small). It is 40 arces of sandy beach, greens and coconut trees, with noni and pine trees. The picture perfect image of a tropical island paradise. The reef structure surrounding the island is a combination of slope and wall where it drops to more than 100 meters. This is what makes the area around here such an amazing dive site. The water is crystal clear and the visibility is about 40 feet at good weather condition.
On the eastern shore, the Alice Channel stretches across to the world famous island of Sipadan. You can see the amazing colorful underwater marine life at dive sites like The Garden of Eden, Turtle playground, Coral Garden and Picturesque Reef. Under the sea is full of species of small and big fishes, such as leaf fish, giant frog fish, ghost pipe fish, blue ribbon eel, schooling yellow tail barracudas, rainbow runner, green and hawksbill turtles, many species of nudibranch, sweet lip fish, unicorn fish, gobies and occasional whale shark.
This small island is a few acres in size and is connected to the Mataking Besar by a strip of sand bar which is clearly exposed during low tide. You can walk from Mataking Besar to this island in minutes. These two islands are havens for both macro and pelagic marine creatures which will makes it such a hit for all scuba divers and underwater photographers. For sun bathers and leisure seekers, these islands are second to none. The ambiance of sunrise and sunset is simply magical to your scuba diving vacation.
Environmental Friendly Practices
Running a eco-friendly resort needs environmental friendly practices. Especially in such a wonderful picturesque location. Scuba divers are naturally concerned about the environment and the creatures within the sea. I am informed that the Reef Dive Resort implements the various measures to control the impact on the surrounding area.
- Fresh water is transported from the Semporna for the resort’s and guests’ daily consumption, rather than being drilled from the island. This avoids any disturbance to the eco-system.
- All sewage is piped into an underground septic tank to avoid discharge into the environment.
- Garbage is transported back to Semporna for disposal.
- Artificial reefs are created to provide natural shelters for the marine life and to assist in the regrowth of coral reefs. Guests are also able to assist in the construction and deployment of such artificial reefs during their stay in the resort.
You have to book with GTS Travel Service Sdn Bhd, they are the sole representative for The Reef Dive Resort. Their office is located in Tawau, and you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.mataking.com.
There are flights that fly direct to Tawau or via Kota Kinabalu, depending on your point of origin. Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines also fly direct from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau. When you land at Tawau Airport, there will be a van or coach that will transfer you to Semporna. From Tawau airport to Semporna jetty is about 1 and a half hours by coach.
Semporna is the transit point for guests going to Mataking Island. So, you will set off at Semporna jetty for a 45 minute boat ride to get to The Reef Dive Resort. However, the boat departs for the island twice a day, at 9.30 am and 4.00 pm. So if your flight gets in after 2.00 pm at Tawau Airport, you won’t make the last boat. In that case, you can either spend the night in Tawau or Semporna. I would recommend Tawau since the night life in Semporna is really quiet.
When it’s time to depart from the island, the boat leaves at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm. Make sure you book your flight accordingly. It’s best to confirm the departure date with the sales office, or less you might miss your flight altogether.
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