I dived at the house reef last year when I was staying at nearby Pom Pom island, and Mataking looked grand, so I decided to try it out.
Check in was a little confusing when we arrived at lunch time, proceeded to eat, went to the reception and were then sent to the bar to fill up forms. After checking in and the first dive a general briefing was given on what to do, safety, options, meal times, etc.
Let me start with the positives. The island, and its smaller sister island, are beautiful with white sandy beaches and fantastic clear blue waters. The basic Garden View unit I stayed in, was renovated and possibly the best dive resort room I have lived in. Later on I was upgraded to a King Villa, which while bigger and beach fronting, was a little tired and dark.
No problems with mosquitoes.
Overall the maintenance was good, rooms and gardens were clean and I felt safe all the way with a security base providing ample protection.
The dive center was well laid out and clean. Equipment was newer than average and kept clean. They even gave a briefing and a tour of the center before the 1st dive. Shore dives were unlimited with boat pickups (unusually generous), and all equipment was prepared and waiting on the boat every day.
The downside? Food was bad. Although they changed the menu daily, generally it was tasteless, boring and lukewarm. That was really disappointing given the prestige of the place. I didn't know if it was to cater for the majority of their foreign customers but in no way did it represent the diversity and quality of Malaysian food.
Secondly, it may have been bad luck, but i only took probably 20 pictures while diving over 4 days. In comparison, I took double or triple of that in every dive off Pom Pom island. Was it the dive masters or just poor weather? I guess I won't know but I will probably go back to Mabul or Pom Pom for macro photography.
In summary, this is a great place for families and couples. For recreational divers who like lazy dives, corals and turtles, this is the place to be.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Reef Dive Resort at Mataking Island is an exclusive romantic & diving destination in the Celebes Sea, located just 40 minutes boat ride from Semporna, East Coast of Sabah in Malaysia. It is a promised island with majestic treasures, natural warmth and friendship for holiday makers, spa lovers, honeymooners and divers alike. Whether it is a retreat for yourself or exciting undersea exploration, you’ll find Mataking the perfect choice.The resort is caressed by the tropical sea breeze. Our executive king chalets, premier deluxe rooms and brand new luxurious beach villas designed in traditional architecture offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation for up to 100 guests in a serene and cozy environment. Enjoy Malaysian and International cuisine with an enticing spread of fresh local seafood or relish the weekend barbecued favorites at our sea facing restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Pulau Mataking Reef Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan