Mabul is home to 2 villages where visitors can take a break from exploring the underwater world and experience the local Mabul culture.
The state of Sabah in Malaysia is home to more than 50 different ethnic groups, and Mabul Island is the home for one of these groups, the Bajau Laut tribe. Commonly known as sea gypsies, the local Mabul Islanders make their homes on stilts above the ocean in the village of Musu.
There is a second village on Mabul Island known as Suluk, where the local people are also known as Suluk and are thought to have originated in the southern Philippines.
Mabul Island has one school, locally known as Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulau Mabul, or the National School of Mabul Island.
In 2004 it was decided to shut down the commercial side of Sipadan in order to protect and preserve the island. When this happened, a number of dive operators relocated to nearby Mabul Island, which is a mere 25 minutes away by boat.
This became the new launching point for divers wanting to visit Sipadan. However, it was soon discovered that Mabul had plenty to offer divers who were staying right on the doorstep of fantastic macro diving opportunities.
Mabul is home to the weird and wonderful, the tiny and the exotic, and it has now become a top-rated dive destination with the added bonus of being close to Sipadan.
However, for muck divers and those interested in macro photography, Mabul now exceeds Sipadan in popularity.
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