Mataking Island - Located latitude119 degrees and longitude 4 degrees and 35 minute. Is about 40minute boat ride from the main land of Semporna, province of Sabah Malaysia.
The Island is about 40 arces and lies on the edge of continental shelf surrounded by fringing reef of hard and soft coral, In this island there is only one resort "The Reef Dive" Resort of Mataking. (http://www.mataking.com/)
This is a trip that I anticipate for a long long time..... This trip suppose to happened some time around year 2008, however due to my wife pregnant we have to postpone the trip till she delivered and ready for dive.
To reach Mataking Island you can take airasia, MAS or any airline that reach Tawau airport, from the airport there will be land transfer arrange by the resort to take you from Tawau to Semporna which take about 1.5 hours, from Semporna is just another 40 minute boat ride to reach the island.
We are staying chalet room which are consider a better one, overall the staying is great, comfortable and a very friendly staff around. However the price is a bit on the high side considering the food, dive and accommodation.
As for diving...... Mataking is well know as a macro haven, you can find lots of nudibranch, shirmp, lobster, sea turtle and even pipe fish. But please do not expect something big like manta, whale shark, school of baracuda, jack and etc.
During the night there will be some cultural dance to keep you entertain and you will be amaze with the dancer, why? not because they are superb, just because you can see those dancer are the waiter, waitress and even dive master.....lol....
The highlight of the trip is our 1 day trip to Sipadan island which took about 80minute with fast speed boat from the resort.
Diving in Sipadan is absolutely amazing, the amount of shark, turtle and other sea life you see is just amaze you. Till this trip I have clock around 40++ so far the best is Manta Ray in Thailand, but Sipadan just a different world after all.
Due to the formation of Sipadan most of the dive is a wall dive because Sipadan is basically bottomless (about 600meter deep). Sipadan is the place I will definitely going again because this trip I only able to make 3 dive in Sipadan, In fact I just make my booking to stay in Kapalai Water Village from 4th August to 8th August 2011.
Back to Mataking....... Like what I said before price in Mataking is a bit on the high side, however Mataking is much more suitable for romantic couple or family that looking for exclusive holiday with some diving and family getting together. For hardcore dives I think with the amount of money paid I would suggest Sipadan, as for me this is much like a annual honeymoon trip so is still not too bad. In total we spend about RM 7k for 2 person all inclusive, in term of exclusiveness still no way near our honeymoon to Maldive but the amount of money paid is also different.
Here are some photo