So we found out about this place called Pom Pom Island last year at MIDE (Malaysian International Dive Expo), I’d honestly never heard of it before and couldn’t even point to a region on the map where I thought it might be.
It turns out, it’s in Sabah, about 30 mins boat road from Semporna, which is about 2 hours drive from Tawau airport. It’s not surprising though, with there only being 2 resorts on the entire island. One is a proper high end resort with cabins on stilts called Pom Pom Island Resort, rooms go from RM600-800 a night and it’s not a particularly dive oriented place.
The resort we found out about was Celebes Beach Resort (CBR) who were offering a 3d2n dive package for RM999 (regular price RM1280). It’s a pretty good deal as it includes return transfer from Tawau including the boat and unlimited shore dives (and yes it has a really nice house reef).
We decided that was too short, so we ended up going for 5d4n back in May, we booked the trip last December and have been excited about it ever since! I haven’t been diving since my birthday last year at Pulau Weh.
It was quite a trek to get there, including getting up at 4.30am to catch a 7.30am flight (flight is around 2hrs+), then a 2 hour van drive, then the boat across – I think it’s about 7 hours in total door to door. But the view from the boat across from Semporna set us in the right mood straight away.
There was 13 of us in total, 11 divers and 2 non-divers – quite a gang This was what greeted us when we stepped off the boat onto the island, blue skies and clear emerald waters – really a paradise.
Another awesome thing about CBR is it directly faces the sunset, so after a hard day diving you can just chill and take in the sunset with the gentle sea breeze and the sound of lapping waves.
Well that was the case unless you had a bunch of Chinese tourists in front of you shouting at each other and doing cheesy poses for the entire sunset…yes that happened.
Other than that is was spectacularly peaceful and beautiful.
This is the beach directly in front of Celebes Beach Resort, and yes it’s rather nice You can just walk straight in from there to dive the house reef.
It’s a cute resort, it has air-con and hot water (although if it’s doesn’t rain much the water gets salty as the water table depletes).
All meals are included (breakfast, lunch, tea time and dinner) and there’s a free flow of tea/coffee/milo and water. You can also buy beer & soft drinks at fairly reasonable prices.
This is the whole gang including the 2 dive masters (Matt & Graham) and the Instructor/Resort Manager Nurul.
I think it’s pretty safe to say we’d head back there again, beautiful place, chilled vibe and REALLY good diving. I’ll write about the diving aspect in the next post. It’s not the cheapest place to go, and it is a trek to get there but IMHO it’s totally worth it.
Both Air Asia and MAS fly there, you can get the tickets pretty cheap during promos, so check it out. You can find Celebes Beach Resort on Facebook too here.
Goodbye for now Pom Pom.
We shall meet again!