Sabah-based dive operator wins global diving award!


Sabah, 18 November 2020 – A Sabah-based dive operator, Scuba Junkie, has won ‘Best Scuba Diving Dive Centre or Resort in the World for 2020’ in the prestigious Dive Magazine’s annual Travel Awards.

The Travel Awards are chosen by votes from readers worldwide, with Scuba Junkie topping a poll that involved more than 1,000 operators from all over the globe.

Scuba Junkie has its roots in diving Pulau Sipadan since 2004, with the Mabul Beach Resort established in 2009. New centres followed in Kota Kinabalu, and then in Komodo, Sangalaki and Nusa Penida in Indonesia.

A green turtle hatchling after being released from the Mabul Turtle Hatchery, based at Scuba Junkie’s Mabul Beach Resort. (Photo credit: Tino Herrman)

“We are honoured to have won this award” said Richard Owen, Founder and Director of Scuba Junkie. “It has been a difficult year for everyone, so it’s heartening to have the ongoing support from our guests in this way.”

Fittingly, Malaysia was ranked Number 3 for ‘Best Destination’ in the world for diving, an improvement on last year’s placement outside of the Top 10, reflecting Malaysia’s growth in popularity with divers.  Although Sipadan and Mabul are world-renowned destinations, Pulau Tioman and the Perhentian Islands are also becoming more popular for diving holidays.

Diving in such wonderful locations isn’t taken for granted at Scuba Junkie, who foster a sense of responsibility towards protecting the marine environment.

“At Scuba Junkie, we aim to give the perfect blend of incredible underwater experiences with care and love for the marine environment – something vitally important when you are diving iconic destinations such as Pulau Sipadan.” continued Owen.

Scuba Junkie has a strong focus on marine conservation, which Owen believes resonates with their guests. “Conservation of the local environment, both above and below the waves, has been at the heart of Scuba Junkie’s ethos right from our inception,” said Owen.

Divers underwater at Pulau Sipadan (Photo credit: Christian Loader)

“We believe that as divers and snorkellers we are fortunate to experience the joy and beauty of the underwater world and with this comes a duty to protect and conserve.”

“This, combined with a keen focus on safety and high training standards, obviously leaves a lasting impression with our guests, who have chosen us time and time again for this and the fantastic dive experiences offered in all locations.”

This strong focus on marine conservation follows through to the other dive centres in Indonesia, who shared the Travel Award. 

“We are truly delighted to have won this award, it is a fitting reflection on our dedicated staff who share their love for diving and conservation with all of our guests.” said Rohan Perkins, Director of Scuba Junkie in Indonesia.

Richard Owen concluded – “We thank all of our guests for this award, and on behalf of all the Scuba Junkie staff and management, we look forward to welcoming them back for more incredible diving, when it is safe to do so.”