Source: Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort Facebook
When it comes to Malaysia, there really is no shortage of pristine islands where you can have your moment in the sun, sea and sand. In east Malaysia, there are also many wonderful dive spots, and Sipadan island is one of the most famous ones.
There is a reason for this, as Sipadan and its neighboring islands of Mabul and Kapalai are oceanic islands, meaning that they have deeper waters than the islands in west Malaysia which are mainly reef islands where you’ll see smaller and more colorful reef fish.
Source: Sam Power@Unsplash
The diving experience in Sipadan island, Sabah is so unrivaled, that it has been named one of the top 10 dive spots in the world. It is also one of the only diving spots in Malaysia where you can see Oceanic pelagic fish.
This means that the sea life here is from a deeper part of the ocean. You’ll be able to see barracudas, jackfish and bump head fish. Some of them will be swimming in large schools along the dive sites, in beautiful tornado formations.
More importantly, you’ll also come into contact with grey reef, white tip and black tip sharks, as well as many species of turtles like green and hawksbill turtles who will swim up to the shallows where you can see them clearly.
Photo by Colin + Meg on Unsplash
Many people don’t know that in order to visit the Sipadan, you will have to obtain a permit. This is because Sipadan is a protected dive site. There are two types of permits available, which is the diving permit and non-diving permit.
A limited number of about 176 permits are issued on a daily basis for divers, which entitles you to one day of diving in Sipadan island itself. These permits are issued by Sabah Parks, and you can obtain one once you book yourself a place at one of the resorts or tour operators.
The tour operators or resorts will be responsible to submit your names and the necessary paperwork to the authorities. So if you plan on diving, make sure your diving certificates and other documents are in order.
Sipadan National Park is actually quite easily accessible. It is located on the eastern side of Sabah in Malaysia, off the coast from a town called Semporna. To get to Semporna, you can take a flight from Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu to Tawau airport, and then catch a bus to Semporna town.
From Semporna town, just locate the jetty and you’ll be able to find a boat to the island you’re staying on, which will take an hour or so.
Since 2005, resorts and other types of permanent buildings have been forbidden on Sipadan itself. This was done to protect the island’s unique ecological makeup. Therefore, visitors have to stay on one of the nearby islands including Mataking, Kapalai and Mabul. Here are some of the Sipadan resorts that will be able to host you, if you’re planning a diving trip to Sipadan.
The Sipadan Mabul Resort
Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash
The Sipadan Mabul resort offers comfortable and modern accommodations in the form of chalets located on Mabul island. Sipadan’s diving spots are just 15 minutes away by boat. Each chalet is equipped with Wifi, an ensuite bathroom and toilet with warm water, as well as air conditioning. Check out our Sipadan island package or non-Sipadan packages for this resort.
Source: Mabul Water Bungalow website
Enjoy some pampering at the 4-star Mabul Water Bungalows built above the crystal clear waters of Mabul island. Each room is a spacious 40 square meters, which you can have with our Water Bungalow packages.
Source: Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
You’ll be well taken care of at the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort, on the island of Kapalai which is just beside Mabul. The chalets here are made of wood and perched over the waters of the island. You’ll be able to peer out of your Sipadan Kapalai chalet and get a glimpse of the diverse marine life here.
Borneo Divers Mabul Resort
Source: Borneo Divers Mabul Resort Facebook
In addition to just offering you a place to stay, the Borneo Divers Mabul Resort on Mabul island also offers diving courses and training, as they are a PADI 5-Star dive centre. They cater to beginners as well as experienced divers.
It’s no doubt that Sipadan will take your breath away, and if you hear Sabah calling your name, it’s because there are many more islands to discover. Here we also have holiday packages for Pom Pom island and Lankayan island.
Remember that it’s best to savor Sabah by returning to it many times, as it holds unlimited wonders with each visit.