Getting to Sipadan Kapalai Mabul - Tawau

Most visitors fly to Tawau airport or come by bus, minivan or taxi from Sabah’s northern towns of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Sukau and Lahad Datu. There are frequent flights (relatively inexpensive) from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau (2.45 hrs) and from Kota Kinabalu Airport to Tawau (50 minutes).

Tawau arrival flights:

  • Malaysia Airlines, 07.30-08.15 from KKIA (MH2121)
  • Air Asia, 07.00-09.50 from KL (AK5744)
  • Air Asia, 07.20-08.10 from KK (AK6122)
  • Malaysia Airlines, 07.45-09.35 from KK (MH3093)

Once you arrive in Tawau, you will continue by land transfer to the port town of Semporna (1.30 hours).

From Semporna, you will continue on the same day by boat (check the boat schedules) to your accommodation on Kapalai Island (45-60 minutes).

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DIVING IN SIPADAN WITH THE BEST RESORT

SIPADAN KAPALAI DIVE RESORT

A few minutes by boat from the islands of Sipadan and Mabul but a full world away from them lies the exhilarating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of the Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon offering the purest image of natural serenity.

Dive spots are extremely close and can be reached in just a few minutes by speedboat and some of them, actually, just by swimming from the dive center pier. For those who are ready to explore more than the tiny marvels of Kapalai’s macro life, can, in just a few minutes, dive in Sipadan (where big fish and turtles abound) or in Mabul (where silky and muddy bottoms offer different and equally pleasant experiences and opportunities to the lovers of “muck diving”).

With a combination of sun and water in a unique and serene setting with friendly staff, Sipadan-Kapalai is an ideal destination for diver and non diver alike seeking a great holiday experience!

Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is accessible through Semporna, Sabah Malaysia.

sipadan bumphead parrotfish
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
sipadan kapalai dive resort scuba dive diving
Ever since diving celebrity Jacques Cousteau raved about Pulau Sipadan’s diversity of marine life, this dive mecca has been indisputably the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia. It is located off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia’s eastern most state, and lies on the north-eastern corner of Borneo, the world’s third largest island. The Sipadan legend has passed through the world’s diving community to the extent that all divers with an interest in visiting the best sites in the world, have a resort stay near this small island near the top of their wish list.

Sipadan Island was at the top of Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List for ‘The Top Dive Destination in the World’. In fact it shared its top spot with 2 other destinations known for the amazing diversity of their marine life – the Galapagos Islands and Truk in Micronesia.

Blue skies, clear waters, convenient diving and tropical scenery, but it is below the surface where this island really excels. The list of attractions is quite staggering and all the more exceptional as it involves plenty of big fish encounters – barracudas, large schools of jacks and marauding bumphead parrotfish. This is one of the big fish capitals of the world!

Everywhere you turn at Sipadan, you’ll see turtles, munching on the sponges and algae, or lazing on the wall ledges. If you take the time to look closely at the walls you’ll see a wealth of macro life and fish species to rival most destinations, although this is often overlooked due to the other major attractions vying for your attention.

Sabah is a Malaysian state occupying the northern part of the island of Borneo. It’s famed for its 4,095m-tall Mount Kinabalu, the country’s highest peak, crowned with distinctive granite spires. Sabah is also known for its beaches, rainforest, coral reefs and abundant wildlife, much of it within parks and reserves. Offshore, the Sipadan and Mabul islands are noted diving destinations.
Area: 73,631 km²
Population: 3.544 million (2015)
The Sipadan dive season is year round and most normally expressed as having the best conditions from April to December, especially July and August. Surface conditions are normally calm, sometimes glass-calm, but there can be small waves making the speed-boat ride to the island a little bumpy, particularly in the rainy season.

The rainy season tends to be from December to March when unsettled weather may result in a decrease in visibility, however in recent years the timing of the rainy season has been less than certain. The most likely months for unsettled weather are January and February. These months represent the middle of the wet season and although Pulau Sipadan and Mabul seldom experience much rain, the water and air temperature can be towards the cooler end of the usual range.

Traditionally green and hawksbill turtles come ashore onto the island of Sipadan to nest between April and September. To visit and dive here during these months should mean an even higher number of turtles, although these creatures are ever-present around the island. In fact it has a high proportion of ever-present creatures, rather than seasonal visitors. The jacks, barracuda, bumphead parrotfish and white-tip sharks can be said to be residents of this oceanic island.

This legendary island is very popular and at certain times of the year there is a greater risk of the diving resorts being fully booked. If you wish to visit during these periods you should book well in advance or, alternatively, select other dates. The busiest periods are March to August, Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year.

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