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Sipadan Island, Borneo (East Malaysia)

Sipadan Island: Sabah's Subaquatic Marvels Unveiled

Sipadan Island, Sabah renowned as one of the top diving destinations globally, Sipadan is a haven for marine enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The mushroom-like island (from a far-off eye level view) offers 12 different dive points. Embark on the ultimate adventure to Sipadan Island, Sabah, with our comprehensive travel guide. From hassle-free flights to delightful meals, luxurious stays, and captivating island activities, discover how to make the most of your journey to this marine paradise.

Navigating to Sipadan Island

Sipadan Island is accessible via Tawau, a major city in Sabah. You can fly to Tawau Airport (TWU) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) or Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) or other major Malaysian airports that offer route to Tawau Airport. Major airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, and Malindo Air operate regular flights to Tawau, making it convenient for travelers from around the world to reach this paradise.
Flight journey: 3 hours
Airlines: Airasia & Malaysia Airlines.
Flight journey: 1 hour

Transfer to Sipadan

Upon reaching Tawau Airport, we will arrange your private transfer direct to Semporna Town. The journey from Tawau to Semporna takes approximately an 1 hour 30 minute by road. Once in Semporna, it will take a 40-45 minute boat ride to Mabul Island or Kapalai Island. Left the worries behind as we will transport you smoothly to accommodations island. Your journey to the island will be an unforgettable experience, as the route offers a scenic journey to your island paradise.

Sipadan Island Accommodation

Sipadan Island itself does not offer accommodation due to the island conservation status. However, accommodation can be arranged in nearby areas such as Mabul Island, Kapalai Island or Semporna Town. Here some popular options for accommodation near Sipadan Island; Sipadan Water Village Resort, Mabul Water Bungalow, Sipadan Mabul Resort, Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort. All these resorts offer Sipadan Permit for your easy arrangement.
When choosing where to stay, consider factors such as your budget, preferred diving packages, and the type of experience you want. Keep in mind that Sipadan permits are limited, so it's advisable to book your accommodation, diving packages and Sipadan Permit well in advance with said resorts.

Sipadan Island: 10 Best Things MUST do!

Are you ready to dive and explore the marine life wonderland? Whether you’re diving enthusiast, or a nature lover here are the 10 best things must do when you visit Sipadan Island:


1.Dive into the Abyss:
Explore world-renowned dive sites surrounding Sipadan, including Barracuda Point and Turtle Cavern. Witness schools of barracuda, swirling vortexes of jackfish, and encounters with graceful sea turtles. A minimum of Advanced Open Water (AOW) certified divers is required to allow diving in Sipadan Island.
2.Underwater Photography:
Capture the vibrant marine life and coral gardens. Sipadan's clear waters provide a perfect canvas for underwater photographers to immortalize the breathtaking beauty of the ocean.
3.Turtle Watching:
Sipadan is a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. If you are Cave Dive Specialty don’t miss to try Turtle Tomb another special dive site. Experience the magic of observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, an absolute highlight for nature enthusiasts.
4.Island Hopping:
Extend your adventure by visiting nearby islands like Kapalai and Mabul. Each island offers unique experiences, from relaxing on pristine beaches to exploring diverse marine ecosystems and close encounter with marine life.
Snorkeling at Sipadan Island will offer you an amazing opportunity to explore the stunning coral reefs and crystal-clear water that surround Sipadan Island.
6.Panoramic Capture View:
Take in panoramic views from the boat on the edge of abyss, which will give you a very stunning view.
7.The 12 Point Dive Site:
Explore the dive point total of 12 sites in Sipadan Island namely West Ridge, North Point, The Drop Off, Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, Coral Gardens, Whitetip Avenue, Mid Reef, Turtle Patch, South Point, Staghorn Crest, Lobster Lair and the Hanging Gardens that will leave you an unforgettable memory.
8.Explore Sipadan's Drop-offs:
Challenge yourself by exploring the island's dramatic drop-offs, including the famous Barracuda Point's 600-meter drop. These sheer walls offer encounters with pelagic species in their natural environment.
9.Bird Watching on Sipadan:
Discover the avian diversity of Sipadan, home to various seabirds. The island's lush vegetation and coastal areas attract a range of bird species, providing a birdwatcher's paradise.
10.Relax on Sipadan's Beaches:
Unwind on the island's pristine beaches, surrounded by turquoise waters and swaying palms. Take a break from underwater adventures and enjoy the serene beauty that Sipadan's shores offer.



The door opens all year round for you to reach Semporna, no matter what season, Sipadan Island is always ready for you. The best time to visit largely depends on your preferences, either Dry Season (March to October) or Raining Season (November to February).
Sipadan Rehabilitation Month refers to a conservation effort aimed at preserving and rehabilitating the marine ecosystem around Sipadan Island, which is a globally renowned diving destination. Sipadan Island is welcome all year round EXCEPT November since year 2020 for rehabilitation the marine ecosystem.

Sipadan Island: Do’s & Don’ts

Obtain Permits in Advance:
Do: Ensure you have the necessary permits to visit Sipadan. Permits are limited (permit fees apply), with 250 permits issued per day and each permit grants one-day island access with a maximum of two dives. Don’t forget to bring your identification card (ID) or passport and together with your diver ID certificate for registration purpose when you arrive at Sipadan Island. So, book well in advance to secure your spot!

Dive Responsibly:
Do: Follow responsible diving practices. Diving trips start from 6.00am to 4.00pm daily, night diving not permitted. Respect marine life, avoid touching corals, and adhere to the guidelines set by dive operators. Each dive is limited to one-hour, max depth of 40m/diver.
Follow Conservation Guidelines:
Do: Support and adhere to the marine conservation efforts. Be mindful of the delicate ecosystem and follow guidelines to minimize environmental impact. "Barracuda Point" dive limited to one per day per diver and to preserve the island’s delicate ecosystem, only environmentally friendly SMBs or dive sausages are allowed for use by divers. Sipadan Island is a strictly protected site and no-glove zone.
Practice Safety Measures:
Do: Prioritize safety during dives. Stay within your skill level, adhere to dive plans, and follow instructions from dive professionals.
Respect Local Culture:
Do: Respect the local culture and communities. Learn about the traditions and customs of the area and interact with locals respectfully.
Explore Neighboring Islands:
Do: Take the opportunity to explore neighboring islands like Mabul and Kapalai. Each island offers unique experiences and contributes to the overall charm of the region.
Capture Memories Responsibly:
Do: Capture the beauty of Sipadan through photography but do so responsibly. Avoid disturbing marine life for the sake of a photograph.
No Accommodations on Sipadan:
Don’t: Expect to find accommodation. NO accommodation on Sipadan Island.
Don’t Feed Marine Life:
Don’t: Feed fish or other marine animals. Feeding disrupts natural behaviors and can be harmful to the ecosystem.
Avoid Littering:
Don’t: Litter on the island or in the water. Dispose of waste properly and participate in beach cleanup efforts if available.
Don’t Stray from Dive Plans:
Don’t: Deviate from established dive plans. Stick to the guidelines provided by your dive operator to ensure safety and conservation.
Don’t Overcrowd Dive Sites:
Don’t: Overcrowd or disturb marine life at dive sites. Maintain a safe distance and enjoy observing the underwater world without causing disruption.
Don’t Collect Marine Souvenirs and Avoid Touching Corals:
Don’t: Collect shells, corals, or any marine life as souvenirs and don’t touch or stand on corals. Leave everything as you find it to preserve the natural environment and don’t damage the ecosystem.
Don’t Ignore Dive Briefings:
Don’t: Ignore dive briefings. Pay attention to instructions from dive guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Don’t Capture the Prohibited Area:
Don’t: Capture photo nearby army/security base, as it is strictly prohibited area and nuking also not allowed
By adhering to these do’s and don’ts, you contribute to the preservation of Sipadan's unique ecosystem and ensure a positive experience for yourself and future visitors.

Sipadan Island is waiting!

Sipadan Island, Sabah, is not just a destination; it's an immersive experience. Let this guide be your companion as you navigate the journey from flight to underwater exploration, ensuring every moment is filled with the beauty and adventure that define Sipadan. Your aquatic paradise awaits—dive in and discover the magic of Sabah's jewel, Sipadan Island.
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