Malaysia Backpackers Destination and Homestay


Friday, January 4, 2008

Sipadan Island Diving - "The Best Shore Dives in the World"

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

The list of attractions is quite staggering and all the more exceptional as it involves plenty of big fish encounters - at Barracuda Point you can find yourself surrounded by a spiralling vortex of barracudas, so large that the sunlight is often clouded out. At South Point there are scores of reef sharks, large schools of passing trevally and herds of massive marauding bumphead parrotfish. This is one of the big fish capitals of the world!

When diving in Sipadan everywhere you turn 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

How to Get There
Flights - Boat Transfer
The recommended flight from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau leaves at 7:00 hrs and arrives at 7:45 hrs, with Malaysia Airlines ( This is the flight most resorts favour and guests will be collected here and driven for around one hour to Semporna, where the resort boat will transfer you the 45 minutes to Mabul Island. Your diving will start in the afternoon.

Later flights are available but can cause problems with transfers and will almost certainly mean no diving on the first day. Air Asia ( is free-seating and Malaysia Airlines is not. Both have emergency exit seats with acres of leg-room. For Air Asia you need to be at the front of the queue to secure one of these.

There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau (07:20-10:05) and from Johor Bahru to Tawau (07:50-10:35) with Air Asia - there may be transfers available to meet these flights but you are still not guaranteed diving on the first day. Malaysia Airlines has a later flight (13:15-14:00), but this will probably mean an overnight in Semporna and pick up from your hotel at 08:00 hrs. Semporna has a couple of hotels such as the Dragon Inn and the Seafest Hotel.

Due to the dangers of flying after diving, some Mabul resorts may require you to sign a waiver. This is because some guests want to squeeze in as many dives as possible regardless of the risks. Guests who will be flying within 24 hours after departure from the resorts may be subject to diving restrictions on the last day.

Flights back from Tawau are Malaysia Airlines to Kota Kinabalu (14:40-15:25 hrs or 21:00-21:45 hrs). If you do not wish to stay overnight in Kota Kinabalu, you can fliy direct to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia (10:30-13:15 hrs or 21:00-21:45 hrs) or back to Johor Bahru (11:10-13:45 hrs).

Tawau Office
Telephone / (60-89) 765200
Fax / (60-89) 763575/763563
Address / 484 Bandar Sabindo, PO Box No 61120, 91021 Tawau, Sabah, East Malaysia.

Sandakan Office
Telephone / (6089) 673999 / 674999 / 675999
Fax / (089) 673777
Address / Pulau Sipadan Resort and Tours Sdn Bhd Block C, Ground Floor, Lot 38 & 39, Mile 6, Bandar Tyng, 90000 Sandakan Sabah Malaysia.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Greetings! Peterman's Eye is hosting a travel photo contest and J. Peterman will be choosing the winner! Thought I'd share...