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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Once a vegetated Island, Kapalai is now a sandbank on Litigan Reefs and home to the stilt village of Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort. The resort comprises 40 wooden double, twin and triple sharing chalets. Each has an ensuite bathroom with a shower and bathtub, fridge, tea and coffee making facilities. This is true style at a very affordable price and you really do get a lot for your money.

Resort Highlights

  • Idyllic Water Bungalows
  • Stunning Ocean Sunrises & Sunsets
  • World Class Scuba Diving
  • Closest Resort to Sipadan

All images are are taken on location by our Managing Director – PADI Platinum Course Director Richard Swann.

Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort Overview

Ex Sandakan: Reminiscent of the Maldives, the accommodation huts are built over the water with shutter doors opening to reveal breathtaking ocean views. The soothing sound of the water laps beneath you and water reflections dance across the high ceilings. There are no sand-flies or mosquitoes and no need for air conditioning. Fresh bathing water is shipped from the mainland and rubbish is disposed of correctly.

The resort is perfectly located to get the most from your diving. World class macro sites are just a giant stride from the dive station. Sipadan Island is a 25 minute speedboat ride away and Mabul about 10 minutes. With such variety of dive sites within easy reach, it’s possible to complete 4 or 5 dives a day if you wish (bottom time permitting). Having said this, non-divers are also fully catered for. Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and soaking up the sun are equally pleasurable pastimes for those not wishing to dive.

Scuba Diving at Kapalai

Kapalai was once a vegetated tropical island, but over the decades the island sank to little more than a sandbar. A sand bar that supports a wealth of strange and wonderful critters. Kapalai is home to Muck & Macro Diving at its best. There are many named sites in the region and to list them all would be somewhat repetitive. Instead we hope to entice marine enthusiasts with a brief introduction.

Generally shallow with a maximum depth of about 18m, but an average of about 12m, the area around Kapalai is made up of sandy substrate with various coral blocks, patches and sloping reef systems. Visibility is usually quite limited at 5m – 15m. But this isn’t a problem as one spends the majority of time head down searching for the very small inhabitants of the region. Flamboyant, Reaper and Papuan Cuttlefish all hang out around here. Ghostpipefish, Frogfish, Crab Eye Gobies plus a number of family members, Blue Ringed Octopus, Wonder Octopus, Mandarin Fish and a long list of others are all to be found around Kapalai. Before visiting its a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the marine life found in this area as these creatures are particulary cryptic and hard to see even when pointed out.

Scuba Diving Sipadan

Sipadan is world class and that always comes at a price. Its costly and unlike scuba diving TARP, there are a lot of divers in the water at the same time. lIt would be impossible to count the thousands of collective dives the Downbelow team have made at Sipadan over the years, but it has resulted in some amazing photography and knowledge. We have a dedicated page to Scuba Diving Sipadan and below we briefly describe 4 of the most famous dive sites.

The Wall
The wall was voted Best Shore Dive in the World by Roldales Scuba Diving Magazine. It’s a shear 600m drop to the ocean floor and starts just a few metres from Sipadan’s sandy beach. White tip reef sharks lay in small caverns and on ledges below with turtles lazily pass by. Schools of jacks, myriads of tropical reef fish, bumphead parrot fish and, if dived in the early morning, one may see a single or small groups of hammerhead shark. Generally the current is light here and the site is suited to all divers.

The Turtle Tomb Cave
The entrance to the Turtle Tomb Cave is slightly east of the jetty. At 18m it consists of a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers made famous in the 80′s by Jacques Cousteau. The limestone cave is the final resting place of numerous turtles who ventured inside, became disorientated and drowned. From inside the cave the entrance is marked by a blue hazy glow, making it appear mysterious and enchanting. The cave is an advanced dive and a guide is mandatory.

Barracuda Point

A fantastic corner dive and arguably the best on offer at Sipadan. Good corals in the shallows slopes to sand and then onto the wall. One can hope to see schooling fish including barracuda and jacks and tuna. Grey reef shark, white tip shark and turtles mix with plenty of the other usual reef suspects. Currents are temperamental and the less experienced diver should stay with their guide.

Blue Ring Octopus Kapalai Resort
South Point
Located at the southern most point of the island, the sloping ledge of the islands reef is a textbook coral ecosystem. Suffice to say, schools of jacks, rainbow runners, turtles, white tip reef sharks, leopard sharks, the occasional thresher shark can be seen perusing the area. Strong currents are possible, but its generally a novice dive for those staying close to the reef.

Other Activities Available at Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort:
Limited snorkeling gear available for hire
Snorkeling & swimming
Ocean Kayaking

Your Safety is Our Priority

At all times you are in safe hands. We take our responsibility as a travel agent very seriously and have a number of verifications in place to ensure that we are offering quality locations to our clients and describing them honestly.

Suggested Flights

FLIGHT FROMDESTINATIONFLIGHTDEPARTSARRIVES
Kota KinabaluTawauMalaysian Airlines MH21210725 hrs0815 hrs
Kuala LumpurTawauAir Asia AK 57440700 hrs0950 hrs
Kota KinabaluTawauAir Asia AK 626009000950 hrs
TawauKota KinabaluMalaysian Airlines MH 30941800 hrs1950 hrs
TawauKuala LumpurMalaysian Airlines MH 26651825 hrs2110 hrs
TawauKota KinabaluAir Asia AK 62671710 hrs1800 hrs
TawauKuala LumpurAir Asia AK 57411855 hrs2140 hrs

 

Boat transfers

All based on scheduled transfers.

FromToDeparture Time
Semporna JettySipadan Kapalai Resort1000hrs, 1230hrs & 1500hrs
Sipadan Kapalai ResortSemporna Jetty0630hrs, 0930hrs & 1330hrs
Day 1 – Arrival Day: Pick up upon arrival at Tawau Airport and transfer overland to Semporna Jetty (approx. 70 minutes drive) for boat departure to Kapalai Dive Resort. Upon arrival at the resort, check in at your accommodation and free at leisure. Overnight at Kapalai Dive Resort.
Meals Included: Fresh Buffet Meals ~ Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the resort’s restaurant. Afternoon Snacks is served at the restaurant daily. Tea/Coffee, cold water and cordial are served throughout the day at the restaurant daily.
Note For divers, you will be able to do an orientation upon arrival at the resort but this will be depending on the diving schedule, which is set by the dive centre at the resort. Strictly NO fly policy within 24 hours after the last dive. Unlimited jetty dives can be carried out within the resort’s reef with a buddy after the orientation dives.
Middle Days: Free at own leisure at the resort (3 boat dives per day are included in the diver package). Stay overnight at the resort.
Meals Included: Fresh Buffet Meals ~ Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the resort’s restaurant. Afternoon Snacks is served at the restaurant daily. Tea/Coffee, cold water and cordial are served throughout the day at the restaurant daily.
Departure Day: Breakfast at the resort. Free at leisure until check out. Upon arrival at mainland, drop off at Tawau Airport for flight departure.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Meet-and-greet at Tawau Airport / Tawau hotel.
Return transfer from the airport / hotel to private jetty in Semporna
Return boat transfer from Semporna to Kapalai Resort
Water Chalet En-Suite Accommodation at Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Full board meals freshly cooked by the resort chef served buffet style, afternoon snacks, tea, coffee, water and cordial available throughout the day
Diver Package: 3 daily boat dives (excl. arrive & departure days, unlimited dives in front of Dive Centre (for certified divers only), tanks, weights and belt.
No extra charge for night dives in front of Dive Centre (strictly for advanced / experienced divers only).
Flights, diving equipment, beverages and meals not specified, laundry, room service, airfare and items not mentioned in the itinerary above.
Lightweight clothing, sun cream, insect repellent, usual resort clothing – casual, swim wear.
Diver Package (certified divers): This package is for for certified divers, and all dive programs are run by the resort.
Our all inclusive packages include tanks and weights, but do not include equipment rental (see rental charges below), as many guests prefer to bring their own equipment.
As an all inclusive package, 3 x boat dives plus unlimited jetty dives are included, but there are no refunds for unused dives.
Minimum diver qualification required is PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent.
Note: Unless otherwise stated purchasing a diving package with us does not guarantee guests will dive at Sipadan, but we will apply for entry permits to this restricted area on behalf of guests. Should approval be granted for the guest during their stay, they will dive Sipadan at no extra charge. The chances of approval are highest if guests stay for a minimum of 3 nights.
Non-Diver Package: Snorkellers are permitted to snorkel around the resort at leisure. Snorkel equipment is available to rent or you can bring your own.
PADI Discover Scuba Diving is available at an extra charge and conducted in front of the dive centre with a qualified diving instructor. Should a guest or a non-diver be a certified diver and wish to dive, they may do so with a buddy around the House Reef or from the jetty. Certified Diver must base their entire stay on either the Dive Package or Non Diver Package. Combining a few days as Diver and a few days as Non Diver is not allowed.
Single Travellers: All single travellers will be charged a Single Supplement Rate with their own room. The Single Supplement Rate is the package rates plus 50%. Groups:Our Triple Room Sharing option is a 5% discount from the package rates if all 3 people sharing are adults. We also have a Group Travel option where 1 person stays free for every 10 paying guests. The Group Travel option applies to 11 people in a group arriving and departing on the same dates.
Tax: Any charges incured at the resort are subject to 6% GST.Due to weather conditions, activities may be subject to re-scheduling to best meet operations, as well as clients health and safety. Wildlife cannot be predicated nor guaranteed because it is a spontaneous chance to spot any in their natural rainforest habitat.Equipment Rental at the Resort* (subject to change without notice and inclusive of GST)

ItemPer Day
BCD JacketMYR 31.80
RegulatorsMYR 31.80
Mask & SnorkelMYR 15.90
FinsMYR 10.60
WetsuitMYR 26.50
Torch & BatteryMYR 21.20

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