Diving in Sipadan and Mabul Islands

I am in Heaven
Located in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, this place looks like heaven to me.
Rig Hotel

During the 6 days I spent there, I loved sitting on the deck sipping cold beer, working on my tan and gazing at turtles and rays swimming right under the bungalows. The ocean was in the hue of green, aqua and blue, the water was so clear that you can see the coral reefs and the sea animals below. You can just relax and look at the clouds drifting by – with no care in the world.

I thought that was great but when I jumped right into the water, it got even better.

House Reef

School of Fish
Square Leaf Fish 2
There was a family of lionfish and a group of juvenile batfish right under the jetty of our dive resort on Mabul Island.
The diversity and abundance of marine lives was unmatched by other places I have visited. From joining the bumphead parrotfish at breakfast at 6 a.m. in Sipadan, finning through enormous schools of barracuda, and to getting up close and personal with whitetip sharks, it was my ultimate diving experience, all in one destination.
By the end of the trip, I was happy to say that I got bored with sea turtles.
Square Lion FishSquare Giant Hemit CrabSquare Pigmy
fish wallpaper
The Facility
  • We stayed at Sipadan Water Village (SWV) on Mabul Island (15 km. from Sipadan). The facility was ok but the food was not that impressive.
  • By the end of the trip, I got rashes from neck to toes… which I suspected was from the underground water we used to shower.
  • For the next visit, I would love to try Sea Venture – a converted oil platform 500 meters off the beach, or the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort. The facility and the food at Sipadan-Kapalai are supposed to be much better than SWV with a more expensive package. There is no accommodation on Sipadan Island itself.
Bumphead Parrot Fish
Yin Yang NudiSquare GobySquare Mantis
Walk of NudiActivities
  • Diving in Sipadan is a must (bumphead parrotfish, barracuda, whitetip sharks). There is a permit system for Sipadan that restricts the number of visitors per day. The dive resort will arrange this for you but it is better to book way in advance.
  • Exploring the fisherman village on Mabul Island.
  • Kayaking near the resorts.
Fisherman son 2
White Tip
Square Urchin FishSquare PicachuSquare EelSquare Blue Spotted RaySquare Blue NudiSquare Cuttle Fish
Getting there
  • Flight to Tawau Airport – the nearest airport to Mabul. You can fly to Tawau from Kota Kinabalu (55 mins) or from Kuala Lumpur (2.5 hours).
  • From Tawau – take a bus, taxi or van to Semporna to board your boat to Mabul. The dive resorts can arrange pick-up from Tawau Airport.

Nemo with white anemone



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