dsd content copyright info

dive site directory providing information on diving and dive sites all over the world

free online diving information and dive site reviews

location map or:

home - news | highlights | dive sites a-z | search | contribute review | log book | about us | environment | diving events | screen saver & desktop backgrounds | diving books & equipment | Advertising & Business Listings


World | Malaysia | Borneo | Diving Sipadan:

Sipadan overview


Reefs:

Caves:


Resources & Links:

Dive Centers:

Instructor Training &
Instructor Development Courses:

Diving Tour Operators:

 

Other Information Online:




Please note: we cannot
endorse the services of
companies listed. We recommend that you only dive with dive centers that are accredited by a major diving association or by their local tourist authority.




Sipadan dive site map


print dive site map with labels | show all dive site labels | contribute site info / photo


Scuba Diving in Sipadan Island, Borneo


Water temperature:

26°C (79°F) - 30°C (86°F), temperatures are lowest in November to February

Suit:

3mm - 5mm shortie

Visibility:

15 - 40 metres (50 - 130 feet)

Type of diving:

Reef, wall and cave dives

Marine life:

Turtles, turtles and more turtles! There's also sharks, jacks, moray eels, octopus, cuttlefish, cleaner shrimps, starfish, nudibranchs and of course coral

When to go:

It is possible to dive at any time of year, however April to October is the best time to visit as the rainy season is from November to March which greatly reduces visibility

How to get there:

First fly with Malaysia Airlines to Kuala Lumpur, then go on to Kota Kinabalu. From here take an internal flight to Tawau, and a bus transfer from Tawau airport to Semporna. You can stay in the floating Dragon Inn overnight (at an extra cost of around 6), before taking a boat transfer to Sipadan Island


Sipadan - Courtesy of Rik Vercoe

Sipadan - Courtesy of Rik Vercoe

Drop Everything! Cancel your next diving holiday, the next 2 if necessary! Sell your car, sell your kids if you have to! Whatever you do - get on a plane to Sipadan! With well in excess of 1,000 logged dives in 20 different countries I can honestly say I have never seen anything even remotely close to the proliferation of underwater marine life which I experienced during my week in this amazing place. So it took 3 planes, a long bus ride, an overnight stay in a floating hostel and a 2 hour boat ride to get here, but next time I'll cut down my travel time by not coming back.

Most of the quotes you'll get to dive the Sipadan will probably range from 1,300 to 1,500 per person for a weeks diving, but there are ways to reduce this significantly. By leaving early on a Saturday morning, travelling through the night, and returning the following Sunday (I landed at a very respectable 3pm on the Sunday afternoon in Heathrow) I still managed 6 full days diving and only needed a week off work. By booking a flight through Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu and then booking the internal flights and diving once there I reduced the cost to around 950. That was for unlimited diving and all inclusive accommodation and food. I spent an additional 35 during my week there! I dived with Borneo Divers - a little known fact is that an agent actually answers emails and runs their Kota Kinabalu based internet booking service, so the best bargains are to be had by simply turning up. I guess you do run the risk of Sipadan Island being full using this method; however I will go into ways around that shortly. Once in Kota Kinabalu I booked an internal flights to Tawau, bus transfers from Tawau airport to Semporna, stayed in the floating Dragon Inn overnight (at an extra cost of around 6), a boat transfer to Mabul Island, 6 nights accommodation in air-conditioned beachside bungalows, daily boat trips to Sipadan, all meals and unlimited dive snacks and coffee are included for the unbelievable price of 270. All transfers and flights were returns and the only way to spend additional money was on beer, or to throw it in the sea. By staying on Mabul Island (about 15 minutes boat ride to Sipadan) I eliminated the risk of Sipadan being full and more importantly I also got do a number of afternoon dives on Mabul and even nearby Kapalai Island, so got 3 dive locations. If you elect to do this, you can always arrange to move to Sipadan Island if place become available, or if you prefer. We did 4 dives a day, but by staying on Sipadan itself there was the option of a 6.00am morning dive each day (as there is awesome shore diving here) so you could get more dives in. Also, in terms of the dives, Mabul is excellent; however Sipadan leaves you quite literally breathless. The prices do seem to vary if you book whilst there and during conversations with other divers some got better deals still. One couple walked in to the Kota Kinabalu office and got the same deal as we did for around 130 each.

So - onto the diving - I really don't know where to start. See the individual dive site reviews here on dive site directory for specific details. During our week here we saw manta rays (on the first Sipadan dive), schools of white-tip and grey reef sharks and literally hundreds of turtles (on one dive alone we counted more than 50!) I regularly took photos with 3 or 4 turtles in the same frame. We saw octopi, leaf fish and frogfish by the dozen. We explored the turtle graveyard cave system where the turtles get lost and drown leaving their shells and skeletons, as well as the resting place of a dolphin which met the same fate here. The sheer density of marine life on the reef walls meant at times there was too much fish life to get the photos you wanted - quite simply you couldn't see through the fish to take photos of the turtles. On top of all this, the highlight of my week was being caught in the Center of a spinning ball of thousands of jacks, with schools of white-tips patrolling the perimeter - and this happened on two separate dives!

Rik Vercoe, BSAC Advanced Instructor


print | contribute site info / photo | top - view dive sites




Do you run a dive operation in this area?

Click here to find out more about being listed on this
page in dive site directory.