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With over 50 dives under our belts, we have seen some pretty spectacular dive sites in our scuba diving experience. But Sipadan Island in Malaysia is one destination that will always top our list of best dive destinations in the world!

Pier on Sipadan Island. Sabah. Malaysian Borneo

Pier to paradise…

How to Get to Sipadan Island

Getting to Sipadan Island is no easy feat, as the island is uninhabited and visitors are limited to only 120 per day. As a result, divers are forced to stay in Semporna or at a resort on the nearby islands of Mabul, Kapalai, or Mataking.

Crystal clear waters around Sipadan Island. Sabah. Malaysian Borneo

Crystal clear waters around Sipadan Island

To get to Semporna, you’ll first need to make your way to Tawau, a small town of just over 100,000 that serves as a getaway to this part of the region. Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia operate daily flights to Tawau from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. From Tawau, a 60-90 minute taxi will take you to Semporna Town. If you choose to stay at one of the resorts, a resort speedboat will pick you up from Semporna and take you to the resort location.

Where to Stay

Choosing the best accommodation option for diving in Sipadan comes down to a few factors.

Budget: Hotels in Semporna offer budget friendly accommodation options, starting from just $15/night for a double room, while diving packages on island resorts start at $250/night.

Permit Availability: 120 Sipadan dive permits are allocated to 12 resorts/dive shops with the biggest resorts/dive shops scoring the highest number of permits per day. Booking in advance is essential and your resort choice will often come down to availability on your desired dates.

Other Dive Destinations: Due to the Sipadan permit limits, all resorts and dive packages will include one day of diving on Sipadan and 2-3 additional days of diving at other dive sites in the area. Depending on where your diving interests lie, some dive sites included in the Sipadan diving packages may be more of interest to you than others.

Keep in mind that many of the resorts offer group discounts, however, single travelers will often find themselves paying a 30-50% single supplement.

Our Experience Diving on Sipadan Island

We got a chance to dive in Sipadan Island in August 2015 and despite the high price of the dive package (6 dives, 2 nights of accommodation, 2 lunches, and equipment rental for 2 set us back by USD $575), we felt like the experience was worth every penny.

Oksana swimming with jack fish in Sipadan Island. Diving. Sabah. Malaysia. Borneo

Oksana swimming with jack fish at Sipadan island

One of the many green turtles at Sipadan. Diving in Sipadan. Sabah. Malaysia

One of the many green turtles at Sipadan

We chose to stay in the rather uninspiring Semporna Town at a small hotel called Holiday Dive Inn. It was cheap, but very basic, offering not much but a place to lay your head at the end of an exhausting day of diving. It’s an option for those traveling on a tight budget, but not one we would recommend to someone looking for a comfortable stay. 

Planning a Trip to Sipadan?

The team at Asia Diving Vacation have put together this awesome infographic that simplifies everything you need to know about diving in Sipadan Island and offers an excellent round up of the resort options available to those looking for an alternative to staying in Semporna Town.

Guide to Visiting Sipadan Island

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you courtesy of Asia Diving Vacation

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A Guide to Diving at Sipadan Island Malaysia