Just mention the word Sipadan in a room full of divers and watch what happens: Those that have been there will immediately start sharing stories of hammerhead sharks, massive barracuda and parrotfish schools, turtles, undersea caves and a reef wall reaching down to 600 metres. Those that haven’t experienced it yet, will get a dreamy expression on their faces.
Sipadan is judged by many to be among the top 5 diving locations in the world. Find out about diving in Sipadan.
This divers’ Mecca has lured underwater enthusiasts for years. It is Malaysia’s only oceanic island, formed by living corals growing on top of a volcanic cone. It lies in the Celebes Sea just off the east coast of Malaysian Borneo, close to the borders of Indonesia and the Philippines.
Above water, the island is a covered in lush jungle and home to tropical birds such as kingfishers, sea-eagles, sunbirds, starlings and wood pigeons. There are also fruit bats and monitor lizards and at nightfall a turtle may come to lay her eggs on the beach while coconut crabs scurry into the water at the slightest sound. It was declared a bird sanctuary as early as 1933 and in 2004, all accommodation facilities on Sipadan were closed to further protect this pristine natural treasure.
Divers are still easily able to enjoy the magic of underwater Sipadan. It is within minutes of the islands of Mabul and Kapalai half an hour from Semporna on Malaysian Borneo and just over an hour from the islands of Mataking and Pompong. Resorts and dive operators in these locations bring divers to Sipadan’s dive sites by boat on a daily basis.