Sipadan claims to be the world’s best dive site. While this is a big claim, the diving here is certainly world class. Sipadan used to have resorts but to protect the environment these were closed around the year 2002. To dive on Sipadan you have to stay somewhere nearby, such as on Mabul, Kapalai or in Semporna, and take a boat onto the island.

Airport: Tawau Airport (TWU)

Trip Duration: 5-10 Days Trip


Intermediate to Advanced Diver

Destination Info 

Sipadan lies right in the middle of the richest marine habitat in the world and is ranked in the top 10 dive sites in the world! Known to have more than 3000 species of marine life including large numbers of hawkbill and green turtles, Sipadan was actually formed by corals growing on top of an extinct underwater volcano rising up 600m from the seabed.

What to see

One of the highlights of diving in Sipadan is the famous spectacular tornado– like formations of the schooling Barracudas and big eye trevally. There is a possibility of spotting hue pelagic like Manta ray and Whale Sharks!

Sample Itinerary
Day 1.Arrive at Tawau Airport. Transfer to hotel in Tawau for 1-night stay.
Day 2.Pick-up & transfer to Semporna Jetty. Speedboat transfer to resort. Check-in to resort, unlimited shore dives at house reef
Day 3-5.Up to 3 guided boat dives at Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai

Day 6. Check-out. Speedboat transfer and land transfer to Tawau Airport.

Dive Site Information
  •  Best time to visit: April till October.
  • Water Temp: 27-30°C,
  • Air Temp: 30-32°C
  • Visibility: 15-40 meters
  • Current: mild to strong
Getting There
  • Flight from Singapore > Kota Kinabalu > Tawau.
  • Singapore to Kuala Lumpur > Tawau.
  • Kuala Lumpur > Tawau 
  • Bus from Tawau to Semporna: about 1 Hour.
Health & Insurance
  • Dive Insurance compulsory for this trip. We also strongly advise you get adequate travel insurance. Please check your travel insurance policy for your diving needs. If not covered then we recommend DiveAssure for single trip policy cover.
  • Dive Computer compulsoryon this trip.
  • Follow Safe Diving Practices at ALL times plus No Deco Diving and No Solo Diving.

Our Recommendation

There is diving year-round at Sipadan (there are no monsoon or typhoons) but conditions vary with the time of the year.

Conditions are best between Mid-February and July or September till November when the visibility is best and conditions are settled. Visibility during these months ranges between 15 and 30 meters. The seas are usually calm, at times even glass-calm. The days are usually sunny and hot and the temperatures of the water are reliably bath-warm.

Nesting for hawksbill and green turtles usually happens from April through to September. Anyone visiting at this time can expect to see greater numbers of turtles, however they are always around. In fact, the island has a higher proportion of local marine life than it does visitors. The white-tip sharks, barracuda, jacks and bumphead parrotfish are all residents of the reefs around the island.