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Visiting this small rainforest-covered tropical island, rising from a 650 metre abyss in the Celebes Sea, with unmatched underwater attractions, is a must for the committed diver.

With the variety of pelagics such as manta and eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead and whale sharks and the abundance of species on offer, seeing 10 turtles in one dive is not uncommon, nor is seeing a school of 300 barracuda. Each dive at Sipadan is a highly anticipated event.

The varied marine topography makes it an astonishing place to dive, with caves, walls, canyons, plateaux and overhangs. Green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles are regular inhabitants of Sipadan Island, coming ashore in season to lay their eggs on the island's pristine beaches.

Diving around Sipadan is by permit only. These are arranged locally on a daily basis and paid for at your resort upon successful application. We recommend a trip on the Celebes Explorer liveaboard in order to maximise your diving days around Sipadan.

Please note the UK foreign office advice currently relating to this region. Please speak to our dive team for further advice and information.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: green turtle, bumphead parrotfish, white-tip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, black-tip reef shark

Dive trips

This dive location is featured in the following itineraries:

Celebes Explorer & Sabah Discovery

Enjoy a week’s liveaboard diving on the MV Celebes Explorer, undoubtedly the best way to dive Sipadan, followed by 5 days to explore the island of Borneo and its exceptional wildlife.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,395 pp
  • Trip type: Liveaboard trip

Kapalai & Lankayan

This itinerary takes you to one of the world’s best ‘muck diving’ areas – Kapalai , and then onto the small paradise island of Lankayan. Both offer fantastic macro photography, with plenty of rare subjects on offer.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Sipadan & Layang Layang

Mabul offers excellent ‘muck diving’, with an incredible variety of crazy critters. Combine this with Layang Layang’s pristine conditions and famed pelagics, and you have the perfect dive holiday.

  • When to go: Mar-Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Sipadan & Mataking Discoverer

An excellent twin-centre holiday combining Mataking and Sipadan, two of Borneo’s finest diving locations. Expect to see a variety of pelagics and critters, including manta and eagle rays, giant frogfish and rare pygmy seahorses.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Sipadan & Orangutans

A classic combination, with a week exploring the astonishing island of Sipadan and its unrivalled diving opportunities, before heading inland for two days of face-to-face encounters with Borneo’s orangutan.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Kapalai Dive Resort

Sitting on stilts on the shallow sandbanks of the Ligitan Reefs, Kapalai Dive Resort is a secluded water village connected by wooden walkways offering excellent views of the reef and its inhabitants.

Mabul Water Bungalows

Offering easy access to the astonishing dive sites of Sipadan Island, this resort features 15 luxurious over the water bungalows each with spacious private balcony affording panoramic vistas of the surrounding seas.

Pom Pom Island Resort

Surrounded by white sands and the turquoise waters of the Celebes Sea, Pom Pom Resort is situated on a small atoll within seven islands which are a shelter for green and hawksbill turtles.

Reef Dive Resort

Situated on the quiet island of Mataking in the Celebes Sea, this exclusive romantic resort is the perfect choice for divers, accommodating up to 100 guests in a variety of delightful rooms and beach villas.

Seaventures Dive Resort

With easy access to the prime dive sites of Mabul and Sipadan, Seaventures is a unique dive resort - a converted abandoned oil rig offering 25 rooms and two suites, plus 360° panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

Sipadan Mabul Resort

This resort, also known as SMART, is located on the southeast side of Mabul Island, overlooking Sipadan. Accommodation is in wooden duplex chalets dotted along the white sandy beach and its palm trees.

Sipadan Water Village

This beautiful resort is built on stilts over the water, and is ideally situated for diving around Sipadan, Mabul & Kapalai. Based on Bajau architechtural design, each of the 45 cottages has a private sundeck and modern amenities.

Our suggested liveaboard is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Celebes Explorer

The only liveaboard operating in the Sipadan region, this custom built boat visits world-class dive sites and is the best way to explore the exotic islands of Semporna Marine Park and the Celebes Sea.