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Combine Kapalai, one of the world’s best ‘muck diving’ areas, with a world-class dive resort on Lankayan Island.

Once an island, all that remains of Kapalai is a small sand bar, perched on the Ligitan Reefs. Just 15 minutes from Sipadan, Kapalai is a total contrast, being one of the best ‘muck diving’ areas in the world.

Your second week is spent on Lankayan Island, a small and tranquil paradise island, where divers can expect to discover outstanding macro life and whale sharks (Mar-May), alongside white sand beaches and nesting turtles.

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

Suggested Itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart the UK for Tawau

    Depending on flight schedules, an overnight may be required in Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

  2. Day 2: Arrive and transfer to Kapalai

    Spend seven nights at the Kapalai Dive Resort, a secluded water village built above the reef on stilts.

  3. Days 3-8 : Dive Sipadan

    Sipadan is a must for all divers - you can expect to be treated to schools barracuda and bumphead parrotfish, reef sharks, mantas, hammerheads and more.
  4. Day 9: Fly to Sandakan and overnight

    Fly to Sandakan in central Sabah, where an overnight is required before your onward journey.

  5. Days 10-16 : Transfer by boat to Lankayan Island

    Located deep in the Sulu Seas, Lankayan Island was uninhabited until recently and has only one dive resort, namely Lankayan Island Dive Resort. This small paradise island is serene and tranquil, with stretches of white sand beach, swaying casuarina pines and beautiful sunsets, and offers a fantastic variety of macro marine-life and a muck diving arena that rivals both Mabul and Kapalai Island. 

  6. Day 17: Depart Sandakan

    Morning boat transfer back to Sandakan, where you will have the opportunity to visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and come face to face with these magnificent apes - the perfect end to a great trip!

    Afternoon at leisure before your early evening flight to Kuala Lumpur and on to the UK

  7. Day 18: Arrive UK

You should note: Diving at Sipadan is subject to locally obtainable permits and not guaranteed. On days where permits are not obtained, diving around Kapalai and Mabul will be offered as an alternative.

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Dates and prices: Please contact us for details.
  • When to go: Jan-Dec: Daily throughout the year. April to October best diving conditions.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Flights from the UK
    • Domestic flights
    • Transfers
    • 15 nights accommodation
    • Full board meal plan at Kapalai and Lankayan
    • 12 days diving
    • Tanks and weights
Featured locations:


Once an island, natural forces have shaped Kapalai so that all that remains is a beautiful sand bar, perched on the Ligitan Reefs In contrast to Sipadan, just 15 minutes away, Kapalai's diverse macro life is a mecca for divers and photographers with an eye for cleverly camouflaged oddities.

  • Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, green turtle, ornate ghost pipefish, mandarin fish, flamboyant cuttlefish
  • Excellent for: Liveaboard diving, Resort based diving, Muck diving

Lankayan Island

Situated in a Marine Protected Area in the Sulu Sea, this tiny paradise island is serene and tranquil with white sand beaches and swaying casuarina pines. Green and hawksbill turtles nest here, while divers can expect outstanding macro life and whale sharks in season.

  • Ideal for viewing: green turtle, giant jawfish, common cuttlefish, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard shark
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Muck diving


Rising from the depths of the Celebes Sea, Sipadan is a must for all divers: the varied topography makes it an astonishing place. Turtles are regular inhabitants, as are schools of barracuda and bumphead parrotfish, reef sharks, mantas and hammerheads.

  • Ideal for viewing: green turtle, bumphead parrotfish, white-tip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, black-tip reef shark
  • Excellent for: Liveaboard diving, Resort based diving, Reef diving