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This itinerary allows you to combine Mabul’s excellent ‘muck diving’ with Layang Layang’s famed pelagic encounters, most notably with hammerhead sharks.

Your first week is spent diving the exceptional sites around Sipadan and Mabul. The varied marine topography makes Sipadan an astonishing place to dive, with caves, walls, canyons, plateaux and overhangs. Mabul Island is a small, oval shaped island, only a 15 minute boat ride from Sipadan and is famous for its macro diving and has gained a reputation as one of the best ‘muck diving’ sites in the world.

Continue your adventure to Layang Layang, where you'll discover pristine reefs, breathtaking drop-offs and deep water marine species such as hammerhead sharks, frequently seen at sites such as Dogtooth Lair and The Runway.

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 Mabul

    On arrival, transfer to your chosen resort in Mabul for a seven night stay. We recommened SMART Resort, Sipadan Water Village or Mabul Water Bungalows.

    You can also dive Sipadan from Kapalai Dive Resort nearby.

  3. Days 3-8 : Dive Mabul & Sipadan

    Mabul Island is only a 15 minute boat ride from Sipadan and, like Kapalai, is famous for its macro diving and has gained a reputation as one of the best ‘muck diving’ sites in the world. 
  4. Day 9: Fly to Kota Kinabalu and overnight

  5. Days 10-16 : Dive Layang Layang

    Early morning flight over to Layang Layang, and check-in for a seven night stay.

    Originally constructed for the Malaysian Navy, Layang Layang Island Resort is now a dive resort, offering pristine conditions, excellent visibility and your best chance for a hammerhead shark encounter.

  6. Day 17: Depart Layang Layang

  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: Mar-Aug: March to August only. Four departures per week.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • Flights from the UK
    • Domestic flights
    • Transfers
    • 15 nights accommodation
    • Full board meal plan at Sipadan & Layang Layang
    • 12 days diving
    • Tanks and weights
Featured locations:


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

Layang Layang

Lying in the South China Sea, the atoll of Layang Layang rises from the depths 2000 metres below. Schools of hammerheads visit seasonally, drawing thrill seekers the world over, and other highlights include silvertips, grey reef sharks, turtles and fabulous corals.

  • Ideal for viewing: scalloped hammerhead shark, grey reef shark, giant oceanic manta ray, leopard shark, pygmy seahorse
  • Excellent for: Liveaboard diving, Resort based diving, Shark diving, Hammerhead shark


Mabul Island is a short boat ride from Sipadan and, like Kapalai, is famous for its macro diving, gaining a reputation as one of the best ‘muck diving’ sites in the world. It is the jumping off points for those visiting Sipadan with a number of resorts catering for divers.

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

Layang Layang Island Resort

This charming rustic island resort, built to resemble a traditional longhouse, lies in the South China Sea on the atoll of Layang Layang and offers world-class diving with steep walls, pristine corals and seasonal hammerheads.

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.

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.