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Spend a week exploring Sipadan and its surroundings, then head inland for two days to come face to face with the man of the forest, Borneo’s orangutan.

Staying on Mabul, or Kapalai if you prefer, you are just 15 minutes from Sipadan, with its plunging walls, schools of barracuda and jacks, turtles, bumphead parrotfish and more. Mabul itself is equally fascinating, but in contrast is known for its wierd and wonderful inhabitants.

This trip idea included two days at The Sepilok Nature Resort, surrounded by beautiful rainforest and a haven for plants and wildlife. Just next door is the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the orangutans regularly wander through the resort.

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 Mabul resort 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 and 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 Sandkan and transfer to Sepilok

    At Sepilok you can witness first hand an exciting conservation programme in action and come into close contact with the remarkable ‘man of the forest’, the orangutan. Established in 1964 to help once captive or displaced orangutans to learn to fend for themselves in the wild, the sanctuary is located at the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve, which is 43 square kilometres of old, beautiful and fascinating rainforest.

    Sepilok is an excellent opportunity to walk the Borneo rainforest without the need to organize a major expedition. Discover the diversity of plants, ferns, climbing plants, insects, wildlife - including 277 different species of birds - and at least 300 varieties of trees.

    Spend two nights at Sepilok Nature Resort.

  5. Day 11: Depart Sandakan

  6. Day 12: 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
    • 7 nights accommodation Mabul
    • 2 nights accommodation Sandakan
    • Half board meal plan
    • 6 days diving
    • Tanks and weights
Featured locations:

Sipadan

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

Mabul

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

Sepilok

Gateway to the Sepilok Orangutan Sancutary and the Kinabatangan River, Sepilok makes a great extension to your diving holiday. The Sanctuary is home to a conservation programme and the surrounding rainforest is a haven for nature & wildlife lovers.

  • Excellent for: Wildlife
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.

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.