Sipadan Island in Sabah – Malaysia

A tour of Sipadan Island can be an exhilarating experience. Aside from the breathtaking beaches, there are other activities you can do here.


The island is situated off the Malaysian Borneo east coast. Majority of visitors fly to Tawau via Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur. From there, take a taxi or minivan and go to Semporna, a port town. Next, get on a boat that will take you to the island itself.

What to See

The beaches of the island are renowned for the beautiful sand. There are plenty of exotic animals, including sea turtles. You will also see some white tip reef sharks. The waters underneath the area are also known for its coral reefs.

Aside from the sandy beaches, there are also the dive sites. From the main beach, you just have to go 20 meters to attain the reef wall. The corals around the island are varied, with plenty of hard and soft corals.

There are also different kinds of fish in the waters. Leopard sharks, hammerhead sharks and other creatures can be seen on a tour of Sipadan Island.


The island has long been disputed by Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. The case was eventually set before the International Court of Justice. In 2002, the Court declared that the island along with Ligitan Island, are Malaysian territories.

The ruling was based on effective occupation by their predecessor, the UK. In 2001, the Philippines had filed a petition to intervene owing to its own claim to the Northern Borneo island. This request was turned down by the Court.


The tour costs will depend on what type of activity you want to do. Most diving lessons and actual dives will cost 450 to 500 RM. The number of dives you want to do and the extent of the lessons will also influence the price. These rates will usually include the boat transfers, the weights, lunch and drinking water.

Other Info

The resorts have been removed so the environment could be preserved. However you can stay at Semporna or Mabul and take a bot ride to Sipadan. Only a limited number of dives are allowed everyday. To avoid problems, arrange to have your dive as early as possible. This way you will be able to get into the list.

Before you go on a tour of Sipadan Island, make sure that the dive operator has a license to operate. This will ensure that the equipment is legitimate and the guides are professional.