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What you should know
The closest transport hub to Sipadan Island is Semporna. To get to Semporna you need to arrive overland either from the Tawau airport which is about an hour away (and can be reached by flight from a few major city airports in Malaysia) or overland from within Borneo by bus transfer. The Sipadan dive sites (and accommodation, where provided) are reached via boat transfer in less than an hour from the Semporna jetty. The providers will provide water transfer from Semporna jetty.
Sipadan is one of the more challenging places to dive due to the strong currents and depth. Having a divemaster along ensures that you are well taken care of when you dive, so you are able to focus on the abundance of underwater life around you. The divemasters also know the best hidden spots in the area!
Because the currents can be quite strong in this area, you should be a strong swimmer and have at least achieved your Open Water certification. If you have any questions, please let us know and we will be happy to address your concerns!
You can dive all year round in Sabah, but visibility may be lower during monsoon season from November to March each year.
1 or 4 days depending on the option
The dive providers each have different types of PADI certification so do choose one that suits your requirements best. We find the different types of certification confusing too so we have included a brief explanation below which will hopefully be helpful to you.
PADI Dive Resorts are dive operators who cater to vacationing scuba divers and snorkelers with activities like scuba and snorkel instruction, guided scuba diving tours and scuba equipment rentals.
PADI Five Star Dive Centers embrace the PADI System of diver education. They are also distinguished by being active in the community and are committed to providing customer satisfaction along with great dive experiences.
PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centers (IDCs) are dive centers that meet all PADI Five Star Dive Center standards, plus offer PADI instructor-level training. Five Star IDCs have at least one PADI Course Director on staff and provide education opportunities to dive professionals.
The Celebes Sea is home to the Bajau Laut people, also known as the Sea Gypsies. Their seafaring lifestyle is a unique sight to see. Look out for them as you travel to the dive sites and perhaps learn more about their disappearing way of life.
Diving in Sipadan is protected by Sabah Parks and only 120 dive permits are issued per day. We would recommend booking your dive in advance as a result.
There is no accommodation on Sipadan Island, but you can stay on Mabul or other surrounding islands. In our options, you can stay on Mabul if you choose the 4 day option.
Please note that for options that include accommodation, option prices exclude Malaysian Tourism tax of RM10 per room per night (not applicable to dorm).
Regarding diving and flying: Please make sure that you leave sufficient time after diving before you take a flight. After a single dive, you should make sure you have at least 18 hours before taking a flight and after a series of dives you should have at least 24 hours.