A small, tropical island located off the east coast of Sabah, East Malaysia, Sipadan has been voted one of the top dive destinations in the world, this remarkable island rivals the Galapagos Islands and Truk for some of the world’s best diving – but you already knew that.
What to expect
Ranging from ascending Mount Kinabalu, the most climber friendly peak in the region, to paying a visit to the largest orangutan sanctuary, till the depths of the ocean that are sure to leave you mesmerized at every discovery, is what you can expect from Sipadan Island.
Scuba divers from around the world gather at Pulau Sipadan to explore the colorful life and activities of turtles, various fishes like barracuda and jacks, sharks. The most exciting thing to see here are the hammerheads and thresher sharks. This island is renowned for its broad range of marine creatures, found within a small space.
Eco-tourist activities, is what thrives best here. Many resorts have capitalized on this natural advantage and flooded the banks of the Sipadan Island with resorts that offer unlimited house reef dives, along with non-diving activities as well. Hence, it is not a cumbersome task for these resorts to attract both adults and youngsters alike. Being strategically located at one of the most bio-diverse locations on earth, these resorts offer good-value for money.
Investing in travel insurance would be a good idea as it covers the costs of all possible risks and accidents that could take place while snorkeling, scuba diving or surfing. Taking precautions for unexpected occurrences might give you some relief.
Furthermore, the Sipadan Island only permits 120 visitors a day in order to ensure that the underwater life is not unduly harmed or over used. One needs a permit to dive in the Sipadan waters, which needs to be booked beforehand, your resort can also do this for you.
Opportune time & climate to visit
April to December is that time of the year when it is most advisable to visit the island to fulfill your diving objectives and have a memorable experience. During these times the sea is calm and composed. Although there is no hard and fast, as throughout the year the diving season persists.
The recommended length of stay is around 5-14 days, inclusive of visiting the neighboring islands. During the months of January and March the weather is uneasy and quite unpredictable, making it problematic for the divers to dive while through April and June the weather is satisfying. Yet through the course of May and August, the green and hawksbill turtles habitually lay their eggs on the beaches.
However, if you want to avoid the crowed, you should consider visiting the island during mid-December and mid-February as there are lesser crowds and less haste because of the rainy season. Consequently the probability of getting a permit is higher during this period. Yet diving in rainy season could be little challenging as the rain generates more disturbances in the water and gives rise to bigger water waves. Even travelling from Semporna in a boat could become bouncy and difficult. The rainy season lessens the visibility of water and the prominence of divers.
How to get there
Kota Kinabalu or Tawau is the jump-off point to Sipadan Island. This is followed by a drive to Semporna town, which will approximately take an hour or so. Upon reaching Mabul Island, through a 30-minute speedboat ride, you are at the precise location to start exploring the Sipadan Island.
This island of Sabah state is the place to be. Whether you are a scuba diver of not, you will definitely enjoy here and might learn scuba diver basics. Take your time out for an adventurous vacation in this beautiful place.
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