Getting to Sipadan Island


Location of the Island – Sipadan Island is located off the coast of Borneo Island which is part of Sabah. Visiting Sipadan Island is through the sea where you will jump off at Semporna town while there are connections via Mabul and Kapalai islands as well. Whether you are coming here to dive or just to enjoy the island’s natural attractions, you need to pay a RM40 per person daily permit. On top of that, you need to come here with only licensed diving operators.

Fly In – You cannot fly into Sipadan Island. However, you can fly into the Kota Kinabalu International Airport before making your way by road to Semporna and get into a boat from there. To do this, you will need to connect to Tawau which is the nearest major town to reach Semporna. If you have pre-booked your accommodation, inform the resort of your arrival to arrange for shuttle which is usually a minivan. Flights to Kota Kinabalu and Tawau are mostly served by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines. The advice here is to try and arrive earlier if you plan to hop into Sipadan on the same day as there are no boats at nightfall.

Dive Boats – If you are staying in the resorts around Sipadan Island, they will most likely have dive boat services that come to Sipadan. From Mabul, the trip takes slightly less than half an hour while it is half that duration if you are travelling from Kapalai Island. Coming from the mainland, dive boats will take about 30 minutes to reach Sipadan while such services are provided from Mataking and Pompong islands which are about 1 to 2 hours ride away. Most visitors will take the time to enjoy the beautiful sights along the way or getting ready for your dive.

Speedboats – Semporna is the best place to start if you want to take speedboats to Sipadan or the nearby islands. Most of the islands like Mataking, Kapalai, Pompong and Mabul are all about 30 minutes away. You can find some speedboat operators in the town or if you are staying in any of the resorts, they would have such services.