The late Jacques Cousteau, the world-renowned oceanographer, described Sipadan Island as ‘an untouched piece of art’, while divers around the world voted it as one of the top five dive sites in the world.
Malaysias only oceanic island, it is very small only 12ha. in size. A 25-minute walk is all that is required to circle the island on foot. As an oceanic island, it rises about 700 metres from the sea floor, attracting diverse marine life from the blackness of the open sea. Surrounded by crystal clear waters, this crown jewel is a treasure trove of some of the most amazing marine animals.
Declared a bird sanctuary in 1933 by the Colonial Government of North Borneo and re-gazetted in 1963 by the Malaysian Government, the dense vegetation on Sipadan Island supports a large variety of tropical birds which include sea eagles, kingfishers, sunbirds, starlings and wood pigeons. Exotic crustaceans including the amazing coconut crab roam the beaches and scurry among the undergrowth.
When diving here, encounters with turtles, resident schools of jacks, bumphead parrotfish and barracudas are almost assured around the tiny coral island.
Try to be part of an early-morning dive to Sipadan at the famous Barracuda Point. In the early hours of the morning, you are most likely to swim amongst big schools of swirling barracuda…
How to get there
The jump off point to Sipadan Island is Kota Kinabalu or Tawau.
Continue the journey by a 1-hour drive to Semporna town.
A 30-minute speedboat will take you to Mabul, which is the jump off point for Sipadan Island explorations.
Since last year, Sipadan has been turned into a sanctuary so accommodation is now only available on nearby islands like Mabul.