Built on stilts over a sandbank, the Sipadan Kapalai Resort is a unique water village which gives you the thrilling experience of watching reef fish swimming underneath your water chalets during your leisure time. Winner of our 'Dive Resort of the Year' award in 2010, this is the place to go to for an idyllic ocean holiday.
This environmentally friendly resort stands alone on the mile long sand bank of the Ligitan Reefs located in the Sulu Sea. Your days will be filled with sun tanning on the beach or your private balcony, and marvelling at the world class dive sites around Kapalai and Mabul, as well as day trips to Sipadan Island with its outstanding wall dives. Each trip ends with great food and freshly cooked snacks after diving.
If you've never tried macro diving before, then you're in for a treat - what a place to start! Shore diving at Kapalai is free of charge, as is the wonderful snorkelling, where you can watch the spectacularly colourful mating mandarinfish, right under the resort jetty. It's easy to fall in love with macro diving when it's this simple!
Special rates apply for Malaysians and expatriates with Malaysian work permits. Please contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where park permit numbers allow this will mean a 3 dives in Sipadan. All Sipadan dives are done in the morning with refreshments served between dives, with the dive boat returning to the resort in time for lunch. Alternatively it will be a 3 dives day around Kapalai and Mabul, except for 2 dives on the day of arrival (depending on arrival time) and none on the day of departure.
Kapalai Dive Resort offers a guaranteed visit to Sipadan Island with a minimum 4 days/3 nights scuba package. Permits to Sipadan island are not transferable. For shorter packages or for diving Sipadan more often, there is still the chance to purchase permits on arrival, depending on availability. Permit fees and diving service (approx. US$ 195 per diver) will then be paid on arrival (if permits are obtained). Please ask us for more details.
For more guaranteed dives at Sipadan, please check MV Celebes Explorer.
Resort diving includes:
Dives (as detailed in the packages above), unlimited self-guided shore and night dives in front of scuba centre, boat rides to sites, experienced English-speaking divemaster (maximum 10 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts, Sipadan permit fee, drinking water, soft drinks, hot drinks, snacks. Diving excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own):
Scuba equipment (approx. US$ 38 per day). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Optional extras:
Extra boat dives at Kapalai, Mabul or Sipadan, dive computer, scuba insurance. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
Resort accommodation includes:
Bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, soft drinks, hot drinks, snacks, return resort transfers from Tawau airport. Accommodation excludes (mandatory):
Semporna jetty fee (approx. US$ 3 per person per tour booking). If you are a single person it is compulsory to pay in advance for a single supplement. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Optional extras:
Alcoholic drinks, internet access. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there:
The resort is located on a sand bar called Kapalai. It is a 45 minute speedboat ride from the port of Semporna. Kapalai will provide a return transfer from Tawau Airport to Semporna and Mabul.
Tawau arrival flights:
From Kota Kinabalu: Air Asia: AK 6260 (09:00-09:50); Malaysia Airlines: MH2121 (07:20-08:05), MH 3051 (08:50-10:00), MH2137 (14:10-15:00)
From Kuala Lumpur: Air Asia AK5744 (07:15-10:05), AK 5746 (10:40-13:35); Malaysia Airlines MH 2660 (07:30-10:20)
From Sandakan: Malaysia Airlines MH 3093 (08:55-09:35)
You will be picked up at Tawau airport and transferred to Semporna on the day of your arrival if you arrive Tawau airport before 14:00 hrs. Otherwise you will need to overnight in Tawau or Semporna. From Semporna the boat transfer departs every day for Sipadan Kalapai Resort at 10:00, 12:30 and 15:00 hrs. Only if you arrive on the morning flights will it be possible to dive that day.
Tawau departure flights:
To Kota Kinabalu: Air Asia: AK6261 (10:15-11:05), AK6263 (17:25-18:15), AK6265 (21:50-22:40); Malaysia Airlines: MH3052 (12:45-13:45), MH2134 (15:40-16:30), MH3056 (20:50-21:50)
To Kuala Lumpur: Air Asia: AK5745 (10:30-13:10), AK5747 (14:00-16:45), AK5749 (15:30-18:15), AK5741 (18:50-21:35); Malaysia Airlines: MH2661 (11:05-13:45). MH2665 (18:20-21:00)
To Sandakan: Malaysia Airlines: MH3092 (09:55-10:35), MH3104 (20:15-21:05)
Transfer times from Sipadan Kapalai Resort to Tawau Airport are 06:30, 09:30 and 13:30 hrs. Please plan 3 hours between resort departure and flight departure time.
Note that special transfers can be arranged for groups. Individuals/couples can arrange private transfers at additional cost. For more details see our Sipadan resorts travel section. Flight information changes frequently. You are responsible for booking the correct flights.
Dive clubs and group discounts:
Groups of 9 guests or more will receive an additional 1 extra place free of charge.
If this is your only planned visit to Borneo Malaysia then we strongly recommend that you consider a 2 night add-on stay at the Sepilok Nature Resort, Sandakan in Sabah, to allow you to witness the not-to-be-missed jungle adventures with orang-utans.
Diving around Kapalai is exceedingly easy because of the generally shallow sites. The resort offers speedboat trips with 3-4 boat dives per day to its neighbouring islands of Sipadan and Mabul, except for 2 dives on the day of arrival (depending on arrival time) and none on day of departure.
Where park permit numbers allow, you will make a 4 dive trip to Sipadan. All Sipadan dives are done in the morning with refreshments served between dives, and the dive boat returning to the resort in time for lunch. Alternatively it will be a 3 dive day around Kapalai and Mabul.
Dive boats specifications:
Monohull speed boats
Maximum 10 divers per boat
Dive guides are provided on trips as well as refreshments. Unlike the other resorts in the area, the boat returns to the resort in between dives. Boat journey time is about 15 minutes.
Night dives, jetty day dives and sunset dives to see the mandarinfish, are available free of charge with a dive buddy.
The Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort provides a host of facilities for you the diver, non-divers and your family.
See a real life Finding Nemo saga unfold beneath your feet!, land on the beach for a game of volleyball, or simply relax in the resort watching satellite TV.
Resort facilities include: restaurant and bar - pool table - board games - darts - table tennis - beach volleyball - sea canoes - international telephone and facsimile - internet access including personal laptop connectivity - baby sitting - sun deck - gift shop
Location: Kapalai Island, near Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia
Currently, the nearest re-compression chamber is located in Semporna, on the Sabah mainland. Use of the chamber is expensive so please dive safely. We suggest you take out suitable dive insurance and bring the necessary details.
1 divemaster and a small supply of emergency oxygen is provided for each dive boat, and oxygen is available back at the resort.
For non-scubarelated emergencies, there is a hospital at Semporna.
The resort has deposit boxes in reception to safely store your valuables whilst you are away enjoying your diving. The police and Military are on active call service at all times.
"The service was friendly, professional and fun. Equipment could have been a little more suited for the individual ... more female wetsuits for rent. But food, service and all staff were excellent." - Kira Goodwin, Canada ...
"Equipments are in good condition. Our children had just their open water certificate. My younger son is just 12 years old. We had a divemaster for our family. He was very patient and helpful. We appreciate the perfect organisation of the dive centre. Everything was ready when we arrived for diving. We are really grateful for the help (putting on the equipment) from the dive crew. Between 2 dives - juice, water, tea, coffee were always served." - Yan Lin, France ...
"Very good resort, well organised, friendly staff, however staff sometimes incorrectly set up my gear e.g tank band too lose which was disppointing. There were many optional dives that I struggled to find a buddy for as a solo diver and feel that maybe a board for 'buddies wanted' or similar would be good; but other than that no complaints!" - Paula Walters, UK ...
"Because non-divers have nothing to do there except snorkeling & eating, basically Kapalai's really good for those who wanna go for diving only. They should arrange some activities for those who are not diving except the snorkeling. I meant if there's such as trips to the near islands with a tours would be nice." - Salem Hussein, UAE ...
"We had our own gear with us but the service was really good. Kapalai took care of our equipment and made diving really easy, e.g they even helped me to put my fins on. =) Facilities were really amazing too and the buffet food was tasty." - Marjaana Torkkeli, Finland ...
"The resort was excellent, well maintained, wonderfully organised and all the staff were incredibly friendly. The food was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and would definitely recommend it." - Lindsay Underwood, Hong Kong ...
"We have really enjoyed our stay. Great food, very friendly staff and amazing dives. All DM great guys. We wish we could stay a while longer." - Marcello de Valle, London, United Kingdom ...
"You are very lucky people that you have this virgin piece of nature. It is fantastic. Take care of this place to be able other people to visit and enjoy Kapalai paradise!!" - Irina, Moscow, Russia ...
"Awesome diving spots!! Had a really great time here and this is one spot I will definitely come back to. Thank you to everyone who has made this trip such an enjoyable one!" - Wei Woh Goh, Singapore ...
"The resort itself is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there - I only wish I could have stayed longer. Needless to say, the diving was exceptional!! I have been dreaming of diving Sipadan for many years so had high expectations, in spite of which my mind was well and truly blown!" - Nicki Hearne, United Kingdom ...
"I thought the staff was for the most part excellent, some are much better than others ... Facilities were excellent." - David Probert, USA ...
"Very unique resort! Everything was well organised, from the pickup, the dives, the accomodation, the food and the overall service. The resort has tremendous amount of staff, and everything was above expectations." - Sophie Ballara, Switzerland ...
"The people at Kapalai are extremely friendly and the resort itself is heaven. This ensured we all had a great holiday." - Amund Frislie, Norway ...
"Absolutely fantastic. Great service, friendly staff, good food. A dream destination." - Jana Marit Schuele, Sweden ...
"I just wanted to drop you a line as you organised our stay at Kapalai and we had a fantastic time. We had a really lovely bungalow, great food and sensational diving - it couldn't have been a better few days. We only wished it were longer! The staff you have at Kapalai are exceptional and looked after us well. I have already passed on your details to quite a few friends who saw the pictures and were impressed!" - Vicky van Veeren, South Africa ...
"Everything excellent at the resort - the people were great, the accommodation was stunning, the food was good and the diving was beyond belief on Sipidan." - Alistair Brown, United Kingdom ...
"The dive and dive support teams were of very high standard as were the hospitality of the staff and comfort and cleanliness of the facilities." - Mahgoub Hassan, United Kingdom ...
"Staff at Kapalai were very helpful, welcoming beyond expectations. The facilities were very good and the food was fantastic." - Veronica Smith, Australia ...
"Resort facilities are excellent; rooms are beautiful; staff is friendly and diving was excellent." - Gaelle Ulvoas, France ...
"Staff were very polite and service was excellent. Accommodation was excellent with very nice view from terrace and on the night time water is lighted and you can see turtles, stingrays etc." - Lars Ojansuu, Finland ...