Built over the turquoise shallows of Mabul Island is Sipadan Water Village, a wooden stilted resort where the rich waters of the Celebes Sea gently lap beneath your chalet.
The first resort of its type in Mabul, Sipadan Water Village features traditional Bajau architecture and chalet roofs of thatched palm. Getting around the resort is easy as all the rooms and common areas are connected by wooden walkways, decorated with ornamental flowers. Stay here and watch the fascinating, colourfish fish in their natural underwater marine environment from the comfort of your chalet balcony, or gaze out at the vast Bornean horizon.
You can choose from a range of accommodation levels - a spacious Standard Chalet, or a romantic time spent in a Grand Deluxe Chalet where you can luxuriate in your own exterior Jacuzzi spa bath. At off peak times it may be possible for single travellers to share accommodation. You will be close to all the local dive sites of Mabul, and indeed some of them are almost no more than a fin kick away from the edge of the resort. Shore dives are complimentary.
All your needs are catered for at Sipadan Water Village, with their separate restaurant that serves up a large array of Asian and Western cuisine, and the lively bar where you can grab a stool or relax on the comfortable sofa style furniture.
There is a free wireless internet service in the lobby for laptops, or you can use the resort's PCs for a small fee, so you can stay in touch with loved ones, but hopefully leave your work worries behind.
Destinations:Sipadan Island (Diving environment: wall diving, drift diving, advanced divers, very popular; Highlights: shark action, turtles, schooling fish/big pelagics), Mabul (Diving environment: beginner & advanced divers, very popular; Highlights: great macro life/marine diversity), and Kapalai (Diving environment: beginner & advanced divers, very popular; Highlights: great macro life/marine diversity).
When park guest permit numbers allow, this will mean 2 dives at Sipadan, lunch at the resort and then a 3rd dive again at Sipadan. Alternatively it will be a 3 dive day around Mabul or Kapalai. Diving on day of arrival depends on your arrival time. The number of dives quoted in the packages above is based on 3 dives per full diving day.
Sipadan Water Village offers a guaranteed visit to Sipadan Island with a minimum 6 days 5 nights scuba package. Permits to Sipadan island are not transferable.
Resort diving includes:
Dives (as detailed in the packages above), unlimited self-guided shore and night dives at the resort's house reef, boat rides to sites, experienced English-speaking divemaster (maximum 12 divers per DM), tanks, weights and weightbelts, drinking water, hot drinks, snacks. Diving excludes (mandatory, unless customer provides own):
Scuba equipment (US$ 25 per day), Sipadan park permit fees (US$ 35 per day). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival (cash or credit card). Optional extras:
Extra boat dives (Mabul), night boat dives (Mabul, minimum 3 customers), dive computer, nitrox fills for enriched air certified divers (US$ 12 per tank), scuba insurance, soft drinks. Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Important note: All divers must take their passport and diving license, or a printed copy of it, to the Sipadan Island marine park office for presentation. The Sipadan authorities do not accept a digital copy of a diving license and divers that are unable to verify their qualification status will not be permitted to dive.
Resort accommodation includes:
Bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking water, hot drinks, snacks, return resort transfers from Tawau airport, internet access. Accommodation excludes (mandatory):
6% sales and service tax (SST) on accommodation and diving package prices above (payable in advance), Semporna jetty fees (US$ 2 per person per tour booking, payable in advance). Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival. Single Supplement:
If you are a single person you must normally pay in advance for a single supplement, but you may be able to share at non-peak times. Optional extras:
Soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, Unless otherwise stated, all the listed items need to be paid on arrival.
How to get there:
The resort is located along the northern beachfront of Mabul Island. It is a 40 minute speedboat ride from the port of Semporna. The resort will provide a return transfer from Tawau Airport to Semporna and Mabul.
Recommended Tawau arrival flights:
From Kota Kinabalu:
Malaysia Airlines: MH2121 (07:40-08:30), MH2137 (12:30-13:20)
Air Asia: AK 6272 (07:30-08:25), AK 6260 (09:10-10:05)
Malindo Air: OD1702 (13:30-14:20)
From Kuala Lumpur:
Air Asia: AK5744 (06:15-09:15, or 08:10-11:10 on Tuesday), AK5746 (times vary)
Malaysia Airlines: MH 2660 (07:30 - 10:20).
From Sandakan: Malaysia Airlines MH 3093 (09:20-10:00)
Transfer times from Tawau Airport to Sipadan Water Village are 08:00, 11:00 and 14:30 hrs. If you arrive on any flight which does not time well with these transfer times then you must wait at the airport for the next available transfer (which could be a few hours) or overnight at Tawau or Semporna. Only if you arrive on the morning flights will it be possible to dive that day.
Recommended Tawau departure flights:
To Kota Kinabalu:
Malaysia Airlines: MH2134 (18:15-19:05), MH3056 (21:20-22:30).
Air Asia: AK6261 (10:35-11:25), AK 6263 (15:05-15:55), AK6267 (17:10-18:00), AK6265 (21:50-22:40);
Malindo Air: OD 1701 (12:25-13:25), OD 1703 (18:30-19:30)
To Kuala Lumpur: Air Asia: AK5747 (11:30-14:20), AK5749 (16:10-18:55), AK5741 (20:50-23:35).
To Sandakan: Malaysia Airlines: MH3062 (10:20-11:00 OR 12:35-13:15)
Transfer times from Sipadan Water Village to Tawau Airport are 06:30, 10:00 and 13:00 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 information see our Sipadan resorts section. Flight information changes frequently. You are responsible for booking the correct flights.
Dive clubs and group discounts:
Groups of 10 guests or more - 1 extra person can join free of charge with only US$ 100 payable for land and boat transfer.
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.
The chalets are built in the style of the local Bajau architecture and sit above the calm and clear shallow water, where you can spot marine life against the sandy floor. There are 4 types of chalet - 5 Junior (twin bed only), 5 Standard (twin or double bed), 2 Deluxe (king size bed), and 4 Grand Deluxe (2 queen size beds).
For best value-for-money, we recommend the Standard Chalets. We also recommend you requesting a chalet in the Sipadan Wing, as these have the best seaviews and are newer than those in the resort's Mabul Wing.
The various chalet types are differentiated by size and location. The Grand Deluxe Chalet also has a balcony Jacuzzi spa bath.
When park guest permit numbers allow, this will mean a 2-tank dive trip to Sipadan and a 3rd dive at Sipadan after lunch at the resort. Alternatively it will be a 3 dive day around Mabul or Kapalai. Sipadan is approximately 25 minutes boat ride away from the resort. The Mabul sites are just a few minutes away, and Kapalai can be reached in about 12 minutes.
The Sipadan Water Village dive boats are:
12 x 115HP twin engine Yamaha fibreglass boats
Maximum 12 divers per boat
Snorkelling guide for non-divers
Light snacks, coffee, tea and drinking water
Water entry/exit ladders
The dive centre staff are very attentive and safety conscious, and all the loading of heavy scuba equipment will be carried out by them.
Sipadan dives are a maximum of 45 minutes each, dives at Mabul and Kapalai are a maximum of 1 hour each. Boat journey time to Pulau Sipadan from the Sipadan Water Village resort is between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on surface conditions.
Unguided House Reef dives with your own buddy are available free of charge (06:00 - 18:00 hrs).
There are dives available into the famous tomb of Turtle Cavern at Sipadan Island with experienced divemasters, but there is an extra charge for this dive. Night dives and sunset Mandarinfish dives are also available for booking.
The resort scuba centre has guest equipment storage lockers, rinse tanks, camera table, a first aid kit and oxygen. There are also 4 lockable camera rooms, with charging facilities and power adaptors, for those with expensive camera equipment. Nitrox is also available for EANx-certified divers.
Sipadan Water Village has everything you need for a relaxing and memorable time, including a bar, massage service, wireless internet and souvenir shop.
Resort facilities include: Restaurant & bar with daily newspapers - Well equipped dive centre - Free usage of broadband internet - Foot & body massage - Complimentary baby sitting - Baby cots - Souvenir gift shop - Information / tour counter - Laundry - Telephone and fax - Helipad for emergency services and private usage
Sipadan Water Village features a large circular open-air restaurant, where you can enjoy your meals in the gentle sea breeze and above the shallows of Mabul Island.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served buffet style and consist of a blend of international favourites as well as Asian dishes, all made with plenty of fresh ingredients including spices, fruit, vegetables and seafood. There is always tea, coffee, water on hand, as well as snacks to keep you satisfied between meals.
Malaysian and some Bajau food
All food is halal
Asian and American breakfast
Vegetarians can help themselves to the buffet dishes, or order their own favourites directly with the chef
Steaks and burgers
Soups and salads
Other special requests can be catered for, subject to prior-arrangement and availability
There are 2 emergency oxygen supplies - every day 1 unit travels down to Sipadan on one of the boats, and the other remains at Sipadan Water Village for patients with suspected DCI sickness from Mabul. Each day 1 boat is on standby at the resort for any necessary emergency transfer to Semporna for medical attention.
Currently, the nearest re-compression chamber is located at the Navy Base in Semporna, on the Sabah mainland. We strongly recommend that you have your own diving insurance to cover emergencies.
For non-diving related emergencies, there is also a hospital at Semporna.
The resort is patrolled by 24 hour security, and you can safeguard your own valuables in a safety box at reception.
Mabul has a local police station and, in the interests of tourist safety, armed guards patrol the island 24 hours per day.