Malaysia, bordered by Thailand to the north and Indonesia to the south, sits right in the heart of South-East Asia. It is no surprise therefore, that it is home to some of the best scuba diving on the planet. Liveaboards in Malaysia often visit places that cannot be dived by resorts in the area, or can allow more frequent diving at the most sought-after sites.
Many people have heard of Sipadan Island, a little gem of an island surrounded by waters that are absolutely teeming with life. There are few islands in the world that can be so small and insignificant on the surface yet, so extraordinary and celebrated beneath the surrounding seas. Scuba divers look forward to seeing the line-up of incredible creatures that fill the water: sharks, turtles, bumphead parrotfish, jacks and barracuda. Sometimes there are so many fish you can lose sight of your buddies.
There is currently only 1 liveaboard choice in Sipadan Island. You can join for 3, 4 or 7 night trips. While you can expect to do some diving at Mabul and possibly Kapalai and elsewhere, liveaboard diving here means most of your time will be spent on the dive sites of Sipadan.
Anyone considering joining this liveaboard should be aware that it is not the 'comfort' option. While it does guarantee you will dive Sipadan a lot more than with a resort stay, you will find the liveaboard experience here significantly less comfortable. The reviews we receive are mixed. Keen divers who care more about the underwater experience than the comfort of their cabin or quality of the cuisine seem to love it. Those who require a higher level of pampering on vacation often do not. Our aim is to ensure that our customers' expectations are realistic, before choosing this option.
Customer rating: Good
Sipadan is open for diving all year although most agree that April to December is the better part of the year. Neighbouring Mabul is a macro destination, so changes in visibility are of little consequence. The water temperatures in Sipadan/Mabul do not vary greatly during the year, normally hovering in the high 20s°C.
Sipadan liveaboard cruises can be joined either at Semporna or in the waters around Sipadan Island. In either case you will be transported by minibus from Tawau airport to Semporna, to either board the boat, or take a speedboat transfer to it.
Most people fly into Malaysia to Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu before flying to Tawau. More information on: How to get to Malaysia.
You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. Whichever port your boat uses, normally the boat operator provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand). We will send you full departure details during the booking process.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
If you plan on staying in Malaysia before or after your Sipadan Island liveaboard diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.
It's also possible to dive in Sipadan by staying at a resort, if you prefer: Sipadan resorts.
... Prompt responses to the initial emails, very competitive prices. Good organisation of hotel pick-ups, accommodation and boat transfers. The confirmation email of the booking was very reassuring. Once the trip was booked and paid for I didn't have to worry about anything else ... -- Rebecca Graham, Australia. [More customer reviews]