Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Pulau Sipadan (Sipadan island) is a small island in the Tuk Sarakan National Park. It is about 20 km from the town of Semporna in the South-East of Sabah State, Eastern Malaysia.
Sipadan is famous for scuba diving. The island is formed from an ex-volcano in the middle of the Celebes sea, rising up 600 metres from the seabed. This isolation makes it a magnet for all kinds of aquatic life.
To protect the environment, all accommodation is banned from Sipadan and all the resorts there were all torn-down in 2005. There is also a quota system where only a couple of hundred people are allowed to visit the island each day. This quota is shared between divers and snorkellers.
What this adds-up to, is that if you want to go to Sipadan, you have to (1) book well-ahead (2) pay a lot of money.
I went diving, not snorkelling, in Sipidan on a couple of days in June 2012. I did some surface-snorkelling during the lunch breaks. This page is just a dump of some photos I took while snorkelling, (plus a few more from the shallow, end-part of some dives) to illustrate what you might see if you went on a snorkel trip there.
Sipidan is a beautiful spot, but, on balance, I don’t think I would spend 1000 MYR to do a one-day snorkel trip here. That’s a lot of money. If you have a lot of money, then fine, go for it. But if you are on a budget, you can find somewhere else that is 80% as good for one-third of the price.
If you are going to book a snorkel trip package, I suggest that you ask your operator whether it is a dedicated snorkel trip or whether you will be just tagging along on a dive boat. A lot of the reef-top is more than 7 metres deep and unless you are taken somewhere specifically suitable for snorkelling, you might find it too deep to see very much.
There is a map of the dive sites in Sipadan on the Dive Sites page.
Written: Jul 2012 Last Updated: Jul 2012