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.

Malay_MalbulTEMP_02_Locationmap1.jpg Malay_MalbulTEMP_03_P7021420_.jpgDivesiteMaps_Malaysia-Tun-SakaranNP-Sipadan_P6170098_.jpg
All images on this site are clickable for bigger versions

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.



Snorkelling Pictures
Malay_SipadanTEMP_07_P6200692.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_08_P6200695.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_09_P6200714.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_10_P6200689.JPG
These pictures were taken while surface-snorkelling near the dive site ‘Barracuda Point’.

Diving Pictures
Malay_SipadanTEMP_11_PICT0087.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_12_PICT0098.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_13-Bumphead-Parrotfish_PICT0170.JPG Malay_SipadanTEMP_14_PICT0070.JPG
These pictures were taken in less than five metres of water. They are reasonably representative of what the reef-top is like.


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.

Other Linkies:


Written:  Jul 2012               Last Updated: Jul 2012


4 responses to “Malaysia_Sipadan

  1. thanks soo much for the info… you know if there are any places to stay in the area which has a decent house reef for snorkelling….or doesn’t one exist ?…thanx

  2. Hi,

    Thank you very much for this great articles (as well as the one on Kinabatangan which helps a lot). I am leaving next week for a trip in Sabah. What other good snorkelling spot would you recommend that are less costy?

    Thanks a lot and keep up the great work.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s