Sipadan Diving Holidays: An Overview

What makes diving at Sipadan so special? First of all, its geographical position: Sipadan Island is in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in these ecosystems.

Image of Louisa Fisher
Image of Neill Ghosh

Neill and Louisa are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • With the island rising up from 600m depth, the wall dives here are very exciting
  • More turtles than you can possibly imagine
  • Great muck diving at Mabul Island

Our Guide to Sipadan Diving Holidays

Located in the Celebes sea off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia, Sipadan is an oceanic island rising up 600m from the ocean floor. Upwellings from the very deep waters surrounding this tiny island transport cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface which in turn brings in a huge variety and abundance of marine life, attracting divers from all over the world. The diving here really is world-class.

Turtles, both green and hawksbill, are around every corner along with a large number of white-tip reef sharks, huge schools of barracuda, jack and trevally, bumphead parrotfish as well as the occasional ray so keep your eyes peeled! There are around 12 dive sites to choose from around the island including dramatic drop-offs, sloping reefs and the famous turtle cavern.

There are government regulations about how many people can dive at Sipadan per day which keep changing so do speak to us before booking a trip. This means that you may not be able to dive Sipadan every day but there is still fantastic diving around the island of Mabul, specifically muck diving with all the weird and wonderful critters, and around Kapalai which has incredible macro life.

It is no longer possible to stay on the island of Sipadan itself as the government seeks to protect this unique and incredible marine ecosystem. Instead, you can stay on one of the excellent resorts that lie a short distance from the island itself.


Original Highlight

Birds eye view of Sipadan with surrounding dark waters
Image of Louisa Fisher

Thought to be one of the best shore dives on earth, the 'Drop-off' is located just 5m from the white sandy shores of Sipadan Island with the wall here dropping immediately away to 600m. One of the main features of the site is the 'Turtle Cave' where divers used to find the skeletons of turtles who entered the cave but became lost and couldn't find their way out. You have to be properly trained to enter the cavern and is definitely one for the adrenaline junkies out there.

Louisa, Original Diver

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 31°C / 87°F
  • Rainfall — 16cm / 6.5 inches
Flight from London

12:45 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +8 hrs

I just wanted to thank you for your impeccable organisation. It really was first class service at every point, I can't praise you and your organisation highly enough. Thank you so much and I hope to have the chance of travelling with you again.


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