Best Things to do in Sipadan Island Sabah Malaysia

Things to do in Sipadan Island Sabah Malaysia

If there is one thing Sipadan Island is chiefly known for is scuba diving. So all those people who are interested in recreational activities like snorkeling and scuba diving will be thrilled to come here. Sipadan Island is the most renowned isles of Malaysia that is known to offer the best scuba diving in all over the globe. Adventure lovers from every corner especially come here to experience the pleasure of scuba diving and Sipadan Island leaves them completely exhilarated.

Altogether, Sipadan Island or Pulau Sipadan is a place quite likely of taking your breath away with its awe-inspiring views. Crystal blue water and white sandy beaches are what describes this miraculous isle. This mesmerizing island is ranked as one of the top 10 diving spots by divers all across the world. Whereas the late Jacques Cousteau who happens to be a very popular oceanographer has claimed Sipadan Island as a beautiful piece of art that still remains untouched.

Being Malaysia’s only marine island, Sipadan Island occupies a small space and rises only 700m from the sea. The island is quite small, hardly covering an area of just 12 hectares. With all the resorts and eateries closed down for safety and preservation purposes the island does not have much recreational activities besides snorkeling and scuba diving.

Things to Do in Sipadan Island

As a visitor, however, you surely must come to Sipadan Island to observe the breathtaking views it has to offer and experience the rich marine life. You also need to know best time to visit Sipadan Island to make most of your trip to the island. Below we will be discussing a few things to do in Sipadan Island for tourists.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is one of the must things to do in Sipadan Island, as it is the perfect spot for scuba diving and is ranked amongst the highest in the world. In simple words, it will be a divers dream come true to go scuba diving in Sipadan Island. While scuba diving you will come across endless species of fishes and sea creatures under water and it will be impossible for you to keep track of all the species.

There are some restrictions you have to take care of while you are visiting Sipadan Island, and because of the immense safety precautions that have been taken to preserve the island the maximum number of divers permitted per day are just 120. Since night dives are not permitted, the divers can visit Sipadan Island for scuba diving anytime between 6:00am to 4:00pm. You will properly direct by the dive operators who will help you start and end your dive in the restricted time frame.

You can find a rich reef life underwater with both soft and hard coral that looks extremely beautiful. If you are very lucky you will be able to witness Jackfish or Barracuda “tornadoes” as they keep changing directions. Other than that there are tons of Leopard Sharks and Hammerheads along with a variety of Sea Turtles, Humphead Parrotfishes, Eagle Rays and the like.

Sometimes you can even see whale sharks from a distance so it is advisable to be careful. It will be a bad idea to go scuba diving in the monsoon season as the rain wipes away the visibility of the marine life and you will not be able to enjoy. Also take note that scuba diving requires certain permits so do not go diving on behalf of a diving school that operates without a permit. The rates are comparatively high at RM 120 but it is definitely worth the experience as you are scuba diving in one of the best diving spots all over the world.

Related Article: Best time to dive in Sipadan Island


Another one of the must things to do in Sipadan Island is snorkeling. Not everybody can possibly be a diver, and to put it more simply, scuba diving is not everyone’s cup of cake. An alternative for non-divers is snorkeling in the fantastic deep sea of Sipadan Island, which is equally as fun as scuba diving. You can go by foot from the Sipadan beach and get to the reef but to get the further part of the reef you will be required to take a boat. From the surface you can observe numerous corals and reef fishes and even turtles or sharks if you are extremely lucky. A snorkeling trip will cost you comparatively more than scuba diving, costing you almost RM 170 inclusively.

No less than a Treasure Island

Sipadan Island or Pulau Sipadan can rightly be called a treasure island. Those white sandy beautiful beaches will make you want to head out for a leisurely stroll with your partner. So if you wish to take a walk all around the island it will barely take you 25 minutes to take a full round and is hence, one of the for sure things to do in Sipadan Island; that is how small the island is.

What is most fascinating about Sipadan Island is the vast diversity of marine life that reflects from the darkness of the open sea. It is quite an attractive sight as you the oceanic life from a distance. Crystal clear water encloses the island and you are bound to find some extremely rare and astonishing species in this hidden trove of treasure.

A treat for Bird Lovers

Not only is the island renowned for its deep sea life, but also for its exotic tropical bird views. You can opt to view the colorful birds here which include starlings, Wood Pigeons, Kingfishers, Sunbirds, Sea Eagles and many more. This island has been declared the sanctuary for birds, late in the year 1933 by the foreign government of North Borneo, which was published after 30 years by the Malaysian government.

These birds are an additional beauty to the island, so if you are a bird lover and bird watching is amongst your hobby then this is one of the must things to do in Sipadan Island for you.

The Underwater World

All over the island you will find exotic crustaceans scattered here and there such as the incredible coconut crabs that are bustling in the undergrowth. While you are scuba diving you will encounter the remarkable bump head parrotfish and turtles as well as the barracudas. Sipadan Island can boast about its underwater world as it has more than 3000 species of aquatic fishes and corals lying under the seabed. The marine life of Sipadan Island will leave you spell bounded and these wonderful species amidst the beautiful coral island add a whole new charm to scuba diving.


Since all the resorts have been shut down at Sipadan Island, visitors are expected to lodge at the resorts in the nearby islands (Mabul or Kapalai Island) which are not very far away from Sipadan Island. You can grab a speedboat from Pulau Sipadan and reach Pulau Kapalai in approximately 20 minutes where you can stay at the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort. Mabul Island has a couple of interesting dive resorts and there are various communities residing there whose survival is based on fishing and supporting the tourism industry.

Scuba diving is available all through the year although the most appropriate time to experience the breathtaking underwater world is during the dry season when the visibility stretches up to 50m. With so much to do in such a tiny little island, your trip is bound to be an exciting one. Your visit to Sipadan Island will be a complete waste if you do not experience scuba diving and snorkeling.

Related Article: Sipadan Water Village Resort

Sipadan Liveaboard

The Sipadan Liveaboard is one of the interesting things to do in Sipadan Island for tourists. This particular activity will let you explore the island in a yatch. You can stay in the yatch as all the basic facilities are available from accommodation to the food & more. The MV Celebes Explorer is providing Liveaboard activity to the tourists in Sipadan Island. Learn more about Sipadan Liveaboard.

Places to Eat

Unfortunately, there are no places to eat in Sipadan, you will either have to arrange on your own or the tour operators arrange it for you. Only if you are staying at a nearby resort, you can have all your meals there. You can go for Mabul Café, Restoran Bismillah and Safina Malaysian Restaurant in Semporna. However, there are many other café and restaurants that you will find on Semporna as well as on nearby islands of Sipadan.

Hence, you may have now observed that Sipadan Island is purely ideal for diving activities and for sightseeing enthusiasts only. However, this place is really beautiful, offering few really exciting activities. You should try to cover all the things to do in Sipadan Island, discussed above or recommend an activity to do in Sipadan Island by adding comments below.

If you’re exploring Sabah in Malaysia or Borneo Island, you might be interested in knowing activities you can do here. Below are some recommended guides:

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