Getting to Pulau Sipadan is quite an adventure. If you're flying in from Kuala Lumpur, you can fly directly to the Tawau [Tu Wow] airport; lucky dog. From anywhere else in the world, you'll need to fly into Kota Kinabalu airport. From Kota Kinabalu airport, catch a connection to the Tawau airport. The next step involves catching a bus or a van to Semporna which takes about 1 hour. From Semporna, you'll catch a private boat to your dive resort which takes about another hour.
WHERE TO STAY
Sipadan was once the center of a territorial dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia. On April 23, 2000, A Filipino terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf, kidnapped 21 people from a resort on the island. Eventually, all 21 victims were released. In 2002 the International Court of Justice awarded the island to Malaysia. In 2004, in an effort to conserve a balanced ecosystem on and around the island, the Malaysian government ordered all on-site resort operators to move their structures off of the island. The Malaysian military now protects the island and surrounding areas against terrorist attacks. So, since staying on Sipidan isn't an option, you'll have to stay at one of the neighboring resorts.
|Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort|
A NOTE OF CAUTION
If you want to dive here plan ahead, travel with a dive center, and make as many arrangements as you can ahead of time. The rules for diving at Sipadan change daily. Sometimes they let five boats approach the island, sometimes four, sometimes none. A boat of divers may be allowed to do one, two, or three dives before leaving the island. The best way to be sure you'll get to dive Sipadan is to stay at one of the resorts for at least a week. That's why we stayed at the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort, the diving around the resort made waiting for Sipadan worth it, and the diving at Sipadan is worth the wait!