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Dive Review of Kapalai in
Malaysia/Sipadan

Kapalai: "Excellent Macro dives", Jun, 2019,

by David W., Paris, FR (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 11019.

Photos Submitted with this Report


Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We stayed at the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort for 4 days, it was lovely with traditional-style wooden chalets surrounded by crystal clear waters, and hundreds of critters and pretty fish like Blue-spotted Rays, parrotfish and needlefish swimming right below your room.
We dived at Sipadan twice, it was everything I’d expected and more as we got to see spectacular Pelagics like white tip Reef Sharks, huge schools of Jacks and Bumphead parrotfish and Longfin Bannerfish. The visibility here was anywhere between 50-90ft, except it got a bit cloudy around the parrotfish with their sandy poop!
We dived at Mabul a few times which has natural and artificial reefs teeming with weird macro critters, Nudibranchs, schools of colourful fish, Blue-spotted Rays, Ribbon Eels, Cuttlefish and Pipefish etc. We also dived around the Kapalai House Reef below our chalets once and it was unexpectedly amazing. This artificial reef was full of gorgeous reef fish, Eels, Nudibranchs, sweetlips and even Sting Rays and Giant Groupers etc.
The dive centre was well-run and kept diving tours to 5-7 people with no depth limits. It was strange having an armed guard onboard with us, but we did feel safe wherever we went. The resort and dive centre aren’t set up to accommodate photographers, but I was able to hire a private guide so I could do underwater photography.
Many of the guests were Chinese Non-divers who come here for snorkelling so the dive boats weren’t crowded which was great, but the reviews I’ve seen about their behaviour were spot-on as they would rush madly to the buffets at mealtimes, and even though there was plenty for everyone, they’d literally grab all the food like it was going to run out!
Websites Kapalai   [same]

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Philippines Thailand Indonesia Red Sea
Closest Airport Tawau airport Getting There Tawau to Semporna via minivan Semporna to Mabul island.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 26-29°C / 79-84°F Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-90 Ft/ 15-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Diving at Sipadan requires 15 logged dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available?

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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