Experience Malaysia, Diving
Ever since diving legend Jacques Cousteau raved about Sipadan's diversity of marine life, this diving mecca has become the number one “must dive” destination in Malaysia. It is located off the east coast of Sabah, Malaysia's eastern most state and lies on the north-eastern corner of Borneo, the world's third largest island.
Sipadan is well known for its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles which gather there to mate and nest and it is not unusual for a diver to see more than 20 turtles on each dive. Barracuda Point is where a diver may experience the thrill of swimming amidst schooling barracuda and big-eye trevally, which gather in thousands forming spectacular tornado-like formations. With the possibility of seeing pelagic such as mantas, eagle rays and hammerhead sharks, each dive at Sipadan is a highly anticipated event.
The macro life is equally mesmerizing; garden eels, leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimps, fire gobies and various pipefish are guaranteed at various dive sites. Sipadan also boasts a rich variety of corals; both soft and hard, among these Dendronephyta in delicate pastel colors and feather stars of all shades and hues. The most popular dive spot to view these is the Coral Gardens.
The diversity of the abundance of marine life found at Sipadan gives it the reputation of being one of the best dive locations in the world. For environmental reasons Sipadan Island has now closed its resorts. This means the best way to dive here is by staying in on one of the resorts on the nearby islands of Mabul or Kapalai, both 15 minutes by boat.
This small island surrounded by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200-hecter reef is notably known as one of the worlds best "muck-diving" sites. The reef is on the edge of a continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 75 to 100 feet. Mabul is arguably one of the riches single destinations for exotic small marine life anywhere in the world! Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus and bobtail squids are just a few of the critters you will find. The list seemingly endless, critters are in abundance at this magical macro site!
Sipadan Water Village – With 45 cottages, the resort is dubbed a "Water Village" because it is built entirely on pilings, connected to the shore by a long pier. SWV offers you the excitement of superb diving along with comfort and relaxation. The village, fringed by beautiful corals, pearl white sands and amazing marine beauty, is the epitome of class and luxury.
Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) – With 14 wooden-type bungalows built entirely over water, each bungalow is exquisitely furnished with contemporary decor, equipped with remote control air-conditioner, ceiling fan, private bathroom-hot/cold shower and toilet. Spacious private balconies offer panoramic views of the sea. Facilities includes a large and airy restaurant for dining, a souvenirs shop selling variety of t-shirts, accessories and gifts, a business center with internet service and a full service dive center.
Sipadan Mabul Resort (SMART) – Located on the beach, The Smart Divers Resort is nestled in a coconut grove on the south-east side of the island overlooking the water and near-by Sipadan Island. It consists of 45 wooden duplex chalets. Each room has two oversized single beds, a couch, ceiling fan, air-conditioning, hot and cold fresh water and a front verandah.
This unique and new dive destination is built on a sand bar only 15 minutes from Sipadan Island. The sand bar was many years ago the island of Kapalai, but erosion has taken its toll on what was once a truly beautiful island. The village sits on what is known as the Ligitan Reefs, a very extensive stretch bordering the deep and vast Sulawesi Sea. The underwater scene is completely different compared to Sipadan’s. It is a macroworld of great interest featuring rare subjects ranging from dragonets, fire gobies, wasp or leaf fish, gurnards, seamoths, the tame crocodile fish, giant frogfish of different colors, eels and rays just to name a few.
Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort – Sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of the Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon. Kapalai's chain of 40 chalets are all linked by miles of wooden walkways for those who like to take their morning jog while looking at thousands of fish swimming just a few feet beneath.
Sandakan, explore Malaysia by land & water
Lankayan Island Resort - A jewel like tiny island in the Sulu Sea, an hour and a half boat ride north of Sandakan; Lankayan has been declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area to adopt the eco-tourism concept. Unpopulated and covered by thick tropical island vegetation on its topside, this peaceful, untouched little bit of paradise is ringed by an endless pure of white sandy beach, offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation in 16 wooden seafront chalets. Lankayan Island is a true Macro paradise.
Sepilok Nature Resort - Hidden amongst a veritable treasure trove of tropical plants and grasses, hug trees and spectacular orchids in bloom, the quaint bungalows of the Sepilok Nature Resort are within walking distance of the world-famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, precious home of the last wild Orang-Utans of Northern Borneo. Combining rich traditional style with contemporary luxury, Sepilok Nature Resort is the ideal starting point for most other wildlife land destinations in Sabah such as the fauna rich Kinabatangan River and the surrounding Sukau area.
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary – The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was set up in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utan. Set in the lush 4,300-hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Centre under the administration of the Wildlife Department of Sabah attracts tourists and researchers alike, giving them the opportunity to watch the orang utan up close in their natural habitat. A boardwalk leads you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10.00am and 3.00pm by rangers. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area.
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