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Kapalai Resort | Dive Sipadan


Kapalai Resort, located alone on a sandbank in the Celebes Sea, is a perfect choice for divers and for those looking to chill out at a beautiful resort during a holiday to Sabah, Borneo. Located a short distance from world-famous Mabul and Sipadan, both offer easy access to world-class dive sites alongside the surrounding resort. Stunning resort, beautiful location, great diving – Kapalai Resort ticks all the boxes!

Note – The price above is per person based upon the 4D3N Non-Diver Package. The minimum booking is for two persons. Once you select your start date and your chosen package, hit the Check Availability button. The total price will then be displayed in the shopping Cart. Quotations for single travellers, children, divers, and Malaysian Rates are available upon request.

Prices are valid from 1st March 2024 to 31st December 2024.

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Accommodation Package *

Kapalai Resort – Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Packages near Sipadan, Borneo

Kapalai Resort is an incredibly popular choice for divers wanting to dive near Sipadan and also for non-divers looking for a beautiful resort to chill out at during their holiday to Sabah, Borneo. It’s easy to see why when you know what the Resort offers. Kapalai Resort stands alone on a ~ mile-long sandbank of the Ligitan reefs in the tropical waters of the Celebes Sea. The Resort is only a 5-minute boat ride from the island of Mabul and 10 minutes from the island of Sipadan, both of which offer world-class diving. A stunning resort in a beautiful location that is easily accessible by a 45-minute speedboat ride from the port of Semporna, Sabah.

Kapalai Resort offers two types of packages to its guests – a scuba diving package and a non-diving package. The underwater scenery at Kapalai is perfect for snorkelers and divers. Some of the world’s best dive sites for macro life are located just under the resort and easily accessible from the dive centre jetty. Diving around Kapalai Resort is easy and shallow and home to some amazing marine life treasures. The sandy bottom and coral heads host an amazing array of small, colourful species, including nudibranchs, mandarin fish, flamboyant cuttlefish, frogfish, leaf fish and larger species, including crocodile flatheads, cuttlefish and moray eels. It’s easy to fall in love with macro diving when it’s this easy!

For those on the diving package, Kapalai Resort offers three boat dives a day around Kapalai and Mabul (or four dives if going to Sipadan – subject to permits). On your arrival day at the Resort, you will be able to join a maximum of 2 dives (depending on arrival time), and on your departure day, divers join no dives in line with diving safety standards. Kapalai Resort aims to make your diving experience as comfortable as possible with Dive guides provided on boat trips as well as refreshments, and the boat returns to the resort in between dives. The resort will try its best to arrange for those on the diving packages to dive at the world-famous Sipadan. As there are only 176 persons per day allowed to visit Sipadan (managed by Sabah Parks), the chances are higher for divers visiting Sipadan if your stay at Kapalai Resort is longer (recommended 4-day stay or longer).

Stunning Location, Luxury Accommodation with Diving & Snorkeling on your Doorstep – Kapalai Resort has it all!

On top of its great location, Kapalai Resort offers great food and luxury accommodations in twin-sharing wooden chalets. All chalets come with an ensuite bathroom and large private balconies with sea views aplenty. Choose to do as little, or as much, as you want during your stay at Kapalai Resort – whether it be sun tanning on the beach or your private balcony, diving the world-class dive sites on your doorstep or snorkelling in the shallow waters surrounding the Resort. All meals are served in the open central restaurant at the Resort, and in the evening, you can choose to watch the sunset with a cold drink from the sundeck. Kapalai Resort offers facilities to help you enjoy your stay, including a dive centre that provides diving, snorkelling and kayaking equipment for rent, broadband internet access, a souvenir shop and a game room.

If you are looking for a beautiful island stay during your holiday to Sabah, Borneo, but don’t want to travel towards Sipadan, then we have another perfect choice for you – Lankayan Island Resort, located on the east coast of Sabah, accessible from Sandakan. Another stunning Resort in a stunning island location is ideal for divers, snorkelers and those looking to chill out.

Typical Itinerary – 3 Nights Package at Kapalai Resort

Day 1

Today you start your stay at Kapalai Resort. You will be met at Tawau Airport and transferred by minibus to a private jetty in Semporna for the scheduled boat departure to Kapalai Resort. The scheduled boats depart Semporna Jetty for the Resort at the following times:- 1000 hrs, 1230 hrs and 1500 hrs. We recommend you catch an earlier boat transfer to Kapalai Resort to get the most from your first day:-

  • For divers on the 1000 hrs boat transfer to the Resort, you will join an orientation dive & a guided boat dive (Meals included: Lunch and Dinner)
  • For divers on the 1230 hrs boat transfer to the Resort, you will join an orientation dive only today (Meals included: Lunch and Dinner)
  • For divers on the 1500 hrs boat transfer to the Resort, you will join no dives on your arrival day (Meals included: Dinner only)

Day 2 
Meals: B/L/D
Your first full day to enjoy yourself at Kapalai Resort. For those on the scuba diving packages (‘Divers’), you will have access to 3 guided boat dives to dive sites at Kapalai and Mabul, unlimited jetty dives (subject to safety surface intervals) and night dives from the jetty (for those with night diving experience). The latter two diving activities are not guided, and you must be with a dive buddy.

Guests on the non-diving package are free to spend their whole stay at leisure. Other activities available for divers and non-divers include swimming, snorkelling & ocean kayaking.

Day 3
Meals: B/L/D
Divers will have access to 3 guided boat dives to dive sites at Kapalai and Mabul. As this is your penultimate date at Kapalai Resort, divers should finish their last dive by 18:35 hrs at the latest. Please note that the resort works to a safety standard of no diving within 24 hours before departure flight time.

Day 4
Meals: B
After breakfast, you will check out from Kapalai Resort and join a scheduled boat transfer to Semporna, followed by a minibus transfer to Tawau Airport. The scheduled boat transfer departs from the resort at 0630, 09:30 and 13:30. Those on the 13:30 boat transfer departure will have the chance for lunch at the resort.

Inclusions – Kapalai Resort Packages
At Kapalai Resort, the diving & non-diver packages both include the following:-

  • Minibus transfer from Tawau Airport to our Semporna Jetty (return)
  • Scheduled boat transfer from Semporna jetty to Kapalai Resort (return)
  • Chalet Accommodation on a twin or triple share basis at Kapalai Resort
  • Delicious freshly cooked meals (buffet style) at the Resort’s restaurant – breakfast/lunch/dinner as per the outline itinerary.
  • Tea, coffee, water, cordials and afternoon snacks at the Resort’s restaurant
  • Snorkelling around the resort
  • 0% Sales & Service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019
  • Semporna Jetty Fee

The diver package at Kapalai Resort also includes the following:-

  • Three guided boat dives daily – except on arrival & departure days. For the included boat dives, you will be guided by an experienced English-speaking divemaster (maximum of ten divers per dive guide)
  • Tank, weight and weight belt are provided
  • Unlimited house reef dive in front of Kapalai Dive Centre*
  • Night dives in front of Kapalai Dive Centre – for divers with night dive experience only*

*Unlimited dives and Night dives are unguided dives & divers must dive as a buddy pair (no solo diving).

Exclusions – Kapalai Resort Packages

  • Tourism Tax, which is currently RM10 per room per night, payable at the Resort
  • The Sipadan permit fee (if you get a permit) is for divers only, and you need to be a minimum of a certified PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or the equivalent). The Sipadan Dive Permit is RM450.00 per diver per day.
  • Rental dive and snorkel gear (limited gear is available to rent at the Resort’s Dive Centre)
  • Single supplement (for those staying in a chalet on their own)
  • Alcoholic drinks at the Resort’s restaurant
  • Personal Insurance
  • Flights

Notes – staying at Kapalai Resort
Package prices are based on a minimum of 2 persons booking together (staying in the same chalet) for packages at the Resort. To book the diver package at Kapalai Resort, you need to be a certified Open Water Diver.

Kapalai Resort has certain rules they apply for safety, including: – No pregnant women are allowed by boat to Kapalai Resort, no diving is allowed within 24 hours before departure flight time, and snorkelling by boat is not available. Diving, as always, is subject to weather conditions on the day. There will be no refund if a dive(s) needs to be adapted or cancelled on the day due to weather for safety reasons.

Buying the diving package at Kapalai Resort does not guarantee you will go diving at Sipadan. Kapalai Resort puts Divers on a waiting list with Sabah Parks, and if a diver is allocated a day’s permit, they will go diving at Sipadan at no extra cost on the specific date of the permit. Divers will only find out once staying at Kapalai Resort if they have been allocated a permit (by Sabah Parks) to dive at Sipadan.


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Sipadan Diving

  • How do you get to Sipadan Island?

    Currently, no tourists are allowed to stay overnight on Pulau Sipadan. To go diving at Sipadan you need a permit which is allocated by Sabah Parks. Sabah Parks issue an allocation of Sipadan permits to Resorts located on islands near Sipadan (such as Mataking Resort or Kapalai), and to a selection of Dive Centres located in Semporna. If you book to stay at a Resort near Sipadan the Resort will collect you at the start of your stay from either Tawau Airport (TWU) or a hotel / Lodge in Semporna. From there you will be transferred to a jetty in Semporna and then join a boat transfer to the Resort. You can fly to Tawau Airport either from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) located on the west coast of Sabah, Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or Singapore (SIN). 

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