Malaysia, Sipadan – What to Expect and is it Worth it?
Sipidan has a reputation.
For those in the circles of divers, Sipidan, located in Malaysia, is known as a treasure chest for fabulous aquatic viewing. Stories upon stories have returned with the eager diver, ready and willing to share of being immersed in a cloud of rainbow like visual sensations as he swam with the reef fish, within an arm’s reach of swirling barracudas, while a hammerhead lazily swam by. He has other tales of sea turtles numbering over fifty coming to join the diving party…some of them swimming up to a human and seemingly kissing the mask of the diver.
Although on an earthly plain Sipidan is not much more than a sandy island around forty acres in size, scuba diving in Sipidan is a truly a dreamlike adventure. Not only is the viewing of a rich marine ecosystem plentiful, but the water is also friendly for all levels of divers. Warm and calm, the water visibility in Sipidan remains clear nearly year round, allowing for viewing to be spectacular.
A diver can expect to see countless underwater species while diving around the Sipidan area. From giant green turtles to massive sharks, from batfish, fusiliers and jack fish to the plentiful barracuda, Sipidan offers a full range of oceanic creatures for the diver to discover. In addition to the immense amount of larger ocean creatures that Sipidan is home to, there are also a huge quantity of tiny critters, too. The unique and rare creatures that exist in the area make it a underwater photographer’s dream.
Beyond the immense amount of sea life to see, there is another fascinating aspect to Sipadan: the ocean walls. Surrounding the island there are giant walls ranging in depth of fifty feet to ten feet all the way down to two thousand feet. Amongst the oceanic walls are outcroppings that act as a place of rest for the green turtle. Beautiful, colorful soft coral also inhabits the deep walls, giving the area a other worldly affect.
Sipidan, as of January 2005, was declared a Marine Protected Area, making it only accessible for visitors and those scuba diving during hours of 6 am to 6 pm. For that reason, it is best to work with only reputable resorts and liveaboards such as the operations that we partner with. For example, an amazing resort that we work with, Sipidan Water Village, gives guests the incredible experience of sleeping over the water, remaining eco-sensitive at all times.
So, what are the drawbacks to this amazing place. It is a bit of a distance to travel. There has also been some recent civil unrest, a recent kidnapping of hotel guests and island inhabitants as well as the limitations on diving with removal of resorts, setting diver amounts to 120 people total, and not allowing night dives. Not to mention, now you have to get approval from the Sabah Government to access the Sabah Parks. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t completely worth it.
Does a trip to the best scuba diving in the world intrigue you? Let us take care of the entry permits and any hassle and help you have an awe-inspiring vacation in one of the world’s most desired scuba diving locations.