Kapalai Island: the closest island to Sipadan Kapalai Island is one of the nearest islands to the diving holy place of Sipadan. There is no vast beach, no coconut trees, only the sea as far as the eye can see, and the marvelous underwater world makes it as famous as the small Maldives. In fact, Kapalai is more beautiful than the Maldives. When the weather is calm without wind, the sea is like an aquarium without walls, never-seen corals and fish, even wild turtles are very common, come here to experience the wonder of snorkeling. if you go to Kapalai to dive, first go to Semporna’s dive shop. You can directly book at Kapali Water House and rent all the tools for diving in the island, at the diving center. In Kapalai you can buy the diving certificate too, but it is more expensive and not recommended.
Sipadan: The Holy Mecca of Divers Sipadan is located in the southeast corner of Sabah. It is only 0.03 square kilometers big and all the professional divers believe it’s one of the best diving sites on the world. It is the divers’ Mecca. The submarine scene of Sipadan is unique. After 5 meters of shallow sea, it is steep with a vertical drop of 600 meters. Moreover, the landscape of the seabed is shocking. The continuous and uninterrupted coral garden, sharks, giant tortoises and devil rays all are frequent visitors. If you are lucky, you can meet a group of hammerhead sharks, that’s why it became famous like "God's aquarium". A diving certificate is required for diving in Sipadan. Among the 15 hidden sites there are 6 for OW divers, on the other sites AOW level or above is required for diving. Where the underwater conditions are difficult, it is recommended to have at least 50 bottles of gas for diving.
Mabul Island: nearest accommodation to Sipadan Mabul Island is 15 minutes from Sipadan by boat. One of the most perfect places to stay is Sipadan. There are only holiday resort villages on the island. You cannot book your accommodation or diving courses unless you have a reservation on the island, and every day a restricted number of people can stay on the island. Staying there is extraordinarily popular, it’s almost impossible to book earlier than February or March. There are 7 or 8 diving schools on the island, such as Uncle Chang, the popular diving school in Semporna. On the island there is also a characteristic drilling platform, the Sea Venture. You can take the exam for junior certificate (OW course) for an all-inclusive accommodation for RMB 2500~5000. There are many diving sites around, and there are a lot of underwater biological communities, with a concentrated distribution. We can see turtles and sea barracudas. In Mabul Island, if you want to take the diving exam for certification, you have to reserve an appointment in the dive shop in advance. It’s better to stay in the country for 1-3 months otherwise you may encounter the embarrassing situation of being without coach. Each dive shop has its own office in Semporna. After the order payment is completed, they will take you to the Mabul Island by a speedboat and after the course they will bring you back to Semporna.
Pom Pom Island: A heaven for turtles Pom Pom Island is next to Sipadan, it is a holiday resort and a diving spot. This beautiful scenery here rivals the Maldives, but the expenses are only a quarter, the quality-price ratio is unparalleled. Pom Pom Island is a paradise for turtles. At many diving spots you can see large sea turtles, and there are countless fish in the sea. If you don't stay on the island, you can participate in the 3 day diving event in Bang Bang Island. You can book in many of Semporna’s travel agencies for 300 MYR/ person, its about 600 Chinese Yuan, and diving equipment is included. You usually need to arrive at the dive shop at 8:00 in the morning and depart at 9:00. If you live in Bang Bang Island, you can book on the island at the holiday resort. If you book in advance, it is MYR 305 /person/3 dives, which is about RMB 610.
Mataking Island: Underwater diversity, suitable for beginner divers. Mataking Island is located in the northern part of Mabul Island, near to Sipadan. On the east side of the island there is a coral cliff that extends obliquely to the sea level. The west side of the island is a vertical coral cliff. The east and west coral walls are 100 m deep. This complex and diverse environment is very much suitable place for beginner divers to practice. The corals in this area are protected, because many kinds of rare fish, such as scorpion fish, green-tailed fish, and huge turtles are attracted to this spot. Biodiversity makes the underworld scene of Mataking Island as lively as the animal world in the bottom of the ocean. There are two islands of Mataking Islands: the bigger Mataking and smaller Mataking. During ebb, the two islands are connected. There are water houses in Malaysia. Compared to the same water houses of Kapalai Island, there are jungles, and beaches, and the meals are more suitable for foreigners.
Mantanani Island: Kota Kinabalu is the most beautiful outstanding island Before going to Mantanani Island, one could never see the most beautiful Kota Kinabalu. It is about 30 minutes far from Kota Kinabalu by boat. It received its name after the manatees in the nearby waters. The sea is clear and the view is more beautiful than we could imagine. Snorkeling is the main activity here, but there is a restriction of 120 people per day to board on the island, so book in advance. Near the island there are 20 diving spots. The biggest characteristic is the clear water, which has visibility of 20-30 m. If you snorkel in the middle of the sea you can clearly see the seabed. There are plenty of fish in the water, it’s perfect for making photos. If you go to the Mantanani Island for snorkeling you can make a one day trip to Kota Kinabalu. There are two snorkeling trips there, and you can come back to Kota Kinabalu on the same day. If you want to stay on the island, you can also stay for two days and one night which covers three snorkeling.
Snorkel one day to visit the submarine aquarium. There are several difficult diving areas in Tioman Island, where you can see the seabed clearly up to 33 m as it is considered to be a natural aquarium. It is a world-famous diving paradise. There are more than 20 diving spots around the island, which can be roughly divided into three categories: coral reefs around the island, coral reefs outside of the island’s periphery and artificial reefs. The underwater view is extra exciting, and you often can see the 4m long nurse sharks, groups of humphead parrotfish, and the black tip reef sharks, yellow porgies, sponges, sea turtles and so on. The least problematic way is to participate in a snorkeling day trip organized by a travel agency, where you can see several amusing diving spots. If you go deep into Chebeh Island, you will find everything underwater has to show in the Tioman Sea. Occasionally you can meet a whale shark as well.
Perhentian Island: a snorkeling site with exceptionally good ecology Perhentian Island is located on the border of Redang Island Marine Park. There are two islands, big and small. The scenery does not compete with the one on Redang Island but the environment protection is better here. The island is a dense pristine jungle with lots of wild animals such as lizards, squirrels, monkeys and tree frogs. Under the water we can see a beautiful coral and marine life, where you can even meet sharks. The Big Perhentian Island and the Small Long Beach are only 400 m far from each other, so you can take the water bus between the two islands. Actually the small island is more lively, a couple of food stalls and cheap hotels can be found there, and the prices are cheaper. The big Perhentian Island is more or less suitable for diving, there is a hidden station, where you can take a diving exam to get certificate. Other options for fun are to rent a boat to float around the island, or to sail to a lonely bay for swimming, sailing boats or canoes, fishing in the deep sea, and so on. There are many fun things to do, but most people who do these activities are foreigners.