I love meeting new travelers, especially ones that have been to awesome places that I haven’t been to. A great example is Natalia from Always Trekking who has been all over the world. When I found out that she has been scuba diving at Sipadan on Borneo, I just had to get some photos from her. Here they are, plus a little info on a dive location that I can’t wait to get to.If you need help or advice or you just want to shoot her a message find her on twitter or on Facebook.
~Sipadan Island Park, Sabah, Malaysia~
Sipadan Island Park is an incredibly popular diving destination on the east coast of Malaysian Borneo. After years of border disputes between Malaysia, Indonesia and even Philippines, the island was awarded to Malaysia. The beautiful coral reef is home to 3000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species. Reef sharks, hawksbill turtles, carangidae, barracuda are at every turn and if you’re lucky you may bump into zebra sharks (I did!), hammerheads, and even whale sharks.
The dives range in difficulty, but overall the current was not strong when I dove. Visibility ranges from 5 meters to 40 meters, it really depends on the weather and the sediments in the water. As Sipadan is off the coastal shelf you will be doing mostly wall dives near the top of a 500m drop.
Malaysia turned the Island into marine sanctuary and implemented daily limits to the amount of divers allowed to plunge into the island’s coral reef. Let that be a warning to you, plan ahead! You should absolutely book your Sipadan dives with a dive shop in advance. Your last drop off point from the mainland will be the town of Semporna where you will catch a boat to Mabul.
Unfortunately, if you leave your hotel’s property you will find the small island of Mabul dirty, overcrowded and uninviting. The action beneath the waves makes up for some of that and you can still find nice places to enjoy the sunset and unwind.It is important to seek out the right city that meets the need of your particular group. One city near these diving spots is Kota Kinabalu. Here you can find great restaurants, night life, and even historical museums. Just like planning ahead for your dive, it is crucial to start booking your accommodations early. Booking a Kota Kinabalu hotel in advance can help cut down on last minute expenses. Wherever you stay make sure to check out the beaches and the abundant diving spots. Getting under the water and exploring the aquatic land beneath is a definite must.
Natalia is a cyclist, diver and an overall adventure seeker. She runs a travel blog Always Trekking where she and her partner in crime write about their shenanigans abroad and at home.