Kapalai Island

Kapalai Island in Sabah, Malaysia is actually a large sandbar with a scenic resort built on stilts over the shallow crystal waters of the lagoon. It lies about 15 minutes by speedboat from the renowned Sipadan Island.


  • Stay in an overwater bungalow
  • Enjoy unparalleled views over the ocean
  • Swim in shallow and crystal-clear water around the resort
  • Go muck-diving and uncover the weirdest and most wonderful creatures

Kapalai island – The mere name conjures the image of crystal clear waters and a floating paradise like no other. Kapalai island is one of the many beautiful diving havens in this part of the world. However, Kapalai is truly unique because it is not an island but a thin strip of sand which rises above the water at low tide

Diving around Kapalai is exceedingly easy and shallow but quite spectacular: the sandy bottom and the spare coral heads host an amazing array of small, often yet-to-be classified, shamelessly colorful subjects, making the diving here an unforgettable experience. Kapalai lies about 15 minutes by speedboat from the renowned Sipadan Island.

Kapalai Island Resort

Kapali Island Resort is a scenic resort built on stilts over the shallow crystal waters of the lagoon with no land sight. Resort facilities include dive centre which provides diving, snorkelling and kayaking gears, and equipment for rental, souvenir shop, game room and internet access.

All 40 wooden chalets offering twin and triple sharing accommodation are attached with a cleverly thought-out balcony which offers the total sought out privacy by the lovers of sunbathing and sun tanning. Chalets are equipped with bathrooms with shower and bathtub, basic toiletries, coffee and tea making facilities and 220 volts electrical points.

From the windows of the elegant and spacious rooms, one can spend endless hours looking at the sea as if it has a life of its own just dancing to its never ending tune just a couple of feet below.





Diving at Sipadan Island

Sipadan is indeed the best experiences you can have when scuba diving in Malaysia. Sipadan Islands is about 10-15 minute boat ride from Kapalai
You don’t automatically get a permit of you stay at the Kapali Island Resort.

Kapalai Island Resort guarantees one day diving to Sipadan Island if you stay a minimum of a 5 Days and 4 Nights.

Safety Kapalai Island

Many Foreign offices have warned tourists against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah, following a number of attacks involving people travelling in the area.
Today, in the interests of tourist safety, there is a significant police and army presence in Sabah East Coast (from the town of Kudat in northern Sabah to Tawau), and several road checkpoints.
The Malaysian government also enhanced efforts to patrol its maritime border with the Philippines. The border between the Philippines and Semporna is about 3 hours by boat.
Dusk to dawn curfew (between 7pm to 5am) are strictly enforced on the sea to ensure the safety of tourists and divers. There are also fully-armed Malaysian security forces stationed on the islands with resorts.
These terrorism preventive measures are welcomed by all Malaysian people, to ensure safety and security for all Malaysians and visitors.


Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is accessible through Semporna, Sabah Malaysia. The journey from Tawau airport to Semporna takes approximately one hour. Then from Semporna to Kapalai by speedboat takes approximately 45 minutes.


Semporna Private Jetty to Kapalai Resort
10:00 am; 12:30 pm and 15:00 pm

Kapalai Resort to Semporna Private Jetty
06:30 am; 09:30 am and 13:30 pm


It’s possible to dive in Kapalai year round. Like any other Muck diving site, visibility is generally poor even at the best of times, which is the dry season from March to September and ranges from 5 to 8 meters.
Peak season is July and August. The rainy season which occurs between December and March is not too bad and diving conditions are often very good at this time too.


What to expect: Macro Life

Average Visibility: 5-15 metres

Average water temperature: 26 – 30°C

Depth: 5 – 20 metres

Diving Season: Kapalai Island is open to diving all year round. However, for the best visibility visit during the dry season from March through October.

Must dive: Mandarin Valley, Mid Reef and Ray Channel

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