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Pulau Sipadan Questions

London
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Pulau Sipadan Questions

Hi folks, I am in Thailand for 3 weeks in June, and had planned to spend the last week diving in Koh Similan. Unfortunately, the seasons are against me - the Monsoon season starts mid-may and the national park is closed.

I have dived Koh Tao before, when I did my Advanced Open Water, so was looking for other alternatives.

I can get to Tawau, and then back to Bangkok reasonably cheaply, and so am really tempted to dive Pulau Sipadan - which is supposedly some of the best diving in the world.

Questions:

1 - Bearing in mind i would be getting there about June 15th, and that Sipadan has limited permits for divers - how likely is it that i can turn up and book some dives for the next day (likely to be cheapest)?

2 - If people advise me that it is best to book in advance, how much is it likely to cost me - ideally would like to do 4-6 dives (2-3 days) in Pulau Sipadan. Most of the prices I have found on the net are all-inclusive of flights, accomodation, etc.

3 - Any other activities that I shouldn't miss whilst I am in that part of Borneo?

4 - The lonely planet website has a warning that the islands in the South East of Sabah are "very dangerous due to the possibility of kidnapping by terrorsts" - how real is this threat - are people still going there?

Cheers folks.

Gopes

Malaysia
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1. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

Gopes

>>>>>4 - The lonely planet website has a warning that the islands in the South East of Sabah are "very dangerous due to the possibility of kidnapping by terrorsts" - how real is this threat - are people still going there?

Update>>this happened many many years ago,already history and long forgotten.

Lonely planet is not up to date???

One rare occasion and L.P.kept harping on it???

Extremely safe now,not to worry.

Cheers

Petaling Jaya...
Destination Expert
for Malaysia
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2. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

Item 4> Safety of the islands, have replied to this before.

Check out this previous posting:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298306-i9428-k187…

London
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3. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

Thanks chaps.

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

We stayed at the Mabul water bungalows for 3 nights, booked their Diving rate (vs. non-diving rate) We booked our own flights. It seems that each resort in the area gets a set number of permits per day, but you don't get to stay at Sipidan all day. Mabul Water Bungalows, at least, let you go out to Sipidan for 2 dives, then you did a dive at Mabul. The 2 dives are one after the other, then you get out of the area so they can "reuse" that permit for other people. I think they have 3 groups of people they send over for a total of 6 dives during the day, if not more. But it doesn't really matter, you don't feel rushed, you get 2 full dives in, but you just leave the island when done. There's nothing to do on the island anyway...

SO, the long-winded respnose to your 1st question is, if you stay at a dive resort, your chances are pretty good that you will get to go to Sipidan.

London
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5. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

OK, back in the UK now.

I spent 2 days (6 dives) diving on Sipadan, and it definitely lived up to expectations.

I dived one day with Scuba Junkies, who I thought were pretty good - the equipment was well maintained, and the DMs knew there stuff. I got lucky though, as they were fully booked for Sipadan until the beginning of July.

I dived the other day with Uncle Changs. I was much less impressed with this outfit - the DMs were Malaysian, and did very little in the way of pointing out sea life - they basically just led us along the wall until we had run out of air. The equipment was poorly maintained - I tried 6 masks without finding one which was water-tight - so had to keep emptying my mask.

Notwithstanding, I still thoroughly enjoyed the diving with both outfits, and Uncle Chang seemed to have more availability - they were not fully booked.

Basically, if you can book in advance, and are on a budget, I would recommend Scuba Junkies over Uncle Chang - if Scuba Junkies are all booked up, then give Uncle Chang a try.

I did not stay on Mabul island - I had meant to, but didn't have time to sort it out - stayed one night in the Dragon Inn and 2 at Scuba Junkies - both were ok.

I also did a night-dive in Semporna, which was a very cool muck dive - although I came very close to a box jellyfish (within 2 feet - which was definitely not cool...).

Pics can be seen here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/gopalgriffith

All in all, if you are in Borneo, and are in to diving, then Pulau Sipadan is a must.

Happy travelling.

Gopes

6. Re: Pulau Sipadan Questions

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