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“A place where you will find serenity and beauty of nature”

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 7, 2013

The place is simply awesome. They are doing a great job in preserving the coral and the environment. The stay is simply awesome. You can snorkel all day long with the fish. The staffs are friendly too. Being in the middle of the sea, you can jump right into the sea and swim from your balcony. They also provide wedding ceremony as well.

Room Tip: If you are into sunrise, you may want to chose room from 21 - room 50.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Clykitten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 31, 2013

This place is amazing!
The diving, the snorkelling, the people. Just beautiful.

Eating the same food over and again can get a little old, but it was ok!.
I loved sitting at the end of the walkway with a bottle of wine and watch the storms roll over the beautiful sunsets!

I used phone credit while I was over there and the employees would get it for me when they went to the mainland (for a cost).
Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Pancakes85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Great diving and beautiful sunsets, but with their price range and marketing as an option for Maldives Kapalai was a disappointment. Keep in mind that a resort like this is always an experience, but it’s the factual comparison that shows how far Kapalai falls short.

The main problem is that Kapalai is neither a real resort nor a dive base. If you’re looking for a resort, there are better ones available and if you’re looking for a dive base, you get the same proximity with less money. However, the resort does have better snorkeling possibilities than most (lots of turtles) and a guarantee to get you to dive on the Sipadan natural reserve. Therefore it does not offer the best of either, but rather a lukewarm compromise.

If you’re looking for a resort, the problems are
- If you’re not diving, there is very little to do. Even the promoted game room is only used for storage. Walking around gives you a day maximum two do feel amazed.
- There is no real customer service unlike in a real resort where the staff tries to make people enjoy themselves. In fact, except for the welcome briefing (by a dive master) and our checkout formalities, the only customer service was when someone was actually manning the bar.
- The setting is more like commune where visitors hang around without anyone even asking to serve refreshments. This lack of service is even clearer with the sea transport where the mainland harbor operates more like loading dock rather than a welcoming first experience to a luxury resort.
- Actually there is no clear place or person from whom to ask questions or raise issues. Reception is only a counter sometimes manned and mainly used for checkout paperwork.
- Food selection is very limited although there is plenty of it. Expect problems if you require a special diet. I’ve been to isolated places before and true resorts in such places still manage to serve fine food instead of Kapalais camp side BBQ.

If you’re looking for a dive base, the problems are:
- Most of the divers are there with their families who do not dive, so you don’t get the same “all about diving” atmosphere
- The guides are more interested in talking with each other than with the quests. The passion so evident in many diving places has been replaces with routine and process.
- Even though the island itself offers a good reef to dive, with less divers than in an actual dive base, you’re unlikely to find a partner and are stuck to the groups organized by the resort.
- One of my group members had a danger situation when his BCV borrowed from the resort filled on its own forcing him to surface. Luckily he has unharmed and it’s reasonable to expect some malfunctions with equipment in such heavy use. What surprised me were the casual actions of the guide. He continued the dive and only made not of which vest had malfunctioned but did not check the diver – me and his partner did that.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank MikkoOnTheRoad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

We travelled to Sipadan in April 2013. This resort is very difficult to book direct and therefore we arranged via a Malaysian travel agent. The resort rooms are beautiful and clean with stunning views. The diving centre is very well run and the diving in Sipidan is the best we have done in the world. However the restaurant leaves much to be desired. the resort is over crowded with Chinese visitors, who come for the snorkelling and generally honeymoon, unfortunately this often results in terrible treatment of the surroundings, picking up starfish etc, which does not seem to be dealt with. In the restaurant DO NOT be late, you will struggle to get warm food or indeed have much left to choose as servers are not replenished. None of this would be too great an issue if you were getting a bargain but at £500.00 per night per couple, it is dreadful. Go for the rooms, go for the diving which is included in the price we paid, but lower your expectations on being able to eat well or get a G and T.

Room Tip: Rooms at the far end of the Jetty are 10 minutes walk but peaceful.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Cameron_Tours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Definitely one of the best holidays I have ever had. The resort was gorgeous, the staff were friendly, helpful and attentive, and the diving was awesome. We were lucky enough to dive twice at Sipadan which was just gorgeous, there is so much marine life. But even the dives at the house reef or nearby Mabul or Siamil Island offer some great dives. All of the dive masters were great; friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. The food was great and plentiful, catering for a wide range of palates. I would certainly recommend the resort to anyone.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank littlerockmelody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

One of the best places I have ever stayed at.

My family are not divers with kids of 9 and 11 however they enjoyed this place as much as I did. There's so much to see just from your balcony, turtles, rays, fish aplenty. Snorkelling around the resort is rewarding, but can be a little uncomfortable depending on the tides due to stingers/ lice. Not unbearable and not always there. If you go in with a thin steamer you wont even notice.

The house/restaurant staff are friendly and helpful. The diving staff are fantastic with well spoken, knowledgeable and professional staff. Unlike other places I have dived, the majority of the dive masters/instructors are local or long term residents. The staff I spoke to have been there for years and find it a great place to work, which shines through in the service.

I was more than happy to let the kids do a discover scuba with the dive staff, and would have been quite happy to let them do the Junior certificate.

Sipidan is an amazing place to dive. Pristine reef with huge quantities of larger fish species. It's easy to drift right into the middle of a school of jacks. There's also big schools of barracuda, parrotfish, turtles in the order of 30 per dive, reef sharks and the list goes on.

The non-Sipidan diving is also good, but Sipidan is certainly the jewel. If you stay 4 nights you are guaranteed a4 dive day at Sipidan. My only complaint about the resort is that whilst they have access to 14 permits per day ( or more depending on other operators) they will not always use them, as there is a fee. When paying a premium price to stay, I would expect to have the opportunity to dive at Sipidan itself as many times as possible. There was one day that no boats were sent to Sipidan, so there was clearly not a capacity issue within the resort itself. This annoyed me, however, if you have a larger group, you will likely have more success in getting additional dives there.

This negative was still not enough to downgrade the overall experience which was excellent. I would be more than happy to make a return trip.

Apologies for occassional dodgy spelling and caps, but typing on an ipad is a poor experience at best.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Alex G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

The resort is rather far away but this is a part of attraction.
You fly to KL,then to Tawau ,then drive for awhile or rather get driven.
I would not recommend driving yourself, traffic rules appear to be rather relaxed.
Then you take a 20 to 35 minutes boat trip to this amazing place built on stilts on the reef.
From the minute you arrive you feel welcomed.
Staff is amazing!
Everyone is helpful and nice.
Food is served buffet style and there is plenty of food and lots of choices.
Diving is very nice.
We went to the actual Sipadan island twice, permits for divers are issued on the rotating basis.
4 dives.Turtles galore,barracuda in hundreds,HUGE schools of jackfish.
A bit of current at the Barracuda point but manageable.
Boat staff is great.Thank you Ariel, San-San and Julin.
Be carefull while snorkelling in the actual lagoon around the house reef,lots of micro stingers
Turtles come out for breath and you hear them ...Joy

Room Tip: All rooms are great
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank orangecat01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Address: Kapalai, Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A few minutes by boat from the islands of Sipadan and Mabul but a full world away from it lays the exhilarating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon offering the purest image of natural serenity. Dive spots Sipadan and Mabul can be reached in just a few minutes by speedboat. Sipadan-Kapalai is an ideal destination for diver and non-diver alike seeking a great holiday experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan
Sipadan Kapalai Island Hotel
Hotel Sipadan Kapalai Island

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