Amazing Diving in Sipadan,
One the the World's Top 5 Dive Site!


The world's top diving destination

Home to over 3,000 bio-diverse species of fish and coral, the incredible underwater paradise here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both snorkellers and scuba divers alike, with about 100 dive spots, including 14 notable sites that attract divers the world over, and is also a 20 minutes speedboat ride to both Kapalai and Mabul Islands.

It is one of the few places on earth where you could marvel at coral formations, and enjoy sightings of manta rays, turtles, schools of angel and trigger fish, barracudas, moray eels and gobies, as well as whalesharks, hammerhead sharks and white-tip sharks, all in just a single dive!

West Sipadan

Hanging Gardens, Staghorn Crest, West Ridge, Lobster Lair

The western side of Sipadan boasts steep wall dives that are sure to amaze divers and snorkelers alike. As the deepest part of Sipadan, the western side plunges an immense 2000 metres downwards in some parts, and the only time you’ll catch a glimpse of the bottom is when the visibility is better than 40 metres. This excellent visibility usually occurs during the dry months of March to October where divers can spot hammerhead sharks and grey reef sharks lazily swimming at depths of more than 60 metres.

The sites on the west of Sipadan are best dived in the afternoon when the sun hits this section of the island. They are also best done as drift dives, allowing divers to follow the currents that will eventually take them towards South Point.

Aside from the shark and turtle sightings on the western side, the most impressive aspect of these wall dives is the sheer enormity of the walls themselves – the steep angle at which they plummet down to the deepest depths of the ocean and the colourful corals, sponges and sea fans that decorate the wall. There’s also some excitement away from the wall in the blue water where divers might be able to encounter large pelagics.


Mid-Reef, White-Tip Avenue, Turtle Patch, Coral Gardens

All-too-often outshone by Sipadan’s more famous sites, the eastern side of the island has a great deal to offer. With good conditions and visibility, a number of dive sites can be combined together at once, beginning at Turtle Patch and allowing the strong currents to wash you towards Barracuda Point. This will allow you to watch the marine life from a unique and interesting vantage point, almost as if they are playing a part in a movie or underwater documentary.

The eastern Sipadan dive sites are best enjoyed in the morning when the sun shines on this side of the island. The colours of the magnificent reefs and walls in the region are beautifully lit by the morning sun and there’s plenty to be seen. This side of Sipadan boasts sightings of giant tuna, devil rays, pickhandle barracuda, manta rays and giant trevallies to name just a few.


When is it best to dive at Sipadan?

Although scuba diving is possible every month of the year, the best visibility (often up to 50m!) is during the dry months of March to July.

Sipadan is generally warm and sunny all throughout the year, although there is a short wet season which presents cooler ocean breezes and scattered rain showers. Luckily for Sipadan visitors the area is not prone to typhoons or monsoons and is open for diving year round.

Temperatures range between 26°C and 32°C all year long but the views when the visibility is at its best are simply breathtaking.

Peak Touristic Seasons

There are peak times when tourists tend to visit. Generally, the more popular months are July and August and times around the Chinese New Year, Christmas and New Year holidays. Sipadan is also popular at the start of May and October for the two Golden Weeks.


A quick 3-minute speedboat ride from the right of the jetty will take you to Barracuda Point where thousands of barracudas form a spinning vortex along the 20m-deep wall in the strong currents.

As well as admiring the soft and hard corals, you’ll see schools of fish like bump head parrot-fish and sharp-toothed trigger-fish, as well as some pelagics such as black tip reef sharks, eagle rays, giant trevallies and even tuna regularly patrolling this spot too.

Previously renowned as the world’s best shore dive when divers were still permitted to stay on Siapadan, the Drop Off is less than 5 metres from the beach and presents an impressive and sheer drop down a straight wall to more than 600 metres. Located on the northern side of Sipadan, the Drop Off is an example of just how unique Malaysia’s only oceanic island is. Snorkelling, free diving and shore diving are the way to do it at the Drop Off, which is highly popular as a first dive site for beginners or discovery divers. Underwater photographers and marine biologists will believe they’ve stepped off into underwater heaven as the area is teeming with marine life in all shapes and sizes.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and Reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 5 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Open Water/Advanced Open Water

One of Sipadan’s best sites, Hanging Gardens is ideal for free diving, snorkelling and scuba diving. The colours of this southern Sipadan reef are an underwater photographer’s dream, and the variety of coral life along the wall is amazing to see.

Favouring the soft corals are the likes of clown fish, sweetlips and damsel fish. Inside the cracks and crevices of the reef lie lobsters in hiding and small sea slugs. Divers are spoilt with larger marine life sightings too such as white tip sharks, reef sharks and bumphead parrot fish.

As if that wasn’t enough to excite, turtles are in abundance at Hanging Gardens, with many divers regularly spotting a dozen or more turtles in one single dive! Drift diving is what it’s all about at this site: divers follow the currents that generally travel towards South Point. The site is best visited in the afternoon as the sun shines on the kaleidoscope of colours on the coral reef, igniting their vibrancy and making for fantastic photographs. The sun also makes for beautiful silhouettes of the sea turtles as they swim overhead.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 5 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Open Water

Known as the signature dive, the Sipadan Jetty/Drop Off is a spectacular 600m wall drop full of soft and hard corals, pretty sponges full of macro creatures, crabs and shrimps.

This dive site is crammed with hundreds of swirling schools of bat-fish, Mackerels, giant trevallies and barracudas, but keep a look-out for the leopard and white tip reef sharks though!

Type of Dive Site: Wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 25 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water

Located on Sipadan’s north west side, North Point is an incredible wall dive with an impressive array of marine life in all shapes and sizes. From the smallest sea squirts and sponges to colourful anemones and stunning sea turtles, this deeper dive has it all.

Type of Dive Site: Drifting wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 25 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water

If you want to catch sightings of hammerhead and thresher sharks, which are normally found cruising at depths of 40m or more, then take a 15-minute boat ride from the jetty to South Point.

This deeper wall dive site has a ledge at around 20m depth, which leads to a sudden drop off. Just over the drop is where you will find the rare sharks swimming in the strong currents.

Along the shallower top of the wall, you can see moray eels peeking out of the hard and soft corals, several patrolling white tip reef sharks and schools of banner-fish.

There’s a coral garden covered in staghorn coral and an immense wall to wonder over at this great location. Divers and underwater photography enthusiasts will be hugely impressed by the diversity of marine life as well as the enormity of the wall that lies nearby. In fact, many divers opt to swim off the wall on days when the visibility is good, just to catch a glimpse of how big the wall really is from a different vantage point. Located on the north western side of South Point, Staghorn Crest is another site best dived in the afternoon due to where the sun will be shining. All marine life great and small live around the area including nudibranchs, shrimp, trigger fish, angel fish and groupers.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 20 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water

Description goes here.

A short swim to the right of the jetty and about 20m deep is the most talked about site - Turtle Cavern:

As well as encountering hundreds of trevally and fusilier fish, you could lose count of the number of graceful green turtles gliding around the entrance, as you head into this huge underwater cave system which is about 65m long and full of interesting stalactites and stalagmites. However you will also see quite a few skeletons inside, as a spooky legend says that this is the spot where turtles come to die.

Sipadan’s eastern side is all too often overlooked as there is so much choice in the area that divers tend to simply flock to the most popular sites. However, Sipadan’s east has plenty to offer in the way of large marine life sightings – manta rays, barracuda and large tuna can often be seen. As the name of the site suggests, sea turtles are frequent visitors to this area and the odd white tip reef shark might also casually cruise past.

The sites on the east are best visited in the morning when the sun illuminates this side of the island and the west side remains in shadow. Under the right conditions, divers can opt to visit multiple eastern dive sites in one dive, combining Turtle Patch with Barracuda Point and others as the current takes you along. A number of fascinating table corals can be seen at Turtle Patch as well as parrot fish, devil rays and large trevallies.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 5 to 12 m
Minimum Qualification: Open Water

Located east of a jetty and close to the Drop Off, the eerie Turtle Tomb or Turtle Cave is a dive suited for the more advanced diver. It is one of Sipadan’s major highlights and is a cave system that lies around 20 metres deep.

The cave begins at an opening to the wall and follows 65 metres of twists and turns which have confused and trapped many turtles in the past, hence the name Turtle Tomb. Turtle skeletons can be seen in a number of caverns, which has led to folklore claiming that this area was the final resting place for sea turtles. There is plenty to see within the cave, starting with the fantastic view of the vast blue ocean from just a few metres inside to the many stalagmites and stalactites that lie deeper within.

Due to the nature of the dive, all divers need to be experienced with cave diving and require special equipment as well as a knowledgeable dive guide in order to assist with navigating the cave. If your cave diving experience is lacking you won’t be permitted to travel any further than the cave’s light zone, although there are things to see right at the entrance too such as trevally and fusiliers.

Type of Dive Site: Cave dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 17 to 23 m
Minimum Qualification: Advanced Open Water/Dive Master

As the name of this south eastern Sipadan dive site suggests, white tip reef sharks are the main draw card for this thrilling dive. You’ll also get the chance to see grey reef sharks, sea turtles and manta rays.

Best dived in the morning when the sun shines on the eastern side of the island, this wall stretches to around 40 metres, and below 30 metres is where divers will find waving sea fans and plenty of black coral. The rest of the wall features colourful fans, feather stars, sea squirts and sea whips.

White Tip Avenue is an underwater photographer’s dream – the sharks are fairly familiar with divers and will simply cruise along unperturbed, giving photographers plenty of time to get the perfect shot. Look out for hammerheads casually milling around the wall and if you choose to venture away from the wall slightly you’ll see impressive-sized schools of jack fish.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and Reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 17 to 40 m
Minimum Qualification: Open Water

West Ridge offers some of the deepest wall dives in Sipadan and can be brilliant when dived in the afternoon. Closeby and similar to the Hanging Gardens which boasts an abundance of soft corals and sea fans, this site is best dived as a drift dive to gain an overview of the underwater magic as you float by. The stunning scenes of anemones, colourful corals and sea fans are even better when flecked with bits of warm afternoon sun, and divers are sure not to be disappointed with the marine life either.

West Ridge is home to macro life as well as larger pelagics such as grouper, Napoleon wrasse and resident sea turtles who like to crunch on the corals. Anemone fish and sweetlips have also been known to hang around this site.

For the most flamboyant and colourful site in Sipadan, take a 10-min speedboat ride from the jetty to Mid-Reef.

With depths of 15-20m, you’ll find gorgeous Moorish idols, anemone fish, gobies, harlequin sweet-lips, bat-fish and cardinals all swimming amongst the reef which is covered with pretty coral formations, sponges and purple gorgonian sea fans, while schools of green turtles swim all around.

Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens is situated on Similan Island’s southern side and is a popular dive site for reef shark and sea turtle sightings. Filled with colourful and healthy corals, the reef is located in shallow waters near a beautiful sandy beach. The reef is so shallow that it is even possible to appreciate its beauty by snorkelling, which many swimmers choose to do in order to spot turtles, manta rays, sharks and octopuses from above.

Friendly humphead wrasse and inquisitive, sometimes aggressive titan and clown triggerfish can also be seen. Sea turtles are in abundance in the area and can often be seen feeding on the wall edges no more than 10 metres down from the surface. Feather stars cover this bordering wall, however it near the reef’s shallows where most of the marine life can be found. Teardrop and blackspot butterfly fish, stunning angelfish, puffer fish and even humpback unicorn fish are all residents of the Coral Gardens. The site is best visited in the morning as the morning sun shines on this area of the island while the other areas of the island are still in shadow.

Type of Dive Site: Wall and reef dive
Visibility: Up to 30 m
Depth: 10 to 23 m
Minimum Qualification: Open Water



To dive Sipadan is to experience “an untouched piece of art” as proclaimed by world renowned explorer Jacques Cousteau. Today, it is still one of the best dive site in the world.


Sipadan is an underwater paradise with whirling tunnels of barracudas, hundreds of fish species, pristine corals, walls and reefs crammed with rich variety of marine life which is simply awe-inspiring.


Sipadan is mainly home to big pelagics, reef sharks, huge sea turtles and massive schools of fish. It was great to combine it with Mabul which offers some of the best macro I have ever seen.




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