All about Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai

Aerial view of Pulau Mabul and the surrounding reef captured by Capt. Naru Kiob.
Traveling to Mabul? Here are 8 things you should know to make the most out of your trip.

Pulau Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai are located so close to each other (15-20 mins by speedboat) that they are often visited together.

Mabul Island accommodation caters to every budget. Most homestays, lodges, hotels and resorts are situated on the island itself while one is located on a modified, offshore oil-rig about 500 meters from the beach.

There are no hotels or resorts on Sipadan, all visitors stay in Mabul, Mataking or Semporna town.

Sipadan permits are required for visiting the island, a marine park gazetted in 2004.

The legendary Bajau Laut people, nicknamed the ‘nomads of the sea’ live in and around Mabul.

The main activities on Mabul are diving and snorkeling. Ocean kayaking and island hopping are popular too (More things to do in Mabul Island).

Day tours to the 8 islands and 2 reefs in Tun Sakaran Marine Park can be organized from Mabul (check with your resort/dive operator).

If you visit around April, be sure to check out the Regatta Lepa festival.

Tun Sakaran Marine Park

If you have time on your hands, or would like to venture further out, another great way to spend the day in Mabul is to visit Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

The marine park is a 1.5 hour journey from Mabul, but is well worth the visit.

It is the second largest marine park in Sabah, and consists of 8 islands and 2 reefs:

Bohey Dulang – With plenty of activities, this is the most popular island in the marine park.
Bodgaya – Connected to Bohey Dulang, Bodgaya is the biggest island in the marine park.
Maiga – Beautiful islet located in between Sibuan and Selakan.
Mantabuan – Smallest island in the marine park. Just 2km from the northern tip of Bohey Dulang.
Sibuan – Great for diving as Sibuan shares the same Alice Channel as Sipadan Island.
Sebangkat – Nearest island to the mainland (10-15 mins from Semporna).
Selakan – Most populated island in the marine park. Has a school which serves all 8 islands.
Tetagan – Small island located at the tip of Bodgaya.
Kapikan Reef – Also known as ‘Lonely Reef’. Connected to the reef at Mantabuan.
Church Reef – Connected to the reef at Sibuan.