Widely known as Malaysia’s version of the Maldives, Kapalai Island is not, in the true sense of the word, an island.
It is in fact a picturesque, white sandbank at sea level formed as a result of hundreds of years of erosion. This idyllic, sun-steeped paradise sits in the middle of the Celebes Sea, with no land in sight.
There is only one resort here, the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort; its surreal water chalets are built entirely on stilts atop shallow waters near the edge of the Ligitan Reefs.
Accommodation & day tours
The floating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is especially popular among couples or newlyweds on their honeymoon.
It is also one of several resorts in the area that offer unlimited house reef diving.
► 4D3N packages for divers/non-divers
Things to do
Snorkeling & scuba diving
Together with Mabul, Kapalai Island is known as a gateway to Sipadan, just ±20 minutes away. It is also an excellent muck diving destination.
Ocean kayaking is available at the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort.
Other things to do include sun tanning, heading to the spa or relaxing by the large sandbank or your own private balcony. If you’d like to venture further out, trips to Sipadan, Mabul and other islands may easily be organized.
Kapalai is about 20 minutes by speedboat from both Pulau Mabul and its world-famous neighbour, Pulau Sipadan.
The Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is an eco-resort whose waste management practice was made into a case study in 2011 by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism as part of an effort to conserve and preserve the natural environment of islands marked as tourist destinations in the country.