Kapalai Island

Widely known as Malaysia’s version of the Maldives, Kapalai Island is an idyllic, sun-steeped paradise that is a dream destination for those who seriously wish to get away from it all.

Located in the middle of the Celebes Sea, Kapalai Island is just 15-20 minutes by boat from Pulau Mabul and its world-famous neighbour, Pulau Sipadan.

The surreal water chalets of Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort (read on TripAdvisor) are built entirely on stilts atop shallow waters near the edge of the Ligitan Reefs. The floating village is the only resort in the area and is especially popular among couples or newlyweds enjoying their honeymoon.

Whether you’re on the beach relaxing or gazing out into the brilliant turquoise waters stretching into the horizon, an afternoon in this remote part of the world offers the purest images of natural serenity.

Things To Do

1. Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
When it comes to diving, Kapalai Island serves as more than just a gateway to the diving mecca that is Sipadan. Together with Mabul, Kapalai is known as an excellent muck diving destination.

Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort (read on TripAdvisor) is one of 12 dive operators who have been granted Sipadan Permits directly from the government, so you can rest assured that you will not be paying a premium for the permits.

Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is also one of several resorts in Mabul that offer unlimited house reef diving.

Other things to do include swimming, snorkeling, ocean kayaking or sun tanning by the beach or your own private balcony. If you’d like to venture further out, trips to Sipadan and Mabul may easily be organized.

Kapalai Island Accomodation

The luxurious Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort (read on TripAdvisor) is the only resort in Kapalai.

It is an eco-resort whose waste management practice was made into a case study by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism as an effort to conserve and preserve the natural environment and beauty of islands marked as tourist destinations in the country.


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.