Kapalai Island


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.


Kapalai is situated just 15-20 minutes by speedboat from both Pulau Mabul and its world-famous neighbour, Pulau Sipadan.


The floating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort is the only one in the area. It is especially popular among couples or newlyweds on their honeymoon.

4D 3N packages from RM2641 (US$617) per non-diver – Learn more >>

Things To Do

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 Island is known as an excellent muck diving destination.

The resort here is one of 12 dive operators granted Sipadan Permits directly from the government (full list here).

It is also one of several resorts in the area that offer unlimited house reef diving.

Ocean Kayaking
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.

Day Tours

Book and secure your Kapalai Island day trip online with Expedia (10+ hours duration, departs from Semporna and includes 3 dives).


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 an effort to conserve and preserve the natural environment and beauty of islands marked as tourist destinations in the country.