Kapikan Reef

Kapikan Reef
Diving in Kapikan Reef by Prof. Steve Oakley.

Kapikan Reef is also known as ‘Lonely Reef’, as there aren’t many reef fishes in the area. However, the coral gardens are so stunning that even without much fish, one is still bound to be mesmerized.

Kapikan Reef and Church Reef are both patch reefs (small, isolated coral platform) which have no permanent island. During low tide, sandbanks appear towards the southern end of Kapikan Reef.

Kapikan Reef and the reef at Mantabuan Island form a linked unit to the east side of Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Kapikan is just 3 km long by 1.5 km wide, and the reef rim is about 7.3km long, having a gently-sloping profile.

Towards the northern end lies an extensive reef top at a depth of 1 to 5 metres, making it perfect for marine activities including scuba diving, muck diving, snorkeling and free diving.

These shallow coral areas occur on the inner side of the reef rim and are particularly well developed, measuring several hundred metres wide in some places.

Things To Do

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Kapikan Reef is a hot spot for snorkeling and diving activities. Marine life commonly found in the area include sea turtles, blue-spotted stingrays, crocodile fish, puffer fish and the rare black coral.

Several dive resorts/operators organize snorkeling and diving day tours to Kapikan Reef.


There are no hotels or resorts on Kapikan Reef or any of the other islands within Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Most visitors to the island prefer to stay in the coastal town of Semporna, where accommodation and dive packages are cheap.

Alternatively, visitors also stay in Mabul, Pom Pom, Mataking or Singamata. Resorts on these islands frequently organize day tours to Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Getting Here

Kapikan Reef is located about ±40 minutes by boat from Semporna, ±20 minutes from Pom Pom, ±30 minutes from Mataking and ±1.5 hours from Mabul.


The seabed reaches depths of over 130m at certain points towards the eastern side of Kapikan Reef. The northeastern side consists of a deep reef that is a mainly vertical rock face with small caves.