It is best to finalize your travel plans from Singapore to Sipadan before your holiday begins.
This will enable you to spend as much time as possible on Sipadan, rather than having to waste unnecessary time (up to two days) during transits.
Tawau Airport in Sabah, East Malaysia, is the nearest airport to Sipadan Island.
There are no direct flights from Singapore to Tawau. These are the flight options available for visitors from Singapore to Sipadan:
Option 1: Singapore -> Kuala Lumpur -> Tawau
Option 2: Singapore -> Kota Kinabalu -> Tawau
Option 3: Singapore -> Johor Bahru -> Tawau
Option 1 (Recommended)
Flying from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur gives you much better chances of boarding a connecting flight to Tawau on the same day, as this route has more options for connecting flights.
If you fly from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu and land after 11.20am, you will likely have to stay a night in Kota Kinabalu in order to catch an early morning flight to Tawau the next day.
Note: No matter which transit option you choose, try to ensure that your connecting flight to Tawau lands at the latest by 2pm so that you can transfer from Tawau to Semporna and from Semporna to Sipadan on the same day.
If your flight lands after 2pm, you will likely have to spend a night in Tawau. Late land and sea transfers (after 3pm) from Tawau to Semporna and finally on to Sipadan are not recommended due to factors including safety, logistics and costs i.e. no more buses from Tawau to Semporna.
Land & sea transfer
Note: Your resort/dive operator may offer transportation at competitive prices for airport pickup + boat ride to Mabul, so it is best to check beforehand.
► More information on how to get to Mabul Island