Snorkelling is an option for non-divers who wish to experience Sipadan‘s magical underwater kingdom.
As with diving, permits are compulsory for snorkeling in Sipadan.
Several dive operators offer snorkeling tours to Sipadan at a slightly lower (compared to dive packages), all-inclusive rate of ±RM500.
What to expect while snorkeling in Sipadan
As a snorkeler, you would depart early in the morning for Sipadan to spend the whole day there with other divers.
The reef is easily accessible from the beach on Sipadan and a boat may be used to reach parts of the reef that are further out.
Please note that currents and boat traffic are major hazards in the offshore areas and stone fish may be a hazard in the shallows.
On the ‘safe’ side of the jetty is a buoyed-off area, giving snorkelers potentially the safest and most productive area for snorkeling in Sipadan.
A wide number and variety of corals, reef fishes, and with a bit of luck, barracuda, sharks and turtles can be seen from the surface.
Tip: The phenomenal, 600-meter Drop-Off (vertical coral wall) that makes this island so special starts towards the end of the jetty.
As you will likely be on a boat with others who are diving in Sipadan, you may even be allowed to snorkel in the shallower parts of other dive sites under the watchful eye of the boat captain.
While waiting for the divers, you may also wish take a walk around the island, which is surrounded by beautiful, sandy beaches.
Typical underwater view near the jetty:
Underwater view near the end of the jetty, where the 600-meter drop-off begins: