Snorkelling in Sipadan

Snorkelling is an option for non-divers who wish to experience Sipadan’s magical underwater kingdom.

Non-divers will find that snorkelling in Sipadan can be amazing too.

The reef at Sipadan Island is shaped in a way that makes it come right into the island’s jetty.

This allows snorkellers to swim along the edge of the coral cliff while remaining close to the beach.

As with diving, permits are compulsory for snorkelling in Sipadan.

Most dive operators offer snorkelling tours to Sipadan at lower rates compared to dive packages.

Sipadan snorkelling packages

As Sipadan is uninhabited, Mabul and Kapalai are the main gateways to the island, being just 15-20 minutes away. However, day trips to Sipadan also depart from Semporna town on the mainland and from other outlying islands such as Mataking, Pom Pom etc.

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What to expect

As a snorkeller, 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 whereas 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 most secure and productive area for snorkelling in Sipadan.

Turtles, humphead wrasse, a wide number of corals and reef fishes, whitetip reef sharks and with a bit of luck, swirling tornados of barracuda or trevally can be seen from the surface.

The phenomenal, 600m ‘Drop-off’, a vertical coral wall that makes this island so special, starts towards the end of the jetty.

As you’ll likely be on a boat with others who’ll be diving in Sipadan, you may even get to snorkel in the shallower parts of some of the other dive sites under the watchful eye of the boat captain.

While waiting for the divers, you may also take a brisk walk around the uninhabited island, which is surrounded by beautiful, sandy beaches.


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