Kapalai Island

Location: Sabah

Location Info

Address: Kapalai Island, Sabah, Malaysia

District » Semporna


Located to the east of Sabah, Kapalai Island is probably the best diving spot in the world as it is what you imagine an ideal island would be like, clear blue waters, deep blue sky and picturesque chalets. A visit to this island will be your one and only memorable experience which you can never forget.


Though Kapalai is called the Kapalai Island, it is actually not an island but a sand strip near Sipadan and Mabul islands. Kapalai Island did started off as a real island with thicked soil and larger surface but due to erosion, it soon became a sand bar where only a thin layer of sand appears over the waters of the Celebes Sea. The sandy soil of Kapalai Island only appears during low tide and during high tide, they are not visible.

Kapalai Island is very near to the exclusive Sipadan Island which makes diving at Kapalai diving almost as magnificent as diving at Sipadan. The underwater life that you will see here will leave you speechless as the marine creatures just swim around you without being fearful. It really is an experience like no other. Chances of seeing rare species of fish, octopuses and turtles in the waters of Kapalai are high. You will also be amazed by the beauty of the corals reefs from the Ligitan Reefs. The dive center here provides diving, snorkeling and kayaking gear for rent. You can also opt for PADI courses which includes the Open Water and Introduction to Night Diving.

There are a total of 40 chalets here which are built on wooden stilts in the middle of the ocean. You can even watch the marine life as you stroll along the broadwalk. Chalets here include basic necessities which are adequate for visitors' stay. Accommodation here at Kapalai may not be plentiful but the same cannot be said for Sabah. Accommodations in Sabah are more than you can imagine and you should never have to worry about not having a place to stay if you do intend to stay longer in Sabah.


From Tawau to Semporna on road will take an hour and the transfer to Kapalai by speedboat will take another 40 minutes. Arrangement for ground transfers are usually done by the Pulau Sipadan Resort and Tours Sdn Bhd.