Are you considering escaping for a Sipadan diving holiday at Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort? Here are a few honest reviews from guests who have been there. They will give you an idea of the good, the bad and the fantastic.
Recent Guest Reviews:
- 08 July 2010
“We spent 4 nights in Kapalai to dive the local sites and especially to dive Sipadan – which is amazing! The resort is beautiful, clean and efficiently run and the food (buffet style) was simple but tasty, abundant and varied. Our room was spacious with a private balcony with a lovely view of the blue sea. Kapalai is a water bungalow resort so there is no natural beach however there is an artificial sand “pod” that can be reached over a boardwalk and plenty of shallow water a few steps away for swimming or snorkelling.
Great place to watch the sunset at the end of the day (if you are not doing a sunset dive, that is). The local reef where unlimited diving is available is a nice underwater patch with lots of interesting macro life as well as an artificial park of sunken vessels and steel towers that attract a lot of life and make the landscape quite interesting. All the local dives were very good. On a 4-night stay they guaranteed only 1 day diving in Sipadan (4 dives) as permits are limited and allocated on a rotation basis. If you want to do more you need to stay longer.
The diving operation was good and well organized however they insist on helping with setting up your equipment. Nothing bad with it if you don’t mind someone else fumbling with your own equipment. I reluctantly let them do it the first day with the result that the tank came off the BCD exiting the water at the end of the dive and they flooded my regs. on the very first day!! If you let them do it make sure you detach the first stage and replace the dust-cap yourself at the end of each diving day. It annoyed me a bit that every time I went to adjust my equipment so that it was the way I wanted it their general help staff would stick their hands in the way to assist even though I told them several times that I needed no assistance. That’s the only minor thing; but the resort is well maintained, beautiful & the staff is courteous so it is a great diving base.”
- 25 June 2010
“My husband and I almost fell in love with Kapalai on the first sight! It’s really a paradise on the sea!
We’re non-divers, but we like snorkeling very much. The snorkeling is quite good there, a lot of colorful fishes and healthy coral reefs. There’s coral reef garden just outside our balcony, we can see a lot fishes, even turtles, just by the window of our bungalow.
The bungalow is spacious and well maintained. The buffet is Asian style and acceptable.
We stayed 3 nights and we wished we could stay longer! We’ll be back again in the near future! Thank you all, the nice staffs in Kapalai!”
- 01 June 2010
“Just returned from a 4 day stay at Sipadan Kapalai Resort. First, let’s make it very clear that this resort is recommended only for divers. The whole resort is built over water and while there is an artificial beach (round plot of sand suspended over water) and places to lounge in the sun (i.e. to watch the sunset…) if you are a non-diver you will get bored very quickly.
There are no phones or TV’s in the rooms, internet is available only in the dining room – and even that service was spotty. However, now that we get the shortcomings out of the way, let me say, this was one of the most relaxing vacations I have had in a while! Perhaps largely due to the fact that we were so isolated from modern communication technology.
The rooms are very spacious, very private (though noise will carry) and very airy. No airconditioning on the whole resort with the exception of the business office, souvenir shop, and movie room. However, this was not a problem as opening all the windows and balcony/terrace doors kept the temperatures at comfortable levels (nevertheless, in the peak summer months, people who cannot stand heat should beware). Our room had one large king and a smaller twin bed. For two nights I dragged the twin mattress out onto our private terrace balcony and slept under the stars! It was great! Highly recommended!!
The buffet-style dining is “all-inclusive” and while we began to feel the lack of variety after four straight days we were pleasantly surprised by the Saturday night BBQ – chicken and beef satay. There is a small bar where you can purchase (charge to your room) beer, chocolate, soft drinks, etc (if you are a snack or chocolate lover it would be a good idea to bring your own to the resort). Other than that (and the gift shop) everything is included in your accomodation price. There is a large “hole” in the floor in the middle of the dining room through which you could see pools of fish – mainly swordfish. They serve an interesting “juice” concoction which grows on you as days go by. Note that since this resort is built away from land in the middle of the sea, all drinking water is tanked in by large “watebarges.” There is a hydroponic system and waste water is treated before release.
To get to the main reason why anyone comes to this resort – the Diving. Much has been written about limited access to Sipadan island. During our 3 days diving we got to go to Sipadan once (4 dives). The other 2 days were spent diving at the points right off the resort and at Mabul. While there is reasonably plenty to see diving at Kapalai and Mabul (plenty of jackfish, batfish, even barracudas, etc.) the real diving experience is to be had at Sipadan. I noticed if you go in a large group you are limited to only 1 day of diving in Sipadan. However, if you are solo or a couple you may be able to squeeze in an extra day of diving at Sipadan if persistent enough. It seems that all the resorts in the area have certain quotas and occasionally there will be last minute cancellations that can be taken advantage of by a solo diver with a flexible schedule.
Finally, while the dive center is large and spacious and reasonably well-equipped, I would highly recommend bringing your own dive equipment as there are many stories of faulty rental equipment on this site. Also, take note that there is NO DIVE SHOP. So you cannot buy anti-fog, masks, fins, etc. on site. Make sure you bring what you need!
All in all, we had a great time and I would rate this a great divers resort! Two thumbs up!”
You can find more information on Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort here: