Kapalai Island Resort
Kapalai Island Resort, Kapalai Island, Borneo
Kapalai Island Resort is centered around an open restaurant, sundeck, and dive center and offers tastefully decorated, spacious stilted chalets with large bathrooms and balconies looking out over the seemingly endless turquoise waters of the Celebes Sea.
All rooms are fan cooled and have a refrigerator as well as tea and coffee making facilities. Although there is no air conditioning the large windows can be left open to allow sea breezes to cool the chalets naturally. There are no insects as the resort is built entirely over the sea and the rooms are certainly the most comfortable of Borneo's dive island properties.
The resort is a 'water village' and is built on a sand bar located only a 15 minute boat ride from Sipadan. The accommodation comes with full board meals served in the friendly open-air restaurant and there is now internet access available (wi-fi at RM 35 per day or RM 20 for 30 minutes in the office).
The resort makes every effort to be 'eco-friendly' and has a hydroponic water purification which ensures that no waste goes into the sea.
If you are planning on diving it is worth bearing in mind that there is no guarantee you will dive any of the 12 dive sites of Sipadan. To protect the site there are only 120 dive permits issued per day and especially during the peak summer season there are significantly more people staying on the surrounding islands, and Semporna on the mainland, than permits available.
If you prebook on a dive package you will be registered and entered on to a list for a Sipadan permit. If you just book accommodation and 'pay per dive' when you are there you will not be registered for a permit and so will not be able to dive Sipadan.
In our experience if you are booked on the dive package you will normally dive Sipadan one of every three days and have your first two dives of the day at Sipadan and the final dive will in Mabul. This however, is not guaranteed.
If you do not dive at Sipadan you will be taken to alternative sites such as Si Amil, Mataking, Kapalai or Mabul. For non-divers, snorkeling trips run daily around all sites apart from Sipadan.