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How to Get There

Tawau airport is the nearest airport to Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai islands.

Most visitors fly to Tawau airport or come by bus, minivan or taxi from Sabah's northern towns of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Sukau and Lahad Datu.

There are frequent flights (relatively inexpensive) from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau (2.45 hrs) and from Kota Kinabalu (50 minutes).

In order to be able to transfer on the same day to the island, please make sure your flight lands latest 14.00pm.

Tawau arrival flights

Once you arrive in Tawau, you will continue by land transfer to the port town of Semporna (1.30 hours).

From Semporna, you will continue on the same day by boat (check the boat schedules) to your accommodation on Mabul island (45-60 minutes).

Tawau departure flights

How to Travel from Singapore to Sipadan?

Sipadan is reachable only by boat at the end of a journey involving air, land and sea journeys. The airport closest to Sipadan is Tawau airport (TWU), Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia.

At the moment, there are no direct airlines connection between Singapore and Tawau.

When travelling from Singapore to Sipadan there are 3 possible routes.

Route 1 (transit in KLIA Airport)

Kuala Lumpur airport is a place where you can easily get connection flights to Tawau. It is a busy route where you may be able to board a connecting flight very soon after you land there from Singapore.

Route 2 (transit in KKIA Airport)

If your flight reaches Kota Kinabalu International Airport after 11:20 AM, a connection flight on the same day may be difficult and you may be able to leave only the next morning.

How to get From Tawau airport to Mabul?

From Tawau Airport you will be transferred by road to Semporna (count 1.20hrs).

From Semporna, the boat transfer to Sipadan takes about 60 minutes (depending on the tide).

Since there are no resorts or hotels on Sipadan island itself, most visitors stay in the nearby islands of Mabul, Kapalai and Mataking.

Boat transfer to Mabul takes about 45 minutes.

Click for more info about how to travel to Mabul island.

What are the Last Boat Transfers to Mabul island?

While booking the flight tickets to Tawau, make sure that the flight reaches Tawau before 2pm-3.30pm (depending on your resort). In that case, you can travel to Semporna and further to the islands on the same day. Otherwise, there will be no more boat transfers available and you may have to stay overnight in Tawau city or in Semporna town. As such, please contact us before booking your flight to make sure that your Sipadan trip plans are perfect.

Sipadan Permits

In an effort to preserve the island environment, there is a permit system limiting the maximum numbers of divers to 176 per day.

Since january 1st 2005, and in order to protect the island environment there are no resorts on Sipadan (all moved to Mabul and Kapalai).

Sipadan island is open to divers only between 6 AM and 4 PM.

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