Example Itinerary

Diving Borneo's Aquatic Treasures: Sipadan & Mabul

7 days / 6 nights
Price Per Person
Diving, Island Retreats

Start your six-day diving adventure with a huge splash. Explore the waters around the renowned Sipadan Island. The dive sites around this remote island are considered some of the world’s best. From bright, colorful reefs, to the sand bottomed sites of Mabul, get a taste for “muck-diving” in the place where the term originated. Mabul offers a different world of diving opportunities, a macro diver’s paradise. Spot rare macro world inhabitants and flirt with the bizarre and unusual side of marine life. Moving on to Kepalai, dive five small wrecks bursting with marine life, just off the island’s jetty. Come face-to-face with frog and leaf fish, or even the incredibly rare and colorful mandarin fish. With three diverse dive sites in just six days, this action-packed adventure will satiate every diver’s desire for underwater adventure.

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.


  • Sipadan: The best diving destination in Malaysia and one of the best in the world, the waters around coral-rich Sipadan offer sightings of turtles, rays, sharks and barracuda, to name but a few fascinating marine species.
  • Mabul: The polar opposite of neighboring Sipadan, Mabul Island is one of the world’s richest macro dive sites and where the term "muck-diving" is said to have originated.
  • Kepalai: Spot a rare blue-ringed octopus or ghost pipefish while diving around Kepalai, an island known for its shipwrecks and rare aquatic life.


Day 1

Kota Kinabalu

A driver will be waiting for you when you arrive in Kota Kinabalu. Enjoy this first day relaxing at the Shangri-La’s, Tanjung Aru Beach Resort. If you are curious, you could explore the picturesque town of Kota Belud and its open market. Lounge at the seaside restaurant and take in a sunset. Rest up for the days ahead.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: This hotel is set in the backdrop of the breathtaking Malaysian gardens and Borneo’s mountainous landscape across crystal-clear sparkling waters, to truly give guests the tropical paradise feel.

History: The Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is based in a region called Kota Kinabalu, in Borneo, which has a rich cultural heritage of natural wonders and rugged landscapes that have been millennia in the making.

Service: Guests will enjoy the Shangri-La’s famous five-star service, melded with Borneo’s warm and welcoming hospitality.

See Hotel
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Preferred Hotel

Day 2

Sipadan & Mabul

Rise and shine with sun this morning. Grab an early flight and boat ride to Mabul. Check into the Mabul Water Bungalows, a new floating dive resort. Then, head over to the world famous Sipadan, considered by many to be the best diving in Malaysia, and amongst the best in the world. The only oceanic island in Malaysia, rising 2,000 feet from the seabed, it was formed over thousands of years, when living corals grew on top of an extinct volcano. Enjoy amazing underwater sights such as hawksbill and greenback turtles, manta rays, eagle rays, reef, hammerhead and whale sharks and schools of barracudas in tornado-like formation.

Hotel Options

Situated at Mabul Island, the Mabul Water Bungalow is a floating dive resort overlooking Sipadan Island. The property features 15 wooden bungalows built entirely over water, each furnished with contemporary decor.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Sipadan & Mabul
Sipadan & Mabul

Day 3

Sipadan & Mabul

It’s back to Sipadan today. Allow your Divemaster to guide you towards new and exciting finds. With over 15 dive sites, there’s plenty to see. Check out the Coral Gardens site for a fabulous window into the vibrant commotion that is reef life. This dive begins with a deep wall dive and continues on the shallow coral reef.

Day 4

Sipadan & Mabul

Today you will dive Mabul, the yin to Sipadan’s yang. While Sipadan is all about large pelagics and schools of thousands of fish, Mabul is the spot for the peculiar and minute. A macro diver’s paradise, Mabul is where the term “muck-diving” is believed to have originated. Mabul is mostly sand bottomed, where the curious diver will find a variety of fascinating life forms. This site is considered one of the world’s richest destinations for exotic small marine life.

Sipadan & Mabul
Sipadan & Mabul

Day 5

Sipadan & Mabul

Discover Kepalai on day five, another of the world’s premier macro dive sites. Kepalai is home to the blue-ringed octopus, stonefish and ghost pipefish among plenty of other rare aquatic creatures. With over 20 dive sites surrounding the island, divers have plenty to choose from. From colorful coral reefs and swirling schools of fish to wrecked boats filled with strange hidden creatures, this dive site has something for everyone.

Day 6

Sipadan & Mabul

Enjoy a peaceful, relaxing morning at the floating resort, and take in your surroundings before bidding the islands farewell. Spend today at leisure and decompressing in preparation for your flight tomorrow.

Sipadan & Mabul
Sipadan & Mabul

Day 7


Relax in the morning before catching an afternoon flight out of Tawau.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.


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