A small island also located off the coast of Malaysian Borneo, Kapalai is famous for its macro diving. It’s a favourite among underwater photographers. Kapalai also has easy, shallow, dive sites making it a great spot for novice divers looking to experience some of the best scuba diving in Malaysia.

How to get to Kapalai:

Kapalai is in the same area as Sipidan so the instructions from the airport to the town of Semporna are the same. From Semprona you will take a boat out to Kapalai Island, a speedboat takes about 30 minutes.

Dive sites in Kapalai:

  • Spotted Ray Channel: A sandy slop that goes to a depth of about 14m. Keep you eye on the bottom for dozens of blue spotted rays. Other things to see include butterflyfish, gobi, nudibranchs, frogfish, lionfish and wrasse.
  • Mid Reef: A great spot for macro; especially known for the pygmy seahorse. Also, be on the lookout for octopus, nudibranchs, ribbon eels, lobster, mantis shrimp, and stonefish. It’s also possible to see hammerhead and whitetip sharks here.
  • Mandarin Valley: a coral slope with a shallow bottom makes this a favourite place for underwater photographers. Watch for ghost pipe fish, frogfish, and octopus. If you are lucky, you will see mandarin fish. This is also a great spot to come at night.
  • The Jetty: An artificial reef made from old fishing boats, there is a lot of marine life to be found in this area. Clownfish, crabs, shrimp, frogfish, lionfish, moray eels, snappers, and groupers are just some of what you will see.

Other things to do in Kapalai:

As with Sipadan, the only reason to go to Kapalai is for scuba diving or snorkelling. It’s important to note that there are no beaches here.