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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
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Reviews (561)
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All reviewsdive resortfishsea breezemarine lifeno air conartificial islandchinese touristswatched turtlesprivate terraceplace is beautifulmilitary presencebuffet stylefull capacitylunch and dinnersea snakeskota kinabaluan aquarium
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Reviewed 2 May 2012

Leave your shoes at home!
This is a review of the resort facility and the dive facility. I am not going to review the weather or the dive sites, both of which are not affectable.
THE RESORT: This is probably very common in this area, but one thing I really enjoyed about the resort was the fact that we didn’t need shoes. We were provided with flip-flops/jandals/thongs/slippers that we wore throughout the resort and no shoes were allowed in the dining area. Leave your shoes at home and use the extra luggage space to bring good quality dive equipment.
THE RESORT LODGING: Clean and tidy. Very beautiful and serene; however, not quiet. However, sounds travels very well over water. There are clanking tanks and compressor humming from zero-dark-thirty until well into the evening. There is a barking dog every afternoon and evening, of course this could be from a tourist that was there when I was or it could have been a staff member’s pet and therefore a permanent fixture. There are departing/arriving tourists’ that tote their wheeled luggage down the planks walkways at all hours even though the resort provides delivery/pick-up of luggage via quiet wheeled cart. There are exuberant couples “enjoying” the idyllic setting in their huts. The place is noisy. But, in my case, I didn’t care. I was there to dive and dive I did!
THE RESORT STAFF: Ho-hum. Bored. That’s how I sum up the staff. They performed their duties in a perfunctory manner, neither friendly nor rude. I can’t say that I blame them – dealing with discourteous guests day-in-and-day-out must be tiring, but then again, that’s their job. Don’t expect big smiles and welcome arms, but don’t expect rudeness either.
THE RESORT FOOD: Decent and plentiful. This was my worst concern going to this resort. I had read so many reviews about the shark-feeding-buffet and lack of food, that I was pleasantly surprised by the actuality. I do think we were there during a low-time, but after the initial onslaught of feeders, the buffet was replenished. True, the more popular items were not as plentiful and ran out fast, but there was plenty to choose from to keep from starving. I certainly wouldn’t go here just for the food, but, again, for a dive resort, it was fine. Oh, and if you aren’t used to the lack of personal space afforded by Asians, prepare yourself. There is a lot of reaching and body-bumping, which they seem perfectly comfortable with. I did have to tell one Asian woman to back off when she continually reached across me and bumped me in the food line when it wasn’t even busy and she could have easily have just gone around me. C’est la vie.
THE DIVE CENTER: I feel I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of dive centers (Maldives, Thailand, Mozambique, Philippines, and Egypt), so I know how it works. In the end, everything worked out, but I do want to point out a few issues. The dive staff was limited in their knowledge of equipment and didn’t speak English. Granted, I didn’t speak Malay. The rental shop was extremely limited in equipment so much that we couldn’t get a replacement mask. The dive guides were, for the most part, bored. We like to take our time on dives and look for things. It took a few dives before we could get our guide to understand this and slow down. Don’t be afraid to make your dive guide work for you or ask for a different guide. Again, I’m sure a lot of it is due to the volume of divers that they serve, but, also again, it is their job. Be respectful and they will return the favor. Our guide ended up having a great time with us once he realized we were respectful to him, to the reef, and were courteous divers. For the most part the dive center is well organized with a white board showing dive groups and times and destinations. The unlimited jetty diving also has a sign up board so, in theory, you can sign up for a dive time and show up and have your tank and equipment waiting for you. More often than not we would have to either hurry the dive center staff to provide us with a tank or we would just take care of it ourselves.

Room Tip: Rooms 21-41 with the higher numbers being further from the congestion, but also a bit of a walk. Other rooms are either older and/or close to staff quarters.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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7  Thank BooBooSquash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

When talking about lost heaven on the sea, Maldives will become the first word coming into people's mind. However, after my memorable staying in Kapalai, i found that there're so many kinds of heaven in the world, not only Maldives. When looking at the photos i took in the resorte, i can hardly believe that once i've ever been there, living in the wooden house, facing to the blue sea with flowers blooming around me.

Since the moment we landed in TW airport, we were well received by the resort. You don't need to worry about the transportation, everthing was arranged.

Kapalai is just like a heaven floating on the crystal blue sea, no one can be immuned to its beauty. We are so lucky to get the room 51, which is the farest room at the end of the long plank road. it's also a private room for honey moon. No A/C, no wifi, no TV in the room, but why should i need those? The only thing to do here is to relax and relax. if you've ever been to those luxury resort of Maldives, you may feel that the room in Kapalai is just simple and not that fancy. However, it's just a great starting point of Water Bungalow with a very reasonable price and fabulous sea view.

We went Snorkeling every day, looking at the sunrise and sunset, time really runs so fast. The diving center is well equiped with experienced coach and facility. We did experience a Muck Diving and found the wonderful and colorful world under the sea.

The food was also nice, everything is included in the package, no need to spend any money for drink and food. You can eat and drink for 24 hours if you like. the dinner for one day was even BBQ, what a big surprise.

The service here is only nice, people are very friendly. We even borrowed the bicycle from the staff to take nice photos.

4D3N is a must, you will find that time is not enough when you have to be back. You'll never forget about the peaceful life in this heaven.... I can't hold my tears when sitting on the boat heading for the airport....the resort became smaller and smaller till it disappered from my view...I hope to go back one day in the near future as soon as possible.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Joyce Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2012

My husband and I stayed 6 nights at Kapalai - and we can not fault the place.
The rooms are spectacular, and get cleaned everyday. We would watch the sunrise from our bed, watch for turtles in the afternoon from our balcony and just enjoy the serenity all day long.
We did a total of 20 dives. 8 at Sipadan (2 different days, 4 dives per day). The conditions at Sipadan are amazing. Such an abundance of marine life. We also really enjoyed the dives at Kapalai and Mabul. The macro life is unreal. The dive staff - masters, boat boys etc - are the friendliest bunch I've come across. Always smiling and always willing to help.
The food is just fine. There's loads of it, and they offer a wide variety - it's very hard (if ot impossible) to go hungry around here. The dining room staff are also lovely, and alwys smiling and giggling.
My dad was also with us, and as a non-diver he snorkelled by himself, or would come with us to Mabul (when we went to Mabul). He enoyed himself thoroughly as well. He does love to read though, so maybe if you're a non-diver/snorkeller non-reader.. You may find yourself twiddling your fingers.
Can't think of anything negative about this place, in my mind, it's perfect!

Room Tip: Our north facing room had a lovely breeze at night.. And no afternoon sun to heat the room up.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank biddiebride
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2012

What a beautiful resort! We had 10 nights in Kapalai. The weather was changeable but when the sun was out it was scorching! Private sunbathing with a seaview. Rooms had no air conditioning, only a ceiling fan, but the breeze from the sea was perfect! Food average, but to be honest, it wasn't a problem as everything else was fantastic! Couldn't of wished for a more perfect setting for our honeymoon. My husband did 29 dives! Including 4 at Sipadan! Turtles galore!

Room Tip: Ask for sea facing.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank nicola w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

This is a great resort if you want to dive and not get particularly pampered. The accommodation is beautiful (no A/C but designed with air movement in mind) and housekeeping covered our bed with petals for my birthday too, The house reef is brilliant for both snorkeling and diving and the staff friendly and helpful. Let the kitchen know if you are vegetarian and they will cater for you, though there is normally a meat free option anyway. There are some negative comments on here re: food. I liked it, and I liked the casual set up also. I do agree that the price is a bit steep, given the no frills type of service, but what they do, they do well and we dived Sipadan on 3 separate occasions. It's certainly worth a visit.

  • Stayed: April 2012
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5  Thank eeteee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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