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Update on Sipadan security

London, United...
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Update on Sipadan security

Hi folks,

We're planning a trip to Sabah next April 2018. Priority is the wildlife so we'll be inland a lot. We'd love to dive Sipadan area for 2-3 days but have some concerns about safety / security. I've reviewed the FCO site but would be keen for feedback from anyone whose dived there recently. (We're 1 adult & 2 kids).

Thanks for your help

J

15 replies to this topic
Redang Island
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1. Re: Update on Sipadan security

I been there for Mabul Island just 4 night ,on last year. I saw Police around the Island during day and night are patrol at island. Everything was safe as nothing accident happened .Lots of tourist from China Mainland visiting Semporna and Mabul Island during August last year.

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2. Re: Update on Sipadan security

There is no update really, everything is quiet on that front, the dusk to dawn curfew is in its 71st phase, and the curfew has again been renewed and continues along the east coast.

Your insurance will no doubt be invalid coming from the UK, there are not many european tourists visiting the islands off Semporna, mostly Chinese.

There has been no kidnappings this year so far, Abu Sayaff rebels have been captured, and the offensive continues, but there are still security threats in the area.

Its very risky with kids at the moment, maybe things will be different in April 2018 though.

Edited: 19 August 2017, 08:29
London, United...
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3. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Thanks very much for this. That pretty much reinforces my sense of how things are.

Presumably inland, Sepilok etc all is well? UK FCO seems happy for tourists to travel there, away from the coast.

My impression is that the security threat is from water travelling kidnappers.

Thanks in advance for your advice,

J

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4. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Yes, anywhere mainland is safe, its not within ASG's modus operandi to kidnap from mainland, as fast getaway is required to Sulu / Jolo via speedboat. Sepilok, Kinabatangan, Danum Valley and Tabin Reserve areas are all very safe. Waterfront in Sandakan is also quite safe, but you would much prefer to stay in Sepilok area.

Edited: 19 August 2017, 09:36
United Kingdom
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5. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Feel free to post your itinerary for comment when you have worked it out.

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6. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Thanks for this S, I appreciate the advice.

We are predominantly wildlife lovers, independent travellers on a basic (but not super-low) budget.

We have recently returned from 1 month travelling independently around Costa Rica. We hired a 4WD and explored the main ecological sites (we hired a local guide where recommended inside the parks). We stayed in low budget Airbnbs & hostels.

In Borneo we'd like to do something similar although I anticipate some additional challenges with travel / driving.

We are happiest exploring national parks and seeing real life ecology rather than 'zoo-like' artificial refuges. Even though this means we usually see fewer animals this way.

We have return flights to KK and will begin to plan our itinerary now (with the help of Lonely Planet!).

If you have any 'must do' recommendations we'd be very grateful to hear them and I will research them further.

Thanks again for your help; very much appreciated.

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7. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Well, if you are into the must-do's and prefer natural environment, then the mostly, the must-do's are out of budget.

These include Danum Valley (Borneo Rainforest Lodge would be out of budget), but Danum Valley Field Centre could well be in budget, as well as Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve (only one accommodation base here), which may be out of budget.

Danum and Tabin are not really doable without a 3 night stay, as they are 4.5 hours overland from Sepilok.

The map here: http://goo.gl/eA2rLC will help you plan your stay, it includes all the tourist areas (don't be put off by "Tourist area" Sabah is not really touristy at all.

Sepilok, to avoid the crowds, do the morning feeding at Labuk Bay, and the Afternoon Feeding at Sepilok, stay at Sepilok Nature Resort - well within budget - and excellent family rooms.

In Sabah, you will be moving around quite a bit, on the west coast, from Kota Klias up to Kudat, and on the East Coast, Sepilok to Kinabatangan / Danum / Tabin are well spaced apart.

There is not much to keep you occupied in Kota Kinabalu, usually used as a base to explore the west coast.

If you have a month, then consider local transport from Kota Kinabalu / Tuaran / Kundasang (Kinabalu National Park), and then via Palm Oil plantations through to Sepilok.

London, United...
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8. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Great advice! Many thanks. Will work those into the plan.

Kuantan, Malaysia
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9. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Hi cookiecuttetshark.

I returned from Mabul island on the 19th of sept, having spent 4 days there. I travelled with hubby and 3 kids.

Hubby and i did 7 dives, and the kids did some snorkelling.

The ambience was calm and relaxed. The dives were fantastic. Never once did we feel threatened or in danger.

Police/marine presence was felt because we could see their boats patrolling by. But rather than feeling worried, it was comforting to know that the area was being closely watched.

Perth
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10. Re: Update on Sipadan security

Cookie Cutter,

I will be in Sabah next month and we have had to cancel our diving on Sipidan due to insurance issues. Coming from Australia and with the current level of "ALERT" for the area being amber means that NO travel insurance company will cover us during our trip if we go to the areas covered by the alert. Sadly the government alert specifically names Sipidan along with about a dozen other islands in the area as well.

smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/…malaysia.aspx

The insurance companies will cover our trip, however they wont even cover "other incidents" and not just the piracy concern for our entire time on the Eastern coast of Sabah.

I know the Malays rely heavily on tourism for their economy and I hate not going, but as mature travelers (with young adventurous hearts) we just can not be uninsured for 3 weeks of a 2 month trip. Check with your insurance company before you book and make sure you are covered.

Hope you get to dive there

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