My gf and I stayed at the SKDR fro 5 nights and were blown away by the beautiful location and the resort itself! It's really an amazing feeling to stay in a place where everywhere you look, you feel like you're suspended above the ocean with no land in close proximity. The bungalows are really cool -- very spacious and clean with great views of the ocean. And it's pretty special to be able look out your window and see trumpet fish, lion fish, and even the odd sea turtle swim out from under the bungalow.
The main reason for coming here is the diving and we were fortunate enough to be able to dive Sipadan 2 days during our stay. It was fantastic! Words can't describe the experience of floating through a huge school of jackfish and being surrounded on all sides by a wall of silver. Or diving with a school of striped barracuda. And we saw so many sea turtles and reef sharks! The other local dive sites paled in comparison and after diving in Siapan and Mabul one day, we opted out of diving there a second day (Mabus was not bad but Siapan was very boring). Our equipment was fine and we opted to dive without wetsuits since the water was a nice 28C. One complaint I have is in the quality of the dive masters. Some were good but others seems fairly apathetic in what they were doing. Very little in terms of pre-dive briefing or watching the activities of the divers. For example, I saw 1 diver repeatedly grab onto live coral and and I notified the dive master who didn't seem to care too much. Also, there was no enforcement of the no-glove policy. When you go to Sipadan, they'll have a videographer with you to record your dive. The DVDs are a bit expensive but the production quality is fairly good so we bought a couple. If you're not a diver, you probably want to have a shorter stay as there isn't a ton of stuff to do there. The snorkeling is not bad and there's kayaking as well as an artifical beach/island to suntan but not much else. However, I still think it's worth visiting for non-divers
Despite the repeated complaints by other reviewers, we found the food to be fairly good. We had fresh grilled shrimp on a couple of nights and lamb chops on another. I guess it's a matter of expectations. We weren't expecting gourmet food but rather some good food with variety to fill us up after a day of diving. There was always a seafood dish which was nice, but as others mentioned, it's best to get to the dining hall earlier than later to make sure you get a chance to try everything. On the morning of our departure, resort was even nice enough to pack us a box lunch of chicken and fried rice. Very nice of them. I'll also mention that there's a bar where you can buy drinks (both alcoholic and not). The drinks were suprisingly reasonably priced except for the wine. So if you enjoy a glass while lounging on your sundeck in the evening, you may want to bring your own bottle.
Other things worth mentioning is that the rooms have no a/c and rely upon a ceiling fan and the ocean breeze to keep you cool. I actually found this to be a plus and enjoyed the break from the a/c. Also, since there are no mosquitoes around the resort, there's no problem in opening up all the shutters.
This is definitely a place that I plan to come back someday.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A few minutes by boat from the islands of Sipadan and Mabul but a full world away from it lays the exhilarating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon offering the purest image of natural serenity. Dive spots Sipadan and Mabul can be reached in just a few minutes by speedboat. Sipadan-Kapalai is an ideal destination for diver and non-diver alike seeking a great holiday experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan
- Sipadan Kapalai Island Hotel
- Hotel Sipadan Kapalai Island