View Full Version : Best Option to get Dive Permit to Sipadan?

07-05-2010, 05:43
I know this this question has already come up more than once, but I can't seem to find recent posts on the topic. So guys I need your help!

BACKGROUND: we're two friends flying from Europe to Borneo Tawau area for a week of nice relaxing (non backpacking) holidays & diving beginning of September. The permit situation being an issue (more hotel rooms than permits), we're trying to find the best option that will combine a nice hotel or live-aboard with high chances of getting permits for Sipadan & nice diving options (excl. murk diving).

Mabul water bungalows: apparently they share the permits with SMART and get 14 for a total of 60 rooms (= not much of a chance of seeing Sipadan). On a 5 day stay chances are we'll get one day at Sipadan and apparently departures are early morning (5 am?)

Kapalai Island Resort: seems like a very big touristy resort but appears to be well rated by travelers (according to trip advisor). Not clear on their dive permit policy - anyone know?

Sea Adventures: Advantages: great diving under the oil rig, more chances of getting a permit since they have 15 permits and less rooms than SMART (a friend who went in May for 3 days got permits for all 3 days). Disadvantages: the rig itself looks really ugly and un-inviting. Yes we love diving but when you have 1 week holiday a year, sitting on a rig is not the most inviting option.

Scuba-junkies & their Mabul Beach Resort: Advantages: dive center looks somewhat professional & they have permits 1 day out of 2. Disadvantages: accommodation according to reviews seems to suck, sure it is very low budget but it's dirty and there are noisy nights ... not exactly paradise on earth (at least not in my eyes :-)).

Live-aboard = Sipadan Explorer: they claim to dive Sipadan Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Anyone been on this boat? Are there other liveaboards in the area?

Is what I said above still valid?

Any recommendations? What would be the best place to get a chance of diving Sipadan 3 times in 6 days and have nice accommodation?

Any good or bad experiences to share?