Published: Mar 05, 2019

How to get to Sipadan Island

Located in the middle of the Celebes Sea on the southern region of Semporna, it can be quite a challenge to select a route and get yourself to Sipadan Island. In fact, the entire journey to reach Sipadan Island cannot be reached purely via sea or air per se. You will need to bear in mind that the journey will take you to fly, drive and sail through different terrains. But it will also be a refreshing trip and you will find yourself enjoying the ride as much as you are going to enjoy your various engagements in Sipadan Island. Here, we are going to provide you with the many possible ways on how you will be able to make around and reach Sipadan Island.

The busy town of Semporna. (Image Credit: Flickr//Jacques Beaulieu)

In order to reach Sipadan Island, the best way to get to Sipadan Island is from the town of Semporna. Located north of Sipadan, you can opt for a speed boat and go for a direct trip from Semporna jetty to Sipadan Island. Alternatively, if you would like to explore its neighbouring Mabul Island first before heading to Sipadan Island, there are free boat transfer from Semporna to Mabul Island. The multiple schedules are to match your arrival time in Semporna and will be up for your own choosing. If you reside outside of Semporna or far away from the city’s vicinity, you will have to first make your way to Semporna before going on the boat ride. In summary, your travel itinerary should look like this:

Flight to Tawau Airport remains as one of the easiest ways to get to Sipadan Island. (Image Credit: Flickr//stratman)

  1. A direct trip to Sipadan – Arrival at Tawau / Journey to Semporna by car / Boat ride to Sipadan

First, you will have to make your way to Tawau. The city of Tawau has an airport which is reachable from Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore via a flight on Malaysia Airlines or Air Asia. Once you arrive in Tawau Airport, you will need to head to the Semporna jetty. If you do not have your own pre-arranged transportation, you can flag for a taxi to bring you to Semporna. The journey by taxi ride will be around 75 minutes with a total fare of approximately MYR90 - MYR120.

Of course, if you prefer boarding public transport, you can also board the bus. However, you will need to make your way to the Sabindo Square Express Bus Terminal in Tawau Town. You can do this by boarding a taxi to the bus stop with an approximate fare of MYR48 and a travel duration of around 38 minutes. From there, you can board the Tongtalun Express for a fee of MYR10 which will take you all the way to Semporna.

Occasionally, you will also find some minivan waiting outside the airport. Depending on the availability of extra seats on the minivan, you will be able to climb on board and make your way to Semporna on the comfort of a cross country minivan.

A 45-minute boat ride will get you to Mabul Island! (Image Credit: Flickr//Kong)

From Semporna, you will want to head to the jetty where you will be able to board a speed boat and make your way directly to Sipadan Island and dive your way into the big blue ocean.

  1. Mabul and Sipadan Island visit – Arrival at Tawau/ Head to Semporna by car/ Free boat ride to Mabul Island/ Final boat ride to Sipadan Island

Once you arrive at Tawau Airport from your flight, you will make your way to Semporna by car as explained before. Unlike the previous itinerary, however, now you can now opt for a free boat ride that departs for Sipadan Island from Semporna jetty multiple times in a day. The earliest one departs at 12:30 P.M. and it will go back and forth to Mabul Island all the way to the last ride at 4:30 P.M.

From Mabul Island, you can book a boat ride to Sipadan Island by checking with the resort staff there and make your way to one of Sabah’s top dive destination island.