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Islands of Malaysia

Islands of Malaysia

There are hundreds of beautiful islands within Malaysia, most of them can be visited during your travels but not all offer a place to stay overnight. The islands of Malaysia are divided in the islands at the western peninsula, the eastern peninsula and the islands around Borneo. All are equally stunning, though there enough differences between each island. Most popular islands are Langkawi, Penang, Perhentian, Redang and Tioman. Around Borneo you have Lankayan, Selingan, Mataking and of course Sipadan.

Mount Kinabalu Summit Trail

A 4095 meter tall mountain

Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia and the 20th tallest in the World. Mainly because of the biological diversity the mountain is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climbing the mountain is not an easy feat for the untrained; though it will absolutely be one of the best experiences ever. Watching the sun rise in the early morning will definitely make you forget all the hardships you had to endure during the hike up.

Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park

TAR Marine Park is the perfect place to enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling and light jungle treks. The marine park is made up of five small islands: Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik. The best beaches and probably also the best corals can be found around Gaya island; the biggest of the five islands. The marine park is only a 20 minute boat trip away from the city of Kota Kinabalu.

Mulu National Park

Mulu National Park

Mulu National Park is the biggest national park in Sarawak. The park is best known for the amazing caves. The Sarawak Chamber is the world's biggest cave chamber. It is said that 40 Boeing 747 aircraft's fit in the cave. Clearwater Cave is one of the top ten longest caves in the world with a length of over 189km. The caves aren't the only highlights at Mulu NP. The amazing pinnacles at Mount Api are absolutely stunning to witness. A visit to Mulu NP will bring your holiday in Malaysia to new heights!

Kinabatangan river cruise

Kinabatangan river cruise

One of the most popular destinations in Sabah is the Kinabatangan River. This river has a length of 560 kilometers and stretches through half of Eastern Sabah. Alongside the riverbanks there is an abundance of wildlife. During a river cruise you will have a chance to spot the rare orangutan, the pygmy elephant, proboscis monkeys and saltwater crocodiles. During night cruises you might spot the leopard cat, numerous sleeping birds, wild boards, snakes and many crocodiles.

Kapalai Island

Kapalai is a fantastic destination to visit. Though it is called an island it is actually a big sandbar situated on the Ligitan Reef with a very exclusive resort with beautiful villas built on stilts. Kapalai used to be a real island with vegetation, but over the last few hundred years it was reduced to sea level due to erosion. There are no beaches, though you can walk over the sandbar during low tide and sun bath at the circular man-made beach. Kapalai is all about snorkeling and diving, non-divers might have a better time at Mataking Island with its nice beaches. Directly around the resort there are fantastic snorkeling opportunities and also some very nice dive sites. The best time to visit Kapalai is between April and September.

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Diving at Kapalai Island

Map dive spots Kapalai

People that visit Kapalai Island usually come there to relax, to snorkel and to dive. There are numerous nice dive sites directly around Kapalai. Another great thing is the unlimited house reef dives the resort offers to its guests. Diving facilities are great at the resort. Experienced dive masters take divers to the nearby sites. Most scuba dive enthusiasts visit the area to have a chance to dive at Sipadan Island; only about 15 minutes by boat from Kapalai. If you like muck diving you are best off at Mabul Island, the macro paradise of the world. There is a monsoon season between November and February, though visibility is still good.

Kapalai Island  

Accommodation at Kapalai Island

There is only one resort at Kapalai Island called the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort. It is a beautiful and exclusive resort with 30 chalets with private balconies built on stilts along the reefs. Rooms have a fan only as the resort goes through great lengths to minimize the negative impact on the fragile environment. Positive are fresh water (which is recycled afterwards and not released into the ocean), WIFI internet (free in lobby area, RM20 per day in chalet) and there are no mosquitoes which means you can leave the doors to the balcony open during the day/nights for extra coolness (balconies facing the north have the best views and most privacy). Prices are quite high but include 3 daily boat dives (including dive(s) at Sipadan), unlimited house reef dives, airport and boat transfers and all meals (items that you do have to pay for have fairly reasonable prices).

 

How to get to Kapalai Island

To get to Kapalai Island you first need to take a flight to the coastal city of Tawau. There are daily flights operated by Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur (and Kota Kinabalu) to Tawau. From Tawau Airport you can either get a taxi (around RM100+) or a bus/minivan to the village of Semporna, a 1,5 hour trip through endless palm oil plantations. At Semporna harbor boats to the neighboring tropical islands depart. The speedboat ride to Kapalai takes about 30 minutes. If you make reservations at the Sipadan-Kapalai Resort, then your package includes an airport meet & greet plus the trip from Tawau Airport to Kapalai (via Semporna, including the boat ride).

 

Map of Kapalai Island

Below you can see the exact location of Kapalai Island on the interactive map (in the middle).

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