a VirtualTourist member from Singapore
I have been in Singapore for about a year now. Long enough to realise that the packages that the internet sites of the Sipadan-related resorts offer are really targeted to some overseas customers. Normal prices in South-East Asia are not really overwhelming, usually.
I understand Sipadan is different but I am sure I don't have to pay 100$ a night to see it. So what would be the smart way. I don't mind a bit of an adventure, as a matter of fact I just booked tickets to Tawau and back so hopefully I am able to find something!
The idea is to stay a week, get a basic accomodation from Semporna, Mabul or whereever, dive around, day trips or whatever.. any ideas whats the best way for this kind of approach?
Usually the dive-sites in South-East Asia charge around 25 US$ for a dive. Whats it going to be like in Sipadan? I'll keep the overpriced online reservations as my very last option only.
Thanks for reading so far and thanks even more for the replies! Mike
Hi hi. yes recently there has been day trips available to dive in sipadan. i cant quite remember how much im afraid but maybe ur right, about usd30 or so. the usd100 maybe correct because tht will prolly include full board meals (which really are VERY good) and accomodation n three dives. believe me, usd100 is a fantastic deal that way. the last time i went there, one of the resorts on mabul (abt 30 minutes away by speedboat) was charging about usd100 per night.. it has since gone up to about 150 usd. but still worth it if u ask me. it is after all a world class dive site
oh sorry, yes forgot to mention, there has been a sudden availability of cheap, western-style run budget lodges in semporna, not a lot but sufficient. so just head down there, n check it out.the only problem is u cannot do night dives and maybe limited to two or three dives, but thts not much of a problem anyway.
sipadan is about 45 minutes or so by speedboat fr semporna and is a really small island tht is not available to overnight guests after dec 2004. semporna is not the most charming of sabahan towns tho but it suits the purpose. diving in sipadan is really fantastic, just be sure to mind the environment, there has been a lot of controversy over it lately.
Hi, sure you've heard about the tragic incident that occurred in Sipadan recently. finsonline.com/blog/fins/200...
While the dive operators are doing their best to salvage the situation, i feel that the best and strongest way to show to the Sabahan Government that these sort of cover-ups and foreseeable travesties to the precious marine life is to boycott Sipadan. It will take thousands of years to heal anyway after the accident, and if divers like us keep going there right now, it would simply show to the Govt that they can keep the media quiet and the furore will just die down and they can continue exploiting the islands as normal. Feigning ignorance about the barge and the developments being approved for the island is completely unacceptable.
There are many other lovely areas to dive around Malaysia. Pls avoid Sipadan and its surrounds for now, if not the whole of Sabah.
Well I am here now. Local dive instructrs say that you couldn't tell about the damage if you hadn't seen it before. Who knwos.
Havent done any diving yet... Semporna is quite dodgy and there arent that many things to do, but Scuba Junkies offer a good value accomodation. Dives are 300 ringettes a day, including 3 full dives at Sipadan. That's reasonable I think. Three or more dives and you get 10% off.
My first dive tomorrow, really excited!
That's what they want you to think... they have a business they want to protect. Do u know how difficult it is for local operators to get permits to bring in a few divers while big operators that bring in groups of foreigners are more, more than welcome? It's money talking.
Of course, when you're there, and going by boat to other divesites around the Drop Off e.g. Barracuda Point, you won't be able to tell at all if there was any damage.... you won't be able to tell unless you're diving at the Drop Off itself. But what constitutes "not that tragic" by some people, is a great great tragedy for Sipadan. It will NEVER be the same again.
I'm sure you'll have a great time diving there anyway. But who will you be helping? The island? The locals? Or are you perpetuating the big businesses and the government? Do you go to Semporna, Tawau, and how much do you spend or buy in the local areas and how much did you spend to go diving around Kapalai, Mabul, Sipadan itself? Since April 2006, they raised the marine park fee to 10 Euros a DAY instead of a week like before. They chased dive operations off the island last year so they can build their own stuff on it apparently. And look what's happened. Barely months and tragedy already.
Sorry... and RM300 a day to dive is very expensive for Malaysia. Is this including RM40 a day for park fees? Perhaps it's reasonable for foreign currency, but for local rates, it's not. In other marine park areas, the fee is only RM5 or RM10. Diving is about RM50 - RM80 a dive.
OK I am answering my own question, hopefully it's useful for someone.
Smart way to do Sipadan is to simply first get yourself to Tawau. If you fly from Kota Kinabalu or Johor Bharu, you are likely to meet travellers in the airplane or at the airport the latest. Hook up and share a cab to the city of Semporna. Expect to pay no more than 80 RM for three or 100 RM for four person.
In Semporna, get yourself to the Scuba Junkie hostel. The name sounds dodgy but the hostel is great value, offering dorm accomodation with aircon at 10RM a night, couples often taking a private room from 30-50RM a night. It's clean and comes with a free internet which I'm using now.
There are plenty of dive operators around and you can choose any you like even if you stay at the Scuba Junkies hostel. I dived four days with SJ, very well organised an professionally ran. The other shops seem to have very little customers. SJ charges 300RM from one day or 810RM for three days, including 3 full dives and boatrides to Sipadan. National Park fee of 40RM/day will be added.
Including return flights from Singapore, transport to Semporna, one weeks accomodation, three full days of diving and one night dive, I've spent around 1600RM for one weeks holiday. You can spend that in a day if you sleep at Mabul for example!
Semporna is a dodgy place, not many things to do, but diving here is really the most awesome ever. I'm really happy I decided to come here!