Sipadan Island and its surrounding ocean waters are part of the world’s richest marine habitat, home to endangered hawksbill turtles, whale sharks, monitor lizards, and hundreds of coral species. The island is also considered one of the best diving destinations in the world and is fiercely protected—visiting requires a permit in advance and only 120 permits are given out per day.

Reaching the island requires an hour-long ride on a speed boat. Once here, the island can be easily explored on foot, with different beaches and reef sites within minutes of each other.

Since it’s no longer possible to stay on the island because of environmental protection laws (the nearby Mabul Island offers accommodations), visitors usually come here early in the morning as part of snorkeling and diving tours. All visitors must leave the island by 3pm.

X