Pulau Kapalai Island lies a sand bar situated between Sipadan and Mabul island in Sabah. Pulau Kapalai island is rated by many diving journalists as one of the best macro-diving destinations in the world.
Between Sipadan and Mabul island lies a sand bar known many years ago as Kapalai Island. Unfortunately, erosion has taken its toll and now the sand bar sits on top of the reef known as the Ligitan Reefs, a very extensive stretch bordering the deep and vast Celebes Sea. In fact, this little island is rated by many diving journalists as one of the best macro-diving destinations in the world.
Lying about 45 minutes from the gateway town of Semporna, Kapalai is small enough to be discovered by shore diving. It is not actually an island; rather a large sandbank where a resort has been built on stilts. The diving, indeed the best of it, is right beneath you! Below the main jetty, blue ringed octopus have been spotted many a time. It is difficult to sub-divide the well-endowed Kapalai into dive sites but three distinctive ones have been noted and named.
Off the main jetty, is a circus of manic fish life. Jaw fish, leaf fish, cuttlefish and gobies are but a few to attract your attention. A grey frogfish or ghost pipefish might chance upon your path.
Ribbon eels and moray ells will add to the crowd. Finally, Stingray City derives its name from the obvious. These are the blue-spotted stingrays, which lurk on sandy bottoms. In these calm, shallow waters, dragonets, octopus and shrimps are commonly found too.
It can be reach by flight from the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, then a connecting flight to Tawau, followed by a 2 hour drive to Semporna and finally a 30 minutes fast catamaran boat transfer to the island.