Which of the divers does not know this cherished “mantra”: “Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai” ?! This is the Mecca of diving tourism since the days of Cousteau! True, the popularity of the resort makes the hotels keep a fairly high cost of accommodation. Scuba divers there are waiting for the meeting with the famous turtles and their offspring, a silver whirlwind of barracudas and hundreds of unprecedented fish of all colors and shapes. Sipadan Island itself has been declared fully protected since January 2005, and living on it is prohibited. But tourists are happy to take on the neighboring islands of Mabul and Kapalai, from which to Sipadan – 15 minutes by boat. Dives are held at all three islands – each of them has its own underwater “highlight”. By the way, Maboul, on which there are three main hotels, is famous for its coral reef, which is close to the surface, which makes it perfect for those who like a leisurely rest with a mask and snorkel. Checked! On Mabul, accommodation in a bungalow right on stilts above the water, which is offered by the high-class Sipadan Water Village Hotel and, from not so long ago, Sipadan-Mabul Island Resort, will be optimal. By the way, with a very high level of service in Sipadan Water Village there are no air conditioners: the fresh sea air does not leave the slightest chance of stuffiness and heat.
Hotels on the islands of Mabul and Kapalai often have the word “Sipadan” in their name. It speaks only of their desire to emphasize the proximity to the famous island, but not at all about the fact that they are on it. Do not get confused.
Experienced divers can advise the island-hotel Mataking. It lies only an hour away from the famous “trinity”, and it is favorably distinguished by the presence of a SPA-center and a well-kept tropical garden for walks. It also practiced the construction and “launch” in the operation of artificial reefs.
Getting to these islands is better than a flight from Kuala Lumpur (direct or via Kota Kinabalu), any of these resorts are perfect for combining with rest in Kota Kinabalu or traveling through the jungles of Sandakan.
With all the positive features of Pattaya, divers there is more disappointment. In this region of Thailand, if we dive, then on Koh Chang island – meetings with turtles are guaranteed! But real fans of diving, of course, are recommended Similan Islands – rocks, arches, swimming, ocean fish on the one hand, and enough places for fans of colorful coral reefs – on the other. But since we agreed not to dive-safari in this article, let’s consider other options for diving in the Andaman Sea. Several nearby islands from the Similanov group are available on day trips from the very popular among Europeans resort of Khao Lak about an hour’s drive from Phuket. It turns out an excellent combination of comfortable stay at the hotel, the availability of all kinds of excursions and the proximity of the beauties of the Similan Islands. In Phuket itself, diving sites have been let through by more than one generation of divers, so you will have to sail south of the island for the most interesting ones. But as a little-known dive, “chips” can offer diving at Krabi or Phi Phi. “In season” you can go to Samui – there is a small island of Koh Tao nearby, where dives are made. It is not recommended to live on Koh Tao itself: there are mostly “treshka” on the island, whose guests are constantly observed by the groups of divers arriving and sailing back to Samui. At the listed resorts, you can choose any hotel that suits your customers – transfer to dive sites is provided by dive centers.