Topic 6: Permit Guide for Sipadan Island


Tourists who don’t know will surely think,

what is the permit for Sipadan Island?

Why do I have to apply for a permit?

Can’t enter Sipadan Island without a permit?

Yes, you cannot enter Sipadan without permission~

This article will give you a brief introduction to the permits of Sipadan Island.

The itinerary of the diving point needs to be arranged according to the situation of the day.

Sipadan Island is a marine protected by Sabah Park.

Due to the destruction of the sea world and environment of Sipadan Island,

to protect the sea world and environment of Sipadan Island,

Sabah Park completely prohibits tourists from entering Sipadan Island for some time.

Afterward, Sabah Park announced the good news.

Tourists are allowed to enter Sipadan Island.

But it is impossible to spend the night on Sipadan,

so all resorts on Sipadan have been transferred to nearby islands.

Besides, the number of people entering Sipadan is also restricted.

So far, the 120 licenses per day have increased to 176.

The right to issue a permit belongs to Sabah Parks.

Tourists need a permit to enter Sipadan Island for snorkeling or diving.

The local garrison will check before entering the island.

How to apply for a permit for Sipadan Island

Permits need to be processed through resorts,

hotels, or travel agencies.

Individuals cannot apply for a permit.

The local resort or dive shop will have a fixed number of permits.

You can also obtain a permit for Sipadan Island through a travel agency.

However, if you choose accommodation with a permit quota,

your chances of obtaining a permit will be higher.

If you choose a resort with no quota,

you need to purchase a one-day Sipadan permit,

usually starting at RM 150+ per person.

The permit fee for Sipadan may change,

so you need to pay the current fee.

After processing all the information,

the system will select the tourists who will receive the quota.

Permits are not issued on a “first-come, first-served” basis,

so many tourists may not be able to obtain a permit.

Resort/diving shop with permit quota

Although the resort or dive shop has a fixed quota,

as mentioned in the previous paragraph,

the permit is selected through the system,

and this permit may not be obtained.

However, if you book a package through a fixed-quota resort or dive shop,

the chances of obtaining a permit are relatively high.

Resorts or dive shops with permit quota:

  • Borneo Divers Mabul Resort
  • Sipadan Water Village
  • Kapalai Dive Resort
  • Mabul Water Bungalows
  • Sipadan Mabul Resort
  • Seaventures Rig Resort
  • Celebes Explorer
  • Mataking Reef Resort
  • Uncle Chang Resort
  • Scuba Junkie Resort
  • Billabong Resort
  • Sipadan Scuba
  • Borneo Speedy Dive Center

The number of a permit for each resort

or dive shop is different.

The resort can have up to 14 permits.

Most resorts are located on Mabul Island.

How to increase the chance of obtaining a license?

You need to book accommodation packages 1-3 months in advance.

Generally, the chance of choosing a diving package to get a permit is relatively high.

Especially in peak seasons, holidays,

and other seasons, the sooner you book, the better.

Because these seasons will soon be full.

You can choose to avoid traveling during the peak period,

and your chances of obtaining a permit will be higher.

The itinerary takes at least 4 days or more

because Sipadan Island requires a day of snorkeling or diving.

If the trip is less than 3 days,

the chance of obtaining a permit will be reduced.

Summary points:

  • Book package 1-3 months in advance
  • Avoid traveling during peak period
  • Itinerary exceeds 4 days

Accommodation problem

There is no accommodation in Sipadan,

but you can consider nearby islands.

Recommend Mabul Island or Kapalai Island.

Mabul Island has many accommodation options,

but Kapalai has even fewer.

It only takes 15 minutes by boat to reach Sipadan Island.

In the morning, you will see very spectacular “waves”,

thousands of schools of barracuda pass by like a tornado.

If you spend the night in the town of Semporna,

you may miss it for this moment

because it takes some time for Semporna to reach Sipadan Island.


Sabah Park issues 176 Sipadan permits every day.

Individuals cannot apply,

you can apply through local resorts,

dive shops, or travel agencies.

During the peak period,

due to the limited number of the permit,

you may not be able to obtain the permit after applying.

Many resorts or dive shops have up to 14 licenses.

However, there is no guarantee that you will get the license.

Choose a minimum 4-day itinerary

and book accommodation packages in advance to avoid peak periods,

so you have a greater chance of getting a permit.



Have you ever applied for a permit for Sipadan Island?

Welcome to share with us your experience in applying for a permit~