Diving at Sipadan & Orang Utans in Borneo

Start your adventure diving vacation on an oil rig where you dive and sleep. Explore breathtaking dive sites such as Sipadan. Then you will go on a tour to meet Orangutans.
Travel period
April, May, June, July, September, October
Boatdiving, Cave diving, Shore diving
Starting at
17 days from €2349,- p.p

A unique stay & Orang Utans

Combine Malaysia’s fantastic diving with Borneo’s jungle. The trip starts with six full days of diving in Malaysia at the most beautiful dive sites and continues overland to Borneo where you will spend six days touring and meeting the most extraordinary animals.

Seaventures Dive Rig is a unique accommodation in Malaysia that serves as a dive resort. This former oil rig offers divers comfortable rooms and the opportunity to dive directly under the rig or at more distant dive sites. The resort is a decommissioned oil platform in the middle of the Celeb Sea, overlooking the island of Mabul and just a 30-minute boat ride from famous Sipadan.

During your stay on the rig, you can enjoy unlimited diving on the rig’s house reef and diving at Mabul, Kapalai and the world-famous Sipadan Island. The diving at Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai is extraordinary for its abundant marine life and unique underwater landscapes.

What makes this diving destination so diverse and special?

The island of Sipadan is an impressive volcanic pinnacle, covered in coral and with a steep 600-meter descent to the sea floor. Sipadan is known for its huge schools of fish, barracudas, turtles and reef sharks.

The diving around Mabul and Kapalai is also world-class and offers a completely different experience from Sipadan.

Mabul is known for its fantastic muck diving and diverse macro life, including flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, anglerfish and moray eels. Kapalai is a great spot for critter lovers and offers relaxed diving with abundant life in the warm, shallow waters.

After the diving adventure, we’ll take you into Borneo’ s lush, green wilderness to meet some of the island’s most iconic native species, including the Orang Utan.

What will you do on the tour?

In the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, meet wildlife along the Kinabatangan River, and observe Orang Utans at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Center. You will also go to admire the world’s smallest bear at the Sun Bear Protection Center and and experience what local life is like during a homestay in the Kiulu Valley. You will conclude the trip with a morning walk and free time in Kota Kinabalu.

Attention! The accommodations in this roundtrip and the hikes are not recommended for people with mobility problems.

Best travel time: Diving in Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai is great year-round, but conditions vary by season. From April to October, the water is calm, warm and clear with visibility up to 30 meters. During the rainy season (November-March), currents may increase and visibility decrease, but the diving remains great with possibility of extraordinary encounters with marine life.

Good to know about diving on Sipadan: Diving on Sipadan is heavily restricted. When staying a minimum of 4 days, each diver is allowed only 1 day, 2 dives at Sipadan itself. There are only a limited number of permits available so if we want to dive on Sipadan for several days, we will have to apply in advance. So the number of days of diving allowed at Sipadan depends on how long you stay there.

Sipadan Island is officially closed to all tourists and divers during the month of November each year. This is designed to protect marine life around Sipadan in an effort to ensure that Sipadan remains one of the best dive sites in the world.

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Average Temperatures

Wetsuit advice for Malaysia

A shorty or full 3mm wetsuit is perfect since the water is around 28/29 C.

What will you experience on this trip?

View itinerary here

Day 1 & 2 - The journey to Malaysia

Your journey from Europe to Tawau begins with a flight to Kuala Lumpur, often with a transfer, which takes between 15 and 18 hours. Sometimes it is possible to fly direct and then the flight time is about 13 hrs.

Upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur, you have two options. If times permit, you can choose to fly directly on to Tawau, your final destination. This is an additional flight of about three hours that takes you deep into the heart of Borneo, where Tawau is located.

However, if you arrive in Kuala Lumpur late or just feel the need to rest after a long flight, it is possible to take a hotel near the airport.

Day 3 - On the road to Mabul

As soon as you set foot in Tawau, your diving adventure begins. Whether you arrive directly from the airport or are picked up at your hotel, you will be taken to the city of Semporna. Here is the Seaventures office, where you formally check in and, among other things, show your diving certification, etc.

After the administrative formalities, you will be escorted to the boat that will take you to the rig. This boat ride, an adventure in itself, takes about 45 minutes.

Upon arrival at your destination, it’s time to check into your room. Then you will receive a dive briefing from the experienced crew, who will initiate you into the secrets of the underwater world you will explore.

Depending on your arrival time and weather conditions, you may still be able to enjoy an orientation dive under the rig.

Day 4 to 9 - Diving around Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai

Over the next 6 days, you will make 3 boat dives daily at Mabul, Kapalai or Sipadan. In addition, you can do unlimited house reef diving (mandatory with buddy). Certified night divers may do night dives on the house reef, with a buddy. Unfortunately, no night boat dives are allowed, but not to worry, under the oil platform you will also see your eyes in the dark.

One of the highlights of diving in the Sipadan Marine Park, Kapalai and Mabul is the chance to see whale sharks. These giant fish are not only iconic, but also on the bucket list of most divers. To have the best chance of seeing whale sharks, come during whale shark season, which runs from late March to early June, with early March and late June as shoulder periods. There is also a second season around September to October as whale sharks migrate.

One of the main reasons to dive in the Sipadan Marine Park is the large population of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas). These turtles flourish around Sipadan and rest on the ridges of the reef tops and walls. Moreover, in the park you can also discover the turtle cave, a special diving experience!

Seaventures Dive Rig is a PADI 5-Star Dive Centre and offers diving courses for both beginners and professionals…. For the PADI divers who want to expand their specialties, it is interesting to take PADI Cavern Diver course here that takes you to Sipadan Turtle Tomb.

This location also provides the ideal environment for various specialties and courses, such as the Cavern Diver Specialty, Sidemount Diver course, TEC 40, TEC 45, TEC 50, TEC Deep Diver and PADI Rig Diver Specialty.

After diving, it’s time to relax with BBQ nights and live music, among other activities.

Day 10 - Start round trip in Borneo

You catch the early transfer at 11:00 a.m. to the port where you will bet awaited to begin your tour of Borneo. Your journey begins with a transfer to Bilit. Here you will experience the magic of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and the Kinabatangan Discovering River. Upon arrival in Bilit Village stabs your by boat across the river to the Bilit Rainforest Lodgewhere you check-in. After the briefing go you then on a river cruise in search of native Proboscis Monkeys, various birds and other wildlife along the riverbank. After that time your back to the lodge for a delicious dinner and overnight stay.

Day 11 - Jungle & River

Begin your day in an unforgettable way by choosing an early morning cruise or a jungle hike at the Ox-Bow Lake for bird watching. After this you can enjoy a delicious breakfast and lunch at the restaurant of the lodge. At 4 p.m., it’s time for an exciting river cruise in search of more species of primates and wildlife along the Kinabatangan Riverbank.

Day 12 & 13 - Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center

After breakfast you to the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center, located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Upon arrival your a brief briefing of your guide. Next, view a documentary on the rehabilitation of orphaned Orang Utans before taking a hike through the lowland rainforest to see the Orang Utan to be seen eating on the feeding platform. After that, go your to the Bornean “Sun Bear” Protection Center to see the “Sun Bear” to see. This is the smallest bear in the world. The adult Sun Bear is about 120cm to 150cm tall and weighs 27kg to 65kg.

To end your jungle stay on a high note, stay overnight at the Sepilok Jungle Resort. Enjoy the fantastic sounds of the rainforest for a while longer.

The next day you leave in the morningd to Ranau. This ride takes about 4½-5 hours. Along the way, you will get a good impression of Sabah’s landscape. Overnight at the Kinabilu Pine Resort.

Day 14 & 15 - Homestay program in the Kiulu Valley.

Today and tonight you will stay with a host family! This will truly be an authentic experience. You will be picked up at your hotel in the morning and then drive to the countryside with a short stop at the nearby local market, passing by the scenic views of Kiulu Valley, the valley of mist. Upon arrival in Kg. Mantob, you will be greeted with a warm welcome by your host family and explained the host family program. Enjoy a delicious lunch cooked by your host family.

It is then time to immerse yourself in local culture and tradition by participating in the demonstration of local games and activities such as rice pounding and sieving, blowpipe, handicraft making, traditional fishing, local games playing (Rampanau) and musical instruments with dance (gong and Sumazau). Continue with a village walk, which offers you beautiful landscapes of the scenic valley as you pass through rice fields, plantations and fruit orchards. After dinner, have a good conversation with your host family about village history and folktales before going to bed.

The next morning you awaken and enjoy the slightly chilly morning before taking a morning walk. Go to the highest point to see the surroundings. Weather permitting, you might be lucky enough to see the sacred Mount Kinabalu. After breakfast, depart for Kota Kinabalu, where you will have some free time upon arrival.

Day 16 & 17 - Home

The next morning you will check out of the Shangri La Hotel. A short transfer will take you to Kota Kinabalu airport, where your flight to Kuala Lumpur is scheduled. This stopover marks the beginning of your return trip to Europe.

Once in Kuala Lumpur, you will have the opportunity to relax, have something to eat and prepare for the night flight ahead.

As you fly through the, you can look back on the unforgettable dives at Sipadan and the special adventure on the oil rig. Admiring the colorful marine life and meeting the Orangutans will remain long-lasting memories of this trip to Malaysia.

The accommodations

The stay and surroundings

Seaventures Dive Rig

Seaventures Dive Rig is without a doubt the most unique dive resort ever! Built on a converted oil platform, this boutique hotel is surrounded by the sea off Sabah’s northeast coast. It may not sound comfortable, but Seaventures has pulled out all the stops to turn this piece of metal into a cozy hotel. Accommodation is stylish and well appointed, and there are game and meeting rooms and a striking sundeck on the disused helicopter pad.

But what makes the resort truly unique is the hydraulic elevator that takes divers to the water whenever they want. With three daily boat dives to both Sipadan and the iconic local sites of Mabul and Kapalai, you are guaranteed a remarkable diving vacation. The food is buffet style and consists mainly of Asian dishes with fruits and salads. No ala-carte menu.

Accommodations during the round trip in Borneo

Bilit Rainforest Lodge
At Bilit Rainforest Lodge, you will experience the ultimate rainforest experience. Built largely from local hardwoods, this leading eco-lodge in the tropical region offers a beautiful setting to experience the unique local nature. Amidst the surrounding flora and fauna, you will enjoy a clean, safe and breathtaking environment that will make your stay unforgettable.

Sepilok Jungle Resort
Surrounded by tropical forests, this relaxing resort is an 8-minute walk from Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and 2 km from Rainforest Discovery Centre. Sandakan airport is 17 km away. Sepilok Jungle Resort is ideal for guests who want to spend a quiet weekend with family and friends and be awakened only by the chirping of birds and hear the sound of cicadas in the evening. Inside the facilities, an outdoor pool, children’s pool, Jacuzzi and the fully air-conditioned Poolside Jungle Cafe. the 45 all en-suite rooms are basic, some equipped with wall fan others with air-conditioning.

Travel costs

What is included

This travel package is €2349 per person based on two people in one room. The trip can be extended as desired. A number of things are included by default in this travel package.

Prices are subject to price changes, increases or changing exchange rates. Flights are always based on the cheapest possible booking class.

Want to know more about the possibilities? Get in touch with us!

Included in this trip, from €2349,- p.p.


Round trip


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Frequently asked questions about this diving vacation

Diving general

You can dive from the oil rig without a boat, using a hydraulic elevator to enter the water from the platform. In addition, you will make boat dive dives at various sites in Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai.

Sipadan is about a 25-minute boat ride away and the other dive sites are even closer.

Up to 3 boat dives per day and unlimited on the house reef. From early morning to 7 p.m. you may dive on the house reef.

Yes, you may night dive on the house reef, however you must be qualified and out of the water by 19:00 at the latest.

Qualified means that during your AOW training you did the night dive as one of 5 dives or separately the first dive of the night dive specialty. Don’t you have one? Then you can do those on the 1st night dive for approx. €35 and then you can do all other night dives with your buddies.

Yes definitely! On this you are allowed unlimited diving from early morning to 7 p.m.

Several interesting diving courses are offered such as the Cavern Diver Specialty, Sidemount Diver-Course, TEC 40, TEC 45, TEC 50, TEC Deep Diver and PADI Rig Diver Specialty.

The Dive Rig is both accommodation and dive shop in one.

Diving equipment

Both are present.

Yes definitely, filled with air there is no additional cost. Nitrox is at an additional charge.

Nitrox is available for approx. €5 per tank.

Yes, the cost is €27 per day. Includes computer. Diving with a computer is mandatory.

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