It is Malaysia’s only oceanic island, rising 600 metres (2,000 ft) from the seabed and formed by living corals growing on top of a volcanic cone. It lies in the Celebes Sea just off the east coast of Malaysian Borneo, close to the borders of Indonesia and the Philippines. Although, the centre of one of the richest marine habitats in the world.
More than 400 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem. Sipadan has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top dive destinations in the world. Above water, the island is a covered in lush jungle and home to tropical birds such as kingfishers, sea-eagles, sunbirds, starlings and wood pigeons.
There are also fruit bats and monitor lizards and at nightfall a turtle may come to lay her eggs on the beach while coconut crabs scurry into the water at the slightest sound. It was declared a bird sanctuary as early as 1933 and in 2004, Sipadan was gazetted as marine park and all accommodation facilities on Sipadan were closed to further protect this pristine natural treasure. The island is about 45 minutes from Semporna town by speedboat in calm seas.