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Can I get a little travel advice?


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#1 saudio

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

I'm planning a trip to Sipadan in 2014, and I'd like to know if there is any other dive venue that makes logistic sense to tie in with trip there. I usually like to stay in Asia 10-14 days when I travel that far and I don't know if I'd like to stay in Sipadan that long.

I'm thinking Bali might make travel sense but I've dived there a few times already.

#2 Drew

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

Sipadan/Mabul is a nice place to spend 10-12 days really, especially if you get your time of year and moon-phases right to get the behavior and viz. I'm not a fan of the new system of things, since ops can bar divers from Sipadan when their allotment changes etc.

Other choices that are sorta close by:

Sandakan: North of Tawau/Sempoerna and only a short skip on a plan or even a taxi ride to. The diving is pretty decent but if you are going, go there first then go to Sipadan/Mabul so you end on a higher note! ;) The resort is called Lankayan.

Layang Layang is an option but I personally don't think it's worth the trip for less than 4 days.

Sangalaki/Derawan is only a few hundred miles south but takes a bit of travel by plane or car/ferry/boat. Lake jellyfish, mantas and some good like in the channels.

I believe Cebu Pacific might still run that flight from BKI-CEB. So you have access to Bohol/Balicasag, Malapascua etc.

Have fun.

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#3 MortenHansen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

I agree with Drew.

I used to work in Mabul and the diving out there is awesome. As Drew said, make sure you hit it at the right time of the year.

The company I worked for offered diving in Mabul, Kapalai, Sipadan, + (Mantabuan, Sibuan, Semporna Strait and Mataking if you stay in Semporna).

These are all islands with several dive-sites on each island (no way you will see all of those sites in 14 days and some you might wanna do 3-4 times to get the right shot of those flamboyant cuttlefish eegs or whatever crazy-cool thing you will find.

If you are going to go Sipadan/Mabul, then the one thing I would strongly recommend is to put on a 60mm macro and jump into the dirty (filthy) waters of the Semporna strait. The so called pontoon (fish-farm) was my favorite site, especially good for night-dives! Loads of wonderful and unusual critters living in the muck.
The only disadvantages are that most people (believe it or not) does not want to dive the strait (did I say that its pretty darned dirty?), so it might be hard for you to get enough people together for it another disadvantage is that that you will have to spend a night or two staying in Semporna before/after you go to Mabul.
Semporna is, ehm, nasty :)

Enjoy!
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#4 MikeVeitch

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:10 PM

Layang Layang is another option

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#5 Drew

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:55 PM

Oh yes and if you are sick of reefs, you could also try the wrecks @ Labuan, on the West side of Kota Kinabalu. Not a lot of sites but the wrecks are quite nice and a difference from sand/muck/reefs. Problem is it take almost a day to travel there by car and ferry if you are not flying. If you fly then you really are limited in dive time.

Seriously Mike, I really suggest you just do Sipadan/Mabul/Kapalai. There are more than enough sites and critters to keep most happy, but if you do get island claustrophobia, you can always go to the parks in Sabah. The rainforest there is probably the last bastion of proper rainforest that isn't palm oil plantations. The Proboscis monkeys are gorgeous to watch in the wild and there are plenty of insects and birds if that's your thing. I always do some sort of valley or landtrip when in Sabah. It's awesome and disappearing fast!

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#6 MikeVeitch

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:04 AM

Thats a good point Drew, a trip up the river is a great addition to that trip, the monkeys are cool and also a chance to see pygmy elephants, orangutans, cool snakes etc.

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#7 Luko

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:57 AM

I believe Cebu Pacific might still run that flight from BKI-CEB.

Nah... Malaysia were the last carriertto fly to CEB but they cut the flight in 2010, t's a pity because the Sipadan/Visayas combo was always a winner. There's still an Airasia.com flight that would take you to Manila (Clark) from BKI that should be fine for Anilao or PG.

I can understand Saudio, when i fly to SE.Asia 3 times a year for 2 or 3 weeks I like to taste different things. Last time I coupled Sipadan with Bali and Komodo, but that was on a 3 weeks trip...

If spending a full day on transfers is not an issue, I think there's a new AirAsia.com flight from BKI to Makassar which broadens the options to Selayar, or even furtherwise Manado, Ambon, etc. Thinking it twice and depending on the season a Sipadan/Bangka (North Sulawesi) combo would be fantastic, of course viewed through my own eyes.
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