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“Sipadan Snorkeling”

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Sipadan Water Village Resort
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Reviewed 22 June 2010

After looking at all the reviews for the different resorts we still could not decide where to go. They all seemed great. Since I am not a diver I wrote to SWV, Kapalai, and Sipadan-Mabul Resort asking if they would apply for a Sipadan permit for non-diving guests. Only SWV said they do not differentiate between divers or non-divers. The other resorts told me that they apply for divers only. They do not apply for permits for non-divers. Even when I explained to the other resorts that it was a deciding factor for me they still said they do not apply for non-divers. So we decided to stay at SWV and we do not regret it for one moment. While my husband was diving I just snorkeled at the house reef (Paradise 2). I saw many turtles, crocodile fish, lionfish, etc. We met one couple who have been diving for ten years and this is their third time at this resort. The service and housekeeping was great. The dive center was very professional and very attentive. Even though most people were there for diving, Sipadan Water Village dive staff still looked out for the few non-divers. We went with the dive boats and were taken to nearby areas to snorkel. Each time there was a guide who came along. (Whereas when I followed my husband on a dive with Scuba Junkies, they just pointed to a lighter blue area in the middle of the ocean and dropped me off on my own to snorkel). The restaurant staff and other staff are very friendly and you can tell they really want you to enjoy your stay. The food selection was good. No cheese or yogurt but this is an island in Malaysian Borneo, so I survived for a week. Great selection of fruit. A different style of squid every night. It was not a 5 star resort buffet but they really tried to have a variety of food to cater to all the different nationalities. You definitely will not starve. There is a little shop to buy snacks like ice cream, chocolate, chips, and drinks on site if you really need more. The price for store drinks was the same as the mini bar prices. Each room has an electric kettle (they provide drinking water) with tea and instant coffee so if a great cup of coffee is very important to you I would consider bringing your own mini bodum or something. One of our favorite parts of the day was being woken up by the sunrise and having a coffee on the deck. The rooms are very clean. Great BBQ one night. Seems like they do this once a week? We stayed for 8 nights and loved it. During the day most people go on dives or boat trips and the bungalows offer a lot of privacy. We never felt like the place was crowded even when it was full on the weekend. Also, SWV was the only resort that offered a discount for a longer stay.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank melenheads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 March 2010

We stayed for five nights six days and were not disappointed in anything.
The rooms are well-designed, in great condition, spacious and clean. A/C is not required due to the constant sea breeze (it was a joy not to sleep in A/C after coming from KL).
The food is well above average for island fare. There were always choices of two to three good entrees and lots of fresh salads and fruits on offer. The seafood dishes were imaginative (crab bakes etc) and tasty and the soups were delicious.
The best part of the resort is the hospitality of the local staff who really made us feel at home. The dive-masters, boatmen, restaurant/housekeeping/reception workers were all wonderful. That having been said, the setting on the ocean with beautiful sunrises and sunsets is outstanding.
I haven't even mentioned Sipadan diving which is out of this world and the muck diving in Mabul and Kapalai is fascinating. This is a scuba diver's paradise.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank hendy70KL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2010

After a week of exploring the rainforest, we arrived at our room at Sipidan Water Village, and I thought, "Surely, this is paradise!" The warm, smiling reception; a spotless room with beautiful furnishings that opened up onto the sea (I woke up every morning and took pictures of the spectacular sunrises from my bed); fresh, delicious, and more than ample food; a convenient and friendly dive center. Day after day, I pinched myself and marveled at how lucky I was to have arrived at this place.

I could have jumped off of the deck of my room to snorkel in lovely waters - easy access being a plus on any warm water vacation. I've been diving for 30 years all over the globe and found both the snorkeling and diving interesting, pleasing, and at times truly wonderful. We swam with sharks, large schools of fish, a swirl of thousands of barracuda, large turtles on every dive, thriving coral and lots of colorful tropical fish. I chose to dive some days and snorkel others, and would recommend it as a spot if you have both in your party. A snorkeler could go out on the dive boat and find plenty to do while others dived, or you could stay around the exquisite resort and snorkel from there whle others headed out on their dive boats for the morning.

The food was delicious - all of the lovely fresh tropical fruits you crave on such a trip - mangoes, pineapple, papaya, mangosteens, melons, and more of the exotics. Every night they served fish, chicken, and a meat selections, generally cooked in an Asian style. For breakfast, they would prepare an omelette to your liking, as well as a host of other options. Lunches were just as generous as the dinners. and all was served while you sat in an open restaurant with views of a picturesque village on the island, turquoise waters and sunsets extraordinaire.

I walked into the village three times - a short walk down the pier from our resort. Clean white sand paths, small wooden houses on stilts and over the water, fishing boats pulled up on the beach, a school with bright-faced young children, a gold-topped mosque, and a friendly reception all around. It is a pleasant and short walk all the way around the island. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and see more of the people than just what was available at the resort.

I feel as though I need to respond to the comment made by another TripAdvisor reviewer about being molested by the dive operators. I ABSOLUTELY DIDN'T SEE OR EXPERIENCE ANYTHING LIKE THAT! As a single woman wearing a bikini, and accompanying other single women, the staff were polite, kind, helpful, and totally appropriate. I'm sure there is a context that is left out of the previous comment.

As we left, every one had tears in their eyes as the staff all gathered on the dock to bid us farewell. As I've described the diving and facilities and food, I would have to say that the best thing about Sipidan Water Village Resort is their wonderful staff.... you felt as though you were with real friends, and that as much as anything, is what we took away with us.

I spent a full year traveling throughout Southeast Asia, and another year traveling to other destinations, as well as many trips back to favorite or missed spots on vacations since, so I don't consider myself a neophyte when it comes to being "wowed". I honestly recommend this resort with no reservations, and hope that you will consider it as your destination to a wonderful part of the world - Borneo.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Laurelkay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 February 2010

I could be speaking for our entire group of 19 divers and snorkelers, but because they were all equally impressed, they may be writing their own reviews. Sipadan Water Village was the perfect ending to a diverse two weeks in Borneo. From the moment we arrived to a welcoming staff until they sent us off with heartfelt waves that lasted long after we could see them, our week was superb. The rooms top our list of favorites from dive resorts around the world. Large and totally open to the fresh sea breezes, our room tempted us to stay put but our goal was to dive Sipadan Island's prolific reefs, and that is what we did. With three dive days there in spite of vying for the coveted dive permits via a lottery system, we saw everything we hoped for: sharks, gigantic schools of circling barracuda, turtles galore, reef fish too numerous to name, and walls filled with colorful corals. The two days we didn't get to Sipadan Island were also satisfying, with an abundance of unique smaller sea critters to observe. The dive masters were experienced, professional, and helpful without being controlling, the boats were adequate, and there was a system for storing gear safely. The food at the open-air restaurant was excellent and abundant, and the staff couldn't have been more accommodating. The US State Dept issued a travel advisory right before our departure, but we never felt the least bit threatened. The Malaysian government has gone to great lengths to assure our safety, which is evident by the military presence on and around the islands. In spite of a 24+ hour ordeal to get there, we can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: February 2010
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2  Thank TTLUT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2009

I had 4 nights in an overwater bungalow in October 08. The resort was very nice, the staff very helpful, and the overwater bungalow was lovely, with its own private deck and all the mod cons. The resort was fairly quiet and mainly focused towards divers, so if you dont dive or snorkel you may be at a bit of a loss. The only disapointment was that access to Sipadan was restricted so you may only get one day access during your trip. The food was included in the price and was okay, mostly smorgasboard style. My only gripe was no real coffee available at all, only instant. for a 5 star resort that was a bit of a shock. Overall I enjoyed the trip.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled solo
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1  Thank kellykate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sipadan Water Village Resort

Address: Tawau, Pulau Sipadan 91031, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Price Range: RM1,458 - RM2,022 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 276
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sipadan Water Village is a resort built entirely over the water on stilts. In its design, Sipadan Water Village has achieved near utopia in its layout, splendid water cottage accommodations with flowered sidewalks, wonderfully prepared Asian and Continental cuisine, and impeccable and personable service! The dive program is comparable to none as everyone at Sipadan Water Village has an attitude and passion for what the sea has to offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan Water Village Hotel Pulau Sipadan
Sipadan Water Village Pulau
Sipadan Water Village Resort Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia - Sabah

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