Located some 45 minutes by fast boat from the town of Semporna. Usually tour operators will make 2 short stops from Semporna, one at this dive resort, and another at Sipadan-Mabul Water Village, before proceeding to Sipadan itself.
The resort itself is not exactly located on an island - rather Kapalai is more of a shallow sandbank that forms the part of Ligitan Reef, which was the center of territorial dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia until the ruling by International Court of Justice favored the former.
The waters around the resort are heavenly clear - as if you're staying at the world's biggest swimming pool. Just like Sipadan-Mabul Water Village, all facilities were built on stilts. One rarely could see any land mass, except during low-tide when powdery white sand bars appear sporadically. The wooden chalets offer their own private balcony. I could easily see hundreds of tropical fish swimming by the stilts, probably feeding themselves.
There are about 30 chalets here, surprisingly all of the same type, hence you don't have to worry about choosing a suite or a bungalow. Each chalet is well appointed with luxurious interior fittings made of timber strips. Modern amenities such as hot shower, attached bathroom with a bath tub and private balconies are also provided in each room.
There is a nice open-air lounging area called Kapalai Lodge where you can relax while enjoying the endless ocean view. For daily meals, you will be served at the al fresco styled Kapalai Restaurant where buffet spreads are served. There is also a unique sundeck right on top of the dive boat jetty where you can kick back and relax after a long day of diving in Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai itself.
Kapalai is fast becoming another muck-diving favorite among tourists. It is often compared to Mabul when it comes to the variety of marine critters and superb macro photography. There are about 30 dive sites in Kapalai, along with 8 sites in Mabul and 12 world-famous dive sites in Sipadan.
There isn't any beach here though, but the view from the wooden planks around the resort is fantastic to say the least.
For 3D/2N package for diver, the price will be RM1,298 per person (RM1,040 per person for non-diver) which includes 3 boat dives to either Sipadan/Mabul/Kapalai on the second day. The room will be twin-sharing basis and daily meals, land transfer from Tawau Airport and boat transfer from Semporna are inclusive as well. As always, prices are subject to change
There isn't a 2D/1N package here because boat dives to Sipadan and Mabul will depart very early in the morning. There won't be enough time for you to arrive at the resort and catch the dive boats. Similar situation applies during the day of your return because boat transfer back to mainland will also depart around noon, so you won't be able to return from your diving trip and catch the return boat.
Note also that there will be RM40 levy per day per person if you are entering Sipadan. This new ruling in effect as of 1st April 2006. Kindly check with the local authorities should the levy have been increased further.