While on the 45 minute speedboat ride from mainland Semporna, you boil with excitement and keep your eyes out for the approaching Kapalai Island. But many are puzzled as they approach a sudden floating chalet instead. Designed and built similarly after the fishermen’s water villages, on high wooden stilts resting on underwater reefs stands Kapalai in the vast Celebes waters. It may have been a beautiful island some 200 years ago, but it only exists as a sand bar now. Erosion has reduced the island leaving only a small strip of sand and the rest of it at a visible sea level. The village residing in Kapalai now sits on the edge of the extensive Ligitan Reefs, and as many would say, is now the island itself.
Once on the wooden board walk, explore the area as board walks connect sections of the floating resort. A unique environment it definitely is as it is panoramic views all around. From the board walk above, look down into the clear azure blue and spot schools of tropical fishes glide by unsuspected. It is said that there are no mosquitoes at Kapalai due the lack to land, therefore bug bites are the least of anyone’s concern.
Home to an abundance of premier macro marine life form, ranging from the usual suspects to exotic and even mysterious little critters, Kapalai offers great diving spots amongst it reef. The many dives sites are all located at extreme proximity to each other, with exciting names such as Stingray City, Eel Garden, Sui Sui Point and many more among its 20 or so dive sites.
Popular among honeymooner and as a superb location for weddings, Kapalai Dive Resort is the only standing structure in the sand bed island of Kapalai. Built on wooden stilts over the sandbanks of the Ligitan Reef, all 59 chalets are accessible and linked by wooden walkways. Each chalet is made from the finest wood that radiates warmth and comfort in the cool island breeze as the sea view veranda welcomes the first light of day and puts on a spectacular show during sunsets. Outside the chalet, through the wooden walkways a large communal western sun deck is great for sun bathing or simple leisure time for those not out in the water and as a rest spot for those who are.