On the southeast coast of Sabah around Semporna there are a multitude of islands. Most of these islands have beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear, turquoise sea waters. Most islands offer good to very good diving, and Sipadan is a world-class diving site. A few of these islands are inhabited by the Bajau, sea gipsies from the Sulu sea. Only a few of these islands offer Accommodation: Mabul (the access point to Sipadan), Mataking, Pom Pom and a few others. Accommodation is usually of the high-end resort type, with only Mabul offering budget-level Accommodation. To access these islands tourists either book packages through tour operators or take daytrips offered by diving operators in Semporna, which is the access gateway to these islands.
To go to Sipadan, regardless whether it's snorkelling or diving, a permit is needed. In practice, the only way to go there is with a package offered by one of the dive operators in Semporna and this won't be cheap. Places are limited and this drives up prices. Otherwise, dive shops usually arrange day trips to the islands and these cost RM 140 for snorkellers in 2012 (vs. RM 100 at the end of 2008, i.e. prices increased substantially in the past years). Such a daytrip used to include the meal and the snorkelling equipment.
Mataking photo gallery  - 37 pictures of Mataking
Mabul photo gallery  - 31 pictures of Mabul
Sibuan photo gallery  - 51 pictures of Sibuan
37 photos of Mataking, a long and narrow tropical island with white coral sand beaches lying to the south of Sabah
31 photos of the island of Mabul in the south Celebes sea, an ideal basis for scuba diving
51 photos of Sibuan, a beautiful island in the Celebes sea south of Sabah (Malaysia)
Bodgaya photo gallery  - 7 pictures of Bodgaya
Bohey Dulang photo gallery  - 13 pictures of Bohey Dulang
Pom Pom photo gallery  - 29 pictures of Pom Pom
7 photos of the island of Bodgaya, one of the larger islands of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park
13 photos of Bohey Dulang, an island of volcanic origin in the Sulu sea off Semporna
29 photos of Pom Pom, a small island with white coral sand beaches in the Celebes sea, not far from Semporna
Maiga photo gallery  - 23 pictures of Maiga
23 photos of Maiga, a small sandy island populated by Bajau people in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park
Gallery with all images
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Related travelogues
  • Malaysia 2012: a brief trip to the islands off Semporna in Sabah, famous for the marine life around them and their beautiful beaches, and KL
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