SABAH East Malaysia / Borneo TOURIST ATTRACTION Semporna : Sabah East Coast
THE TOWN WITH ITS FEET IN THE SEA
In the Bajau and Malay language, “semporna” literally means, “perfect” The town with its feet in the sea, Semporna and its many islands are like a dream come true... pure white sandy beaches, coconut palms and tranquil waters lapping over colourful reefs in the beautiful turquoise waters of the Sulawesi Sea. The richness of the sea, fishes of all kinds, sea cucumbers, shells, pearls and in recent years, seaweed farming - all these have attracted seafarers and fisher-folks to Semporna and its islands. The early Bajau people lived their entire lives aboard their boats. Today, most live along the coasts, perched on stilts over shallow reefs, where they continue their love affair with the sea. Semporna is the departure point to the world’s best dive sites and island-resorts of Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai THE WORLD'S TOP DIVE SITES! THE ISLANDS OFF SEMPORNA Pulau Bohey Dulang, a volcanic island near Sipadan Every April, Semporna celebrates with a Regatta Lepa. Thousands sail into town in all kinds of boats including the gaily-decorated lepa and jungkong, their traditional boats, to compete for prizes. Arrangements can be made to explore the islands off Semporna to visit water-villages and seaweed farms, swim and snorkel. The Semporna people also boast, they have the best seafood in all of Malaysia, the freshest and least expensive! PULAU MABUL ISLAND
World's best "muck diving" sites. Situated only about 15 minutes by speedboat from Sipadan, Mabul is recognised as one of the world’s best “muck-diving” sites, one of the richest single destinations for exotic small marine life in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, gobies and frogfishes are everywhere, as are moray, snake eels and practically the whole scorpion fish family. There’s no doubt about it, Mabul is a magical macro site! The beauty of Mabul and Kapalai will also appeal greatly to non-divers as well. There are two resorts on Mabul Island with the third resort an off-shore refurbished oil-rig.
Mabul is a small oval shaped island fringed by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200-hectare reef. The reef is on the edge of the continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 25–30m deep.
Mabul is also renowned for its amazing array of macrolife, making it an underwater photographer’s dream location to capture some of the rarest ecological species on film. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, spike-fin gobies, frogfish and moray eels are just some of the spectacular critters you will encounter beneath the waters of Mabul.
Although all the excitement is underwater, you can always set your scuba gear aside for a day to laze on Mabul’s soft sand to work on your tan.
Getting There: From Kota Kinabalu, take a 55-minute flight to Tawau and enjoy an hour’s drive to Semporna. From here, Mabul is another 45 minutes by speedboat. Be sure to pre-arrange transportation with your respective resort/dive operator. Click the image to enlarge
PULAU SIPADAN ISLAND
Rated as the world's top dive sites. Rated as the world’s top dive sites. For the true diving enthusiast, the island needs no introduction. Praised by the internationally renowned oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau as one of the best diving spots in the world, it is unique as the only oceanic island in Malaysia. Its geographic position puts Sipadan in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin. Sipadan rises 600 m. from the seabed to provide spectacular wall dives and underwater garden. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this richest of ecosystem. Sipadan is also renowned for its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles, which gather there to mate and nest. It is not unusual to see more than 20 turtles on each dive. Another unique feature to divers is the turtle tomb that contains many skeletal remains of turtles. The residential schooling barracuda and big-eye trevally are one of the highlights on every diver’s Wish-list, which often gather in thousands forming spectacular tornado-like formations. Mantas, eagle-rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks may also he seen, as well as an abundance of macro life. For sustainable and conservation purpose, there will be no onsite dive resorts operating on Sipadan island. Diving activity will continue for divers to be ferried in by operators operating from the mainland or nearby islands other than the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan. Where to Stay: The Malaysian government has decided that all existing onsite dive resort operators were to move their operations out of the Sipadan Island by 31st December 2004. The move is aimed at conserving and maintaining a balanced marine and land ecosystem on Sipadan’s environments. However, Sipadan will remain as a dive site and divers are to be ferried by operators operating from the mainland or nearby islands other than Sipadan and Ligitan. Getting There: From Kota Kinabalu, take a 55-minute flight to Tawau and enjoy an hour’s drive to Semporna. From Semporna, Sipadan is another 40 minutes by speedboat. Be sure to pre-arrange transportation with your respective resort/dive operator. Click the image to enlarge PULAU KAPALAI ISLAND or KAPALAI REEF
World's best "muck diving" sites. , Kapalai sits on top of the Ligitan Reefs.. Together with Mabul and Langkayan, Kapalai offers some of the best muck-diving in the world. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, sea moths and mating mandarin fish, giant frogfish, ribbon eels, harlequin ghost pipefish and crab-eye gobies are found right by the jetty! While the abundance of other marine life like the various gobies, ambonian shrimps, mantis shrimps, crocodile fish, lionfish and scorpion fish, are usually almost ignored as being too common here! Actually a sand bar The mere name conjures the image of crystal clear waters and a floating paradise like no other. A 45-minute trip from Semporna by speedboat, Kapalai island is one of the many beautiful diving havens in this part of the world. However, Kapalai is truly unique because it is not quite an ‘island’. The sole resort is built water-village-style. The 40 chalets are built on high wooden stilts in the middle of the ocean. Visitors can enjoy the sights of marine life in action as they stroll along the boardwalk, a sturdy construction that connects the various sections of the floating resort. The resort has 40 chalets, equipped with basic amenities, including tea and coffee making facilities. You will never have to gripe about having a less than desirable view: you have a breathtaking view of the Celebes Sea no matter where you turn! The restaurant is a wooden deck, where diners can eat indoors or al fresco. There’s even a viewing area in the middle of the restaurant which allows you to see the myriad of marine life passing below. The sundeck, a popular favourite, is a great place to enjoy your novel, work on a tan or indulge in an afternoon siesta. The Dive Centre provides diving, snorkelling and kayaking gear for rent. Can’t dive but would love to? No problem! The centre offers a variety of PADI courses, including Open Water and Introduction to Night Diving. After enjoying your underwater paradise, explore other facilities offered by the resort including the souvenir shop, games room and broadband access. Getting There: The journey to from Tawau to Semporna by road takes approximately one hour. The transfer to Kapalai by speedboat takes about 40 minutes. Contact Pulau Sipadan Resort and Tours Sdn. Bhd. for more information on holiday and diving packages, which are inclusive of transfer arrangements. PULAU MATAKING ISLAND
Getaway for both the avid diver and non-diver With its sparkling white sand, mesmerizing blue waters and top-class resort, Mataking Island is the ideal getaway for both the avid diver and non-diver. Divers can gear up and explore the Eel Garden, Coral Garden, Nudibranch Garden, Turtle Playground, Lobsters Lair and Hump Head Point. Non-diving activities include a luxurious pampering experience at Jamu Spa, batik painting, kayaking, canoeing and jungle-trekking to name a few. A must-do during your time in Mataking is to take a leisurely walk to Pulau Mataking Kecil (literally meaning Small Mataking island) which is a 20-minute walk from the main island. The best time to take this walk is in the morning when the tides are low, allowing you to walk on a sandy stretch that leads directly to the smaller island. With the sea surrounding you on both sides, you will feel almost as if you are walking on water! When you arrive back on the main island, climb up the wooden observation tower to get a breathtaking view of Mataking and its surrounding areas. Catch a glimpse of Mataking's famous ‘Underwater Post Office', the first of its kind in Malaysia. In March 2006, the resort decided to sink Mataking 1, an old 40-foot wooden cargo ship to create an artificial reef and also to serve as a unique underwater mailbox. Divers seal their mail in a waterproof vacuum bag and post it underwater. Picturesque, equipped with excellent facilities and complemented with friendly service at all times, your stay at Mataking will never be long enough. Getting There: The journey to from Tawau to Semporna by road takes approximately one hour. The transfer to Mataking by speedboat takes about 45 minutes.
Semporna : Sabah East Coast TOURIST ATTRACTION SABAH East Malaysia / Borneo