Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Semporna, the nature come alive


Semporna is a small town in the East Coast of Sabah. Semporna is a gateway to beautiful island in Sabah such as Mabul Underwater World, Pom Pom, Mataking Island, Kapalai Island and world ranked Sipadan Island. This town is known as an illustrious scuba diving and snorkelling spot.

Semporna town is mainly populated by the Bajau Laut ethnic community. They are ethnic whom many live in sprawling stilt villages above the water or inside the traditional Lepa boats thus they also known as the Sea Gypsies.

There is the Tun Sakaran Marine Park off the coast which also known as Semporna Islands Park that was gazetted by Sabah Parks in 2004.

Sources of Information:


Semporna is believed to be founded after the British North Borneo Company established Sandakan. The original name of Semporna is “Tong Talun”. The name Tong Talun is given by Panglima Uddang, Panglima Sallehangni and Panglima Sakti from the ethnic of Bajau Kubang. The name was given after the surrounding of the place which covered by forest when it first founded.

However, the name Tong Talun was then change to Semporna. The word “Semporna” bring the meaning of “place of rest” or peaceful place.

More history of Semporna please refer to beloow sources:


The main attraction of Semporna is the place contains of 5 top diving sites. Activities that can carry out here include scuba diving and oceanography. The five sites is Sipadan Island, Mabul Island, Kappalai Island, Mataking Island and Sibuan Island.

Sipadan Island is the most famous island not only in Sabah but throughout Malaysia. This island is rated as one of the world’s top ten dive destinations. This island is unique in its way that it is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. It also located in a geographical position in the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin which allows the island as the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world.

Mabul Island is one of the famous habitats of sea turtle. The underwater setting of Mabul Island is different with others where it is recognized as one of the world’s best muck-diving sites. It is also one of the riches seas in exotic small marine life and more unusual creatures like mimic octopus, mandarin fish, snake eels, juvenile batfish, frog fish and razor fish.

Kapalai Island is an island similar to Mabul Island. The only different is that Kapalai island is in a form of large sandbank. There are also few of diving site in this island and among that Manadrin valley is the most well-known site.

Mataking Island is an island surrounded by fringing reef of hard and soft corals. This island is inhabited by exclusive species of corals such as staghorn and brain. This island is also another famous island for sea turtle habitats.

Sibuan Island is an island famed because of its beauty where its untouched magnificence. The water here on the island is crystal clear and it allowed a very clear vision of the water depths. Coral and fishes will glimmer and flicker when watches from above the sea.

For more information of the island attractions, please refer to its source:

Besides the islands, Semporna is also well-known for the Tun Sakaran Marine Park. TSMP sometimes known as Semporna Island and it consists of eight islands include Bohey Dulang, Bodgaya, Sebangkat, Selakan, Mantabuan, Sibuan, Maiga, Church Reef and Kapikan Reef. It is the largest marine park in Sabah and it has the largest concentration of coral reefs in Malaysia.

TSMP is a place that has lots of biodiversity of species and habitats. Total species recorded in TSMP includes 544 species of coral reef fish, 255 species of hard coral, 70 species of soft coral, 2140 species of mollusc and 109 species echinoderms.

Please refer the source for more information:

Personal Experience

I did go to Semporna however; I only stay mainly in Semporna Town. I haven’t had the chance to visit any island in Semporna yet. Semporna town is a smaller town compared to in Tawau. It only have few buildings and it is a really small area.

When I first reached Semporna, I visited the Semporna Ocean Tourism Centre which is in the town. There, we can have information of the town and have view of the clear sea.

Semporna Ocean Tourism Centre

Along the way, we can see the natural habitat below our ways.Located in the tourism centre is a live aquarium of fish. By purchasing an entering ticket, we could enter the aquarium. The aquarium is an area that enclose with woods and wire-netting and we view marine life from above the sea. It’s a 100% natural habitat of the marine life.

Overview of Semporna Ocean Tourism Centre

Live aquarium at Semporna Ocean Tourism Centre
Leisure posting in front of Semporna Ocean Tourism Resort Centre

Beside the tourism centre, I visited the Bukit Tengkorak and the Semporna Museum below the hill. Bukit Tengkorak is an archaeological site that located at south of Semporna town. The hill is about 600 feet above sea level. Along the hill there are staircase that allowed us to climb to the top of the hill. It does not require much stamina to do so and anyone should be able to reach the top. On the top of the hill, the significant view of beautiful nature can be seen.

Staircase to the top of Tengkorak Hills
To be honest, that is the most beautiful scene I have seen in Malaysia so far. View is just so amazing such as greenish of the hill area, the crystal blue of the sea and the view of the town. We can have different view from different angle and given us different feeling.

View at Tengkorak Hill

View of Tengkorak Hill
View at Tengkorak Hill

It is fun to climb up the hill with friend and enjoy the laughter together. When reach the top of the hill, never forget to take a nice picture with friend as it really is a memorable experience and it is just hard to forget the beautiful scene above the hill.

Enjoying at the top of Tengkorak Hill

Below the hill located the museum. The museum is built by woods and have a beautiful structure. However when I visited there, the museum is still in construction and have not open to public yet.

Semporna Museum 
When people think of Semporna, it is sure to link it with the cheap and fresh seafood over here. The seafood is in such big variety and the price is almost half from the city where we around 16 people eaten only about RM100+ where it can reach RM300+ in big cities. The freshness of the seafood is also proven to be a lot better than those in cities.

Semporna is such a place where it is so close to nature and far from pollutant. Although it is a small place, it enables us to relax and get away from the busy life of cities. When I have a view to its beautiful sea, I feel so calm that I came to forgotten all of my problems. By visiting Semporna, I found the hidden power of the nature that can heal us inside out.

To have more information of Bukit Tengkorak, feel free to read the article:

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