Most people visit the Semporna Archipelago for the world-renowned Sipadan Island, brought to fame by the French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau in 1989. After three months of diving around the area he said, “I have seen other places like Sipadan forty-five years ago, but now no more. Now we have found an untouched piece of art.” Located in the Coral Triangle – a region recognized as a global center of marine biodiversity – it has become a haven for serious divers, and regularly voted as one of the top dive spots in the world.
While Sipadan tends to be the main draw, the Semporna Archipelago has a lot to offer for non-divers. The Tun Sakaran Marine Park, also known as Semporna Islands Park, is a cluster of islands, sand cays, and patch reefs where you can find refuge on beautiful white sand beaches, go snorkeling in little bays and lagoons, and hike up to the top of Bohey Dulang for sweeping views of the archipelago. The marine park is also the best area to learn about the plight of the marginalized Bajau Laut, a fascinating community of sea gypsies surviving entirely off of marine resources.