Day 19, Sat, 15 November 2014
Coming to Semporna from Sandakan after getting in touch with nature for a 2D1N Wildlife Nature in Kinabatangan River with Mr Aji Expedition, today is another trip I have been looking forward to. That is to explore Islands after islands of Tun Sakaran Marine Park for snorkeling and a little hike. So I signed up for a full day of Island Hopping to 4 Islands from Sipadan Dive Centre Semporna which is just a few distance away from the hostel I stayed in. And the best part is, my bunkmate happens to book the same activity from the same place.
We were asked to meet at the Centre by 8.30 am. Do note that the boat will leave by 9 am or before once everyone has gather and all snorkeling gears are ready. This is the time to try on the fins especially if you have small cute feet like mine which only fit a kids size fin. Or if you have a bigger feet that requires a bigger fin. Also, try on the goggles like I did as again, I needed a kids size.
Once everything is ready, time to get to the boat which takes less than 5 minutes walk as it is conveniently docked near Sipadan Dive Centre. We were greeted by Mr Blackhorse, our driver and his assistant, Joe. One of the staff, Fatima, was also there to be dropped off at the nearby Island.
Safety First with Sipadan Dive Centre Semporna
One great thing I like about Sipadan Dive Centre Semporna is that they make sure all of us put on our safety vest before boating off. And this was the time Mr Black horse introduce Joe and himself to us. 2 minutes before 9 am, we are already off to the first Island. The boat is clean and comfortable.
Looking up at the weather, I could only smile as we were blessed with great blue sky. This 4 Island Hopping Package includes the following Islands:
Mantabuan Island is home to 2 Bajau (Sea Gypsy) family and is a great place for snorkeling especially if you swim a little further away from the shore. Even before you reached the shore, you will be welcomed with glistening water which seems to be luring you to get in. Back in 2014, there are so many starfish in brown and blue color that can be found here in the Island. Don’t be surprised if you see military base here. Read Mantabuan Island for more info and photos.
Of all the 4 Islands, Bohey Dulang is the only place you would be able to hike up 600 m to get a gorgeous view of the Celebes Sea. Other activities includes snorkeling and exploring around the Island. Read more about Bohey Dulang here.
Having known as one of the best Island in the Celebes Sea, this is the best place to go for diving or snorkeling. It’s pristine clear water opens up to wonderful corals and reefs in the sea. The sea is also home to blue starfish which can be found lying around almost everywhere in the sea bed or in between corals or reefs. Read more about Sibuan Island here.
4. Maiga Island
Our last stop is one where I get to mingle with the friendly kids and adults while drinking coconuts. Maiga Island is home to a few Sea Gypsy families who welcomes you with great smiles. Snorkeling around this Island is great too. Read more about Maiga Island here.
Should I book my tour in advance?
If you are wondering whether you should book your tour in advance, I would say nope. It’s not necessary to book in advance if you are in small groups. But if you have a big group of 8 and above, then you might want to consider booking in advance. Otherwise, you can easily visit the Centre to do your booking personally. Besides, who knows, if you haggle it right and gets lucky, you may get the best price. There are about 2 – 3 other tour agency where you can compare with.
If you would like to book with Sipadan Dive Centre in Semporna, they are open from 7 am onwards. You can find them next to Big John Scuba at: Sipadan Dive Centre Map
Pekan Semporna, 91308 Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia
You would have to walk further across to the other side via Jalan Kastam to get to the place.
Price of 4 Island Hopping
In 2014, most tour companies offer a 4 Island Hopping trip between RM 150 – RM 200 inclusive of lunch and all snorkeling gears. So I advise you to shop around and compare the packages first before making a decision.
Other than the above mentioned Islands, you may want to consider Mataking Islands which usually includes Pom Pom and Timba Timba Islands. Mabul is another famous location for diving and snorkeling which you can consider.
Here’s a video of my 1 day of Island Hopping in Semporna. Kindly note that as a nervous swimmer, I did not swim further away like the others. So what I see may be just 1/4 of what there is to offer. So take it as an opening to entice you to come here atleast once in your lifetime. I hope you love the video as much as I’ve enjoyed piecing it together for you!