Situated on the east coast of the State of Sabah, the once sleepy little fishing village of Semporna is now a bustling town. Thousands of divers pass through it as their gateway to the reefs of the now internationally famous Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Mabul.

As well as Pulau Sipadan, the Semporna region has three further groups of islands spread over a large area that are of interest to divers. The group to the north around Pulau Gaya, the outer group to the east around Pulau Pandanan and the Ligitan group to the south are all in shallow water on the continental shelf with beautiful corals and sandy patches. WWF and Sabah Parks' scientists completed detailed surveys in 1980 and 1987, finding the species diversity to be on a par with that of Australia's better known Great Barrier Reef.

Most of the islands in this region are flat and low-lying but 25km northeast of Semporna, Pulau Bohaydulong, Pulau Gaya and Pulau Tetagan are mountainous. They are part of a now flooded volcanic caldera with a high peak of 455m on Pulau Gaya.

The Ligitan group comprises Pulau Mabul, Pulau Kapalai and the Ligitan Reefs, which are very large reefs on the edge of the continental shelf. South of the continental Shelf, there is a trench more than 1000m deep before the sea floor rises again to 600m around Pulau Sipadan.

Although Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Mabul get all the attention, there are many other unexplored reefs here that are potentially just as exciting and deserve more attention from the diving fraternity.


Payar Marine Park | Pulau Jarak | Pulau Perhentian | Pulau Redang | Pulau Tenggol | Pulau Tioman | Johore MarinePark |
Louisa & Royal Charlotte Reefs | Pulau Layang Layang | Dallas & Ardasier Reefs | Erica & Mariveles Reefs |
Pulau Labuan | Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park | District of Semporna | Pulau Bohaydulong |
Pulau Pandanan | Pulau Mabul | Pulau Sipadan

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