On the southeast coast of Sabah around Semporna there are a multitude of islands. Most of these islands have beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear, turquoise sea waters. Most islands offer good to very good diving, and Sipadan is a world-class diving site. A few of these islands are inhabited by the Bajau, sea gipsies from the Sulu sea. Only a few of these islands offer accomodation: Mabul (the access point to Sipadan), Mataking, Pom Pom and a few others. Accomodation is usually of the high-end resort type, with only Mabul offering budget-level accomodation. To access these islands tourists either book packages through tour operators or take daytrips offered by diving operators in Semporna, which is the access gateway to these islands.
To go to Sipadan, regardless whether it's snorkelling or diving, a permit is needed. In practice, the only way to go there is with a package offered by one of the dive operators in Semporna and this won't be cheap. Places are limited and this drives up prices. Otherwise, dive shops usually arrange day trips to the islands and these cost RM 140 for snorkellers in 2012 (vs. RM 100 at the end of 2008, i.e. prices increased substantially in the past years). Such a daytrip used to include the meal and the snorkelling equipment.

01 Beach with coral rocks 02 Beach with coral rocks 03 Beach on Mataking Kecil 04 Sea, clouds and sky
05 Mataking Kecil island 06 Mataking Kecil island 07 Sandbar 08 Sandbar
09 Sea, clouds and sky 10 Tropical sea and clouds 11 Panoramic view towards the west 12 Beautiful white coral sand beach
13 Crystal clear seawater 14 Sandbar 15 Sandbar 16 Sandbar and sky
17 Sea, clouds and sky 18 Sandbar and sky 19 Sandbar at low tide 20 Tree on Mataking beach
21 Beach 22 Beach with coral rocks 23 Beach at southern end of Mataking at low tide 24 Beach at southern end of Mataking at low tide
25 Mataking Kecil beach at low tide 01 Mataking island and resort 02 Jetty
03 Mataking resort 04 Jetty and boat 05 Boat 06 Resort administration building
07 Resort bungalows 08 Beach with coconut trees 09 Coral rocks at low tide 10 Beach vegetation
11 Starfish 12 Starfish 01 Sabah coast 02 Island
03 Houses on stilts in fisherman village 04 Houses on stilts in fisherman village 05 House on stilts 06 Colourful boat
07 Houses on stilts in fisherman village 08 Palm trees and sky 09 House on stilts and beach 10 Beach and resort
11 Sipadan water village resort 12 Sipadan water village resort 13 Sipadan water village resort and beach 14 Sipadan water village resort and beach
15 Sipadan water village resort 16 Beach and Sipadan water village resort 17 Sipadan water village resort 18 Beach of Sipadan Mabul resort
19 Beach of Sipadan Mabul resort 20 Shallow seawater along northeast coast with corals 21 Panoramic view of Mabul 22 Shallow seawater along northeast coast with corals
23 Shallow seawater along northeast coast with corals 24 Sea Ventures hotel in former oil rig 25 Young girl running on beach 26 Flying sea eagle with white head 27 Sea eagle with white head
28 Sea eagles with white head 29 Sea eagles with white head 30 Moray eel 31 Mabul island 01 Side view of island
02 Beach and coconut trees 03 Beach and coconut trees 04 Beach and coconut trees 05 Beach and coconut trees
06 Beach and boat 07 Southern tip of island 08 Beach, boat, sea and sky 09 Beach, boat, sea and sky
10 Beach, boat, sea and sky 11 Western beach 12 Sand bar at southern end 13 Sea and coast of Sabah
14 Sea and coast of Sabah 15 Western beach 16 Sand bar at southern end 17 Sand bar at southern end
18 Sand bar at southern end 19 Sand bar at southern end 20 Side view of island
21 Sea and sky 22 Side view of island 23 Beach with coconut trees 24 Beach and coconut trees
25 Beach and coconut trees 26 Beach and coconut trees 27 Beach 28 Western beach 29 Western beach and northern tip of island
30 Southern tip of island 01 Houses on stilts 02 Houses on stilts 03 Houses on stilts
04 Houses on stilts and boats 05 Island village and coconut trees 06 Boat with fishing sea gipsies 07 Boat with fishing sea gipsies
08 Boat with fishing sea gipsies 09 Boat and island 10 Young girl on beach 01 Diving boats anchored along beach
02 Diving groups with instructors 03 Diving class with instructor 04 Divers in the sea 05 Divers in the sea 06 Diver preparing for back jump into sea
06 Divers in the sea 07 Divers in the sea 08 Divers in the sea 09 Diving instructor in wetsuit 11 Having a break on the boat
01 Bodgaya island 02 Bodgaya island 03 Panoramic view of Bodgaya island 04 Bodgaya island
05 Bodgaya island 06 Tetagan island 07 Bodgaya island 01 Bohey Dulang island
02 Plankway to Bohey Dulang island 03 Panoramic view with Bodgaya island 04 Coral reef 05 Jetty and administration buildings
06 Panoramic view from the island top 07 Beach and coral reef 08 Beach 09 Bohey Dulang island
10 Bay with crystal clear seawater 11 Bohey Dulang island 12 Bohey Dulang island 13 Coconut palms growing along coast
01 Pom Pom island 02 Pom Pom island 03 Speedboat on beach and tree trunk 04 Resort bungalows
05 Wooden pier 06 White coral sand beach 07 Panoramic view of beach
08 White coral sand beach 09 Crystal clear seawater 10 Tropical beach and tree trunk 11 Panoramic view of beach
12 Panoramic view of beach 13 White coral sand beach 14 Tree in the sea 15 Sea, sky and clouds
16 White coral sand beach 17 Pandanus tectorius beach vegetation 18 Pandanus tectorius fruit 19 Beautiful beach
20 Panoramic view of beach 21 Coral rocks at low tide 22 Coral rocks at low tide 23 Pandanus tectorius beach vegetation
24 Coral rocks at low tide 25 Dead tree on beach 26 Shallow sea waters 27 Panoramic view of beach
28 Coral rocks at low tide 29 Diving centre 01 Beach and huts 02 Maiga island
03 Stilt house settlement 04 Beach and huts 05 Beach and huts 06 Coconut palm 07 Palm leaves hut on beach
08 Palm leaves hut on beach 09 Chuldren running on the beach 10 Stilt houses in the shallow water 11 Stilt houses in the shallow water
12 Stilt houses and boat 13 Coconut palms in the centre of Maiga 14 Rubbish on the beach 15 Rubbish on the beach
16 Beach with coconut palm trees 17 Kate and the kids 18 Bajau sea gipsy boy 19 Bajau sea gipsy boy 20 Island kids
21 Kate and the kids 22 Kate and the kids 23 Kate and the kids
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