Sea-based Nomadic People & Boat Racing in Semporna

Semporna is located on the east coast of Sabah and is a gateway to exceptional diving and snorkeling sites around the nearby islands of Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking and Maiga. There has been growing interest in the dive sites of this region, including the now-protected Tun Sakaran Marine Park which consists of eight islands – and is the largest marine park in Sabah. Along with a fascinating history and local population of sea-based nomads, these dive sites have diversified the experiences on offer within the region. The majority of the population is Bajau, many of whom live in sprawling stilt villages over the water while the outskirts of town remain a base for the scuba diving community. Semporna is also known for the Regatta Lepa – traditional boat races which occur annually in April. Their unique Lepa Boat resembles the modern day’s catamaran vessels, with two adjoining legs for added stability when roughing the wild Celebes Sea. This is a wild, colorful and larger-than-life occasion not to be missed!

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