Island Hopping in Semporna: Gusungan, Mabul & Kapalai

Though the post title indicates that we went to three places, you’ll read and see photos of Mabul more than the other two places since we spent the majority of our time there.

Gusungan Island & Kapalai

Gusungan Island is basically just a small island with only two or three trees and inhabit by the Sea Gypsies. While Kapalai is actually a resort where you’re not allow to enter unless you’re staying there (that’s what we were told by the boatman/guide). You’re only allow to snorkel around the resort area and from what I heard Kapalai is where you can see more turtles. However, due to strong current we didn’t see any turtle in Kapalai though. We were only there for about 30 minutes I guess.

Mabul Island

Mabul is just as beautiful as you imagined it to be.  I fell in love with the island the moment I set my eyes on it. A love at a first sight! It took my breath away with its crystal clear water and by far the bluest sea I’ve ever seen. You need to see it yourself! We were literally ‘wowwing’ the whole time we were there. There’s a bungalow resort where you can walk around freely while you’re there. But I’m sure the cost to stay there will definitely make a hole in your pocket. But it’s a nice place to explore.

And while you’re there, you must go snorkeling. Or diving. It was a great experience to see the turtles, the corals, the fishes and the the starfish. Ahh, I can still remember all the details clearly. If you don’t know how to swim and afraid of water like me, it’s time to challenge yourself. I had no single regret and definitely will do it again.

After Kapalai, we went back to Mabul. This time we didn’t snorkel. Instead, we went around the island. Which was also my favourite part of this trip. If you come to Mabul you should not miss out on exploring the island and see the life of the people there. My friend said to me that seeing people who live life different than the life we used to was an eye opening. She was right. These people were happy people despite their living conditions. I was truly humbled by this experience.

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Gusungan Island

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Till next post 🙂

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Island Hopping in Semporna: Sibuan & Bohey Dulang

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Tun Sakaran Marine Park was gazetted in 2004 as Sabah’s seventh park. It consists of eight islands. Pulau Bodgaya, Boheydulang, Tetagan, Selakan, Sebangkat, Maiga, Sibuan and Mantabuan.  This marine park presented one of the best view in the world.  With that in mind, I was so eager to go for an island hopping in Semporna so when my friends agreed to go I was thrilled.

We started our journey from Tawau to Semporna at around 6.30 am and reached our destination at around 7.30am. Our boat set off from the Jeti Awam at 8.30am. We were supposed to go to three islands. Sibuan, Mantabuan and Bohey Dulang. However, due to low tide the boat couldn’t get to Mantabuan. So we only went to Sibuan and Bohey Dulang. At first, we were to hike Bohey Dulang but due to the heavy rain early in the morning we were told that we’re going for snorkeling first in Sibuan island.

Sibuan Island

This island was our snorkeling destination. We paid RM15.00 for a set of snorkeling equipment. Because of the strong current we were told to not go farther into the sea. I was frustrated as I didn’t get to see much. There were only few fishes and that was that. I didn’t see any coral though. From what we were told, we need to get farther to see the corals. However, the stunning view made up for my disappointment.

One thing I noticed beside the  beautiful beach with white sand was the rubbish there. I was disturbed by the fact that people came to the island and left their rubbish behind. If you can’t make the commitment to take care of the place you visited then you better stay at home. Let’s be a more responsible visitor. Take care of our nature.

If you don’t know, Sibuan island is the most photograph island after Sipadan. Can you imagine what will happen to the beach if we don’t take good care of its environment?

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Semporna’s Jetty

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The weather was gloomy the whole time we were there

Bohey Dulang Island

Like I mentioned earlier, we were supposed to go to Mantabuan but because of low tide we couldn’t get in. We then went to the next island, Bohey Dulang. Usually people go to Bohey Dulang for a hike. The hike to the peak is 600M and the trail is quite challenging for some people. But the view you get once you reached the viewpoint is so worth it and you’ll thank yourself for not giving up halfway 🙂 The hike took me around 30 minutes.

While up there, I was so hungry and kept on thinking about the lunch we packed for this trip. Luckily we packed ourselves some lunch if not we would have to wait till we get to the main land to fill our hungry stomach. Some tour provide lunch but if you’re like us then you definitely have to bring some food and water.

You can read details about Bohey Dulang HERE

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The breathtaking view from the peak of Bohey Dulang

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Hiking in Bohey Dulang and seeing the colour of the ocean during the boat ride were the highlights of this trip for me. We even saw turtles swimming freely in the ocean.

If you really want to go to these islands, you should definitely go.


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Let’s look at our cost as I’m sure this is a frequently asked question.

There are so many boat operator you can find on the internet. Do a comparison and pick the one that suits your budget or preferences.

Our cost per person are as shown below:

COST

Boat:

RM550/ 10 = RM55

Other fees:

Conservation = RM3

Jetty = RM 2

Snorkeling = RM15

Gas = RM10 each

Total budget per person= RM85

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Till my next post!

Have a good day 🙂

Road Trip: Bukit Tengkorak, Semporna

On our way to Semporna I took out my camera to record a video but then I realised that I forgot the battery!
You don’t know how frustrated I was by the fact that I charged the battery the night before and yet I still forgot about it. Even though my friends have a camera and iphone it still didn’t make me feel any better. Personally, I love taking my own photos because I wanted to see the places we went to through my own lens. And when I scan through my friends’ photos I can see different different angles. It really tells our own perspectives and personality. Anyone else feel that way?
I guess this incident forced me to practice ‘yoga’ off the mat. I forgot the battery. So what? I have my phone. And besides it’s not the photos that matter. It’s the experience. The sense of adventure. These things cannot be captured even by the most expensive camera you could have. I’m glad that I didn’t let this tiny matter got the best of me.
Let’s put that aside and get on with my main point which is our trip to Bukit Tengkorak in Semporna. So here’s an excerpt I got from HERE that I want to share so that you know what’s the hype about this place is all about.
 
“Bukit Tengkorak is a volcanic rock-shelter site and a part of volcano mouth of 2km in diameter. Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Site is the largest pottery making factory in Southeast Asia during the Neolithic period. The hill slopes are littered with numerous pottery shards with various patterns dating 3,000 BP. An ethno-archaeological study shows that pottery making is still practised by the Bajau of Semporna today.”
Few years back, I went to this place but didn’t get the chance to do the hiking. You can read about it HERE. I tell you, this place is truly beautiful! You have to see it with your own eyes to agree with me on this. My friends and I couldn’t stop wowwing (if that’s even a word) the whole time we were there.
The only thing that disturbed me when I was there was the vandalism happened around the place. I’m afraid that if the maintenance of the place is being neglected soon enough it will lose its charm. And that would be a great lost.
There’s a boardwalk provided for visitors but if you want to explore the place more you have to brave yourself to follow the trails less taken. But make sure you’re not alone. Especially if you’re a woman. My friends and I decided to follow an abandoned trails and it was truly the best decision ever. We found a beautiful spot to take photos.
This is the famous ‘Sleeping old man’. It comprises three islands which are Bohey Dulang, Tatagan and Gaya. When you see it with your own eyes you’ll know why the people of Semporna named it as the ‘Sleeping old man’ (because you can’t really sees it through photo). Legend has it that these islands were actually a family who didn’t want to be apart so they went to see a shaman to make them stay together as a family forever. The shaman then turned each of them into an island which is now known as Bohey Dulang, Tatagan and Gaya. However, scientifically these islands are in fact the rim of a huge volcano that erupted million years ago. Whatever the truth is, it’s always fun to learn something new.
The last hut where we had our lunch. Just like our previous road trip, we packed our own lunch to save money.
The beautiful spot. Again, you have to see it with your own eyes because this photo cannot do the justice on how breathtakingly beautiful the view is.
After exploring the hill, my friends and I spent some time at the gallery to learn about Bukit Tengkorak and its history. I love it that the place has enough information for visitors who are interested in learning about the hill.
Is this place worth visiting? Yes! Provided you spent some time to actually explore it and enjoy the beauty of its surrounding. It’s also a great place for family picnic. Besides you don’t have to pay to enter. Yes, it’s free of charge people! If you’re a history enthusiast you can learn about the hills and the archaeological aspects of the place at the information center/gallery. If you come to Semporna this place should be included in your itinerary. I guess that’s about it. Hope y’all have a good day. Till then.
Sidenote:
I’m sure that most people are thinking about the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters when they think of Semporna. We haven’t gone island hopping yet. But it’s in our plan. I forecasted that next year would be pack with going here and there. Nothing is fixed yet as we want to take thing one step at a time and be flexible with our plans. Can’t wait to see where life take us to next! Fingers crossed for more adventure!