Semporna is a small town in the Tawau Division of Sabah. It is located at the tip of the Semporna Peninsula around Teluk Lahad Datu (formerly Darvel Bay), and is the base for trips to world-renowned diving sites such as Sipadan and Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
Semporna was founded by the British North Borneo Company shortly after the establishment of Sandakan around the mid-1880's. The name "Semporna" means "place of rest" in the Bajau language.
Apart from the town centre, which is predominantly Chinese, the majority of the people in Semporna are Bajaus who still live on stilt villages over the water at the edge of town.
The most common and practical way to reach Semporna is to take a flight to Tawau, and from there, catch a bus to Semporna. A taxi ride from Tawau to Semporna will cost you RM100.
Festivities in Semporna
Pesta Lepa Lepa is a Bajau festival that happens in Semporna every April. The name "lepa-lepa" means "boat" in the Bajau language. This festival includes water sports and beauty pagents. The Regatta Lepa is a sailing competition that includes best-decorated boat, dance performances on boat, sails (called sambulayang) and buntings (called tapis-tapis).