A complete guide to visiting Bohey Dulang Island on an island-hopping day trip to the Tun Sakaran Marine Park from Semporna. Includes tips on the viewpoint hike & what to expect
If there’s one thing you add to your Sabah itinerary, it must be a trip to the incredible Bohey Dulang Island. And, by far, the best way to visit Bohey Dulang and the other Semporna Islands is to take a Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trip from Semporna harbor.
Like many of you, the Bohey Dulang viewpoint hike was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Semporna and the surrounding islands. However, when I was planning my trip, I found that there wasn’t much reliable information online about how to get here, or what to expect.
For that reason, I’ve written this comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your time in this incredible part of Malaysian Borneo.
- Quick Answer: How to Visit Bohey Dulang Island
- Independent Option: How To Get to Tun Sakaran Marine Park
- What to Expect on an Island Hopping Trip from Semporna
- Visiting Bohey Dulang Island
- Hiking to Bohey Dulang Viewpoint
- My Experience Hiking on Bohey Dulang
- Next Stop: Mantabuan Island
- Visiting Sibuan Island
- Back to Semporna – Where to Stay
- More Photos of My Tun Sakaran Marine Park Island Hopping Trip
- More Sabah Travel & Adventure Guides
Quick Answer: How to Visit Bohey Dulang Island
The easiest way to visit Bohey Dulang Island and experience the panoramic view over the reef-lined jungle islands of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park is to book an island hopping trip from Semporna.
Once you arrive at Semporna, drop your bags at your accommodation and head to the public boat jetty to jump aboard a trip. If you're set on hiking to the epic Bohey Dulang viewpoint (a must), then I recommend booking this island hopping trip in advance to secure a spot.
Independent Option: How To Get to Tun Sakaran Marine Park
For budget travelers or backpackers looking to arrange their travel plans in Sabah independently, there are other options to the marine park. However, getting to the Tun Sakaran Marine Park requires travelers to make their way to Semporna, a city located off the east coast of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.
Semporna is an old fishing settlement that has gained popularity with tourists for being the gateway to the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, or Semporna Islands Park, as it's also known.
First: How to Get to Semporna
You'll have two primary options for getting to Semporna, take a 12-hour bus or a plane to Tawau and then a minibus or taxi to Semporna.
Getting to Semporna by Flying
Surprisingly, flying to Semporna from Kota Kinabalu is extremely affordable. I usually stick to budget travel options, so I overlooked flying to Semporna. Air Asia has standard flights from KK to Tawau daily starting at only $18. However, you'll need to pay for a Grab car to Semporna (80 Ringgit) or find a shared minivan at the airport.
Note it's also possible to fly from other parts of Asia including Kuala Lumpur straight to Tawau.
You can compare flights directly to Semporna using Sky Scanner.
Getting to Semporna by Bus
The more popular option for budget travelers visiting more parts of Sabah is to take the overland bus. From Kota Kinabalu, there is a morning and night bus from Inanam station departing at 7:30 am and 7:30 pm for 75 Ringgit per person.
If you're coming to Semporna to visit Bohey Dulang on a Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trip from Sandakan, Sepilok or the Kinabatangan River, then you can also hail a bus from the main road. Depending on where you get on, expect to pay around 45 Ringgit for this bus trip. It's best to ask your accommodation for help with getting the bus to Semporna from these places.
Something to know: Although the marine park hosts incredible marine biodiversity and beautiful islands like Bohey Dulang, it's unfortunately gained a reputation for being the dirtiest city in Sabah. There have also been historic issues of kidnapping cases in and around the city by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group. However, this is now well under control by the Malaysian military, which now has a substantial presence in the region.
Booking a Bohey Dulang Island Hopping Trip in Semporna
From Semporna, you'll have a few options for booking an island hopping trip to Bohey Dulang island. You'll most likely see a few of these trips advertised in the city and most probably also by your accommodation.
Generally, these trips depart early in the morning from the Semporna Public Jetty, between 7:30 and 9:00 am, and typically return at 5 pm.
I saw these Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trips advertised anywhere between 110 Ringgit and 250 ringgit per person. There's also a wide disparity in price between Malaysian and Non-Malaysians, even though the marine park entrance fee difference is not that great.
If you want to join in on a shared trip, then I'd recommend going to the Semporna Public Jetty and booking directly there, or booking with your hotel if they offer competitive prices. After a bit of bargaining, we paid 110 Ringgit per person for the "A Package", including a stop at Bohey Dulang, Mantabuan Island, and Sibuan Island.
This was inclusive of all fees and lunch.
Semporna Island Hopping Cost & Where to Book
Since there are so many islands in Semporna and the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, you'll also notice that there are a few different island hopping day trips to choose from. Here's a rundown of the typical tours that you'll find.
Island Hopping Day Trip A
- Bohey Dulang Island
- Mantabuan Island
- Sibuan Island
Island Hopping Day Trip B
- Pom Pom Island
- Mataking Island
- Timba Timba
Since a Bohey Dulang day trip was my number one priority in Semporna, I chose Package A. If you're interested in the second option, you can read this blog highlighting the second option to Pom Pom Island, Mataking Island, and Timba Timba.
Private Trip Option
If you're in a larger group, then I'd recommend booking a private boat. This will give you more flexibility for time and islands. You can save time and haggling by booking this private boat trip online complete with eTicket.
If you're only interested in a boat to Bohey Dulang, then you can also negotiate this with the guys at the jetty.
Tun Sakaran Marine Park Entrance Fee
Besides the fee for the Bohey Dulang day trip fees, you'll have to pay the Tun Sakaran Marine Park entrance fee. For Non-Malaysian Nationals, this entrance fee costs 10 Ringgit per person per day, while Malaysian Nationals pay 8 Ringgit.
Below are the updated marine park fees from the Sabah Parks website. Remember to ask if this is included when you book.
|Malaysian National 18+|
Malaysian National Under 18
|8 Ringgit Per Person|
5 Ringgit Per Child
|Non-Malaysian National 18+|
Non-Malaysian Under 18
|20 Ringgit Per Person|
12 Ringgit Per Child
What to Expect on an Island Hopping Trip from Semporna
Here's an outline of what you might expect on this epic island hopping trip in Semporna to Bohey Dulang, Mantabuan Island, and Sibuan Island.
Visiting Bohey Dulang Island
The first stop on the Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping tour is to Bohey Dulang. Due to the epic mountain and coral landscapes from the summit, this has become one of the most famous viewpoint hikes in Sabah.
Every boat to Bohey Dulang arrives at the same jetty, which leads to the beach and the start of the viewpoint hike.
Hiking to Bohey Dulang Viewpoint
By now, you'll know that the viewpoint hike on Bohey Dulang is the clear island highlight. The hike follows a steep incline and rewards you with a tremendous view of the croissant-shaped island and patches of shallow reef scattered throughout the marine park.
Bohey Dulang Height: The total height of the Bohey Dulang viewpoint is 265 meters. However, the tallest peak on Bohey Dulang is 353 meters.
Hike Difficulty: Since the hike is fairly steep, you'll need a reasonable level of fitness. However, the path is well maintained and has wooden stair structures for many parts, so it should be fairly easy for most people.
Total hike time: The total hike distance is 600 meters. Expect about 30-40 minutes to reach the top.
Bohey Dulang Climbing Fee
There is no specific entrance fee to Bohey Dulang since the conservation fee is covered by the Tun Sakaran Marine Park entrance fee.
However, your boat driver or guide will register your names with the island authorities. If you get a private boat to Bohey Dulang, you'll need to organize the conservation fee in advance.
Additionally, an updated fee schedule for 2023 is that there is now a fee that you must pay if you want to do the Bohey Dulang viewpoint hike. This is an additional 50 Ringgit for foreigners, and 20 Ringgit for Malaysian nationals.
My Experience Hiking on Bohey Dulang
When you're planning a Bohey Dulang day trip or Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping, I'd recommend to avoid booking following heavy rainfall, if possible. When I visited, I was told that the track was closed because of the rain the previous night.
Although the path was blocked by gates and fences, I was luckily able to sneak around the trail by jumping over the wooden dock and running up to the start of the trail. I definitely wouldn't recommend doing this, as it's best to respect the park authorities. But, since I'm a fairly experienced hiker, there was no way I was going to miss the viewpoint due to a little rain (the path was completely dry and safe anyway...).
Let me tell you now that the viewpoint definitely lived up to, and gracefully exceeded the hype!
The trail was well-maintained and it looked like there were recent maintenance work done. The trail crisscrossed up through the jungle, with clear markings and stepped boards to help make the path smoother.
View from the Bohey Dulang Viewpoint
Once I reached the top, I was blown away by the magnificent views. Bohey Dulang viewpoint is truly one of the most spectacular scenes I've ever witnessed.
From the Bohey Dulang viewpoint, you can see panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the crystal-clear waters of the Celebes Sea. The view encompasses the lush green hills and the stunning turquoise-blue waters of the lagoon below, creating a picturesque scene. At an elevation of 353 meters, this is the perfect vantage point to take in the stunning beauty of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
As the sun shimmered through the crystal-clear waters, it cast a radiant light on the mesmerizing turquoise reefs below, which gradually transitioned to a deep blue shade as they reached the coral shelves. The verdant green islands emerged from the ocean's depths, resembling a breathtaking scene straight out of Jurassic Park.
Bohey Dulang Beach
Other than the viewpoint hike, you can also spend time on the beach just near the jetty. However, since you'll have limited time on an island-hopping trip, I'd recommend doing the hike instead.
If you organize a private tour you can request a full Bohey Dulang day trip exploring and snorkeling on the different beaches around the island.
Next Stop: Mantabuan Island
The next stop was Mantabuan Island. This is a small sandbar island surrounded by some of the clearest water that I've ever seen. The island is home to a small population of sea gypsies and also a large military complex.
Mantabuan Island is an OK snorkeling site, but I found that exploring the island itself was a better way to spend our time there. This second stop is also where our trip ate our free lunch.
Since it's a heavily patrolled military area, there are "No Drone" signs everywhere. Although I was seriously tempted to check out this incredible island from the sky, I wasn't going to push my luck.
Visiting Sibuan Island
The last stop on this epic marine park island hopping trip is Sibuan Island. But before we made it, our captain stopped briefly to allow us to jump in and snorkel at a shallow reef for about 30 minutes.
Sibuan Island is a little larger than Mantabuan, but still quite small. Similarly, there are a few local residents, a military tower, palm-lined white sand beaches, and a thin jungle interior.
We spent our time exploring Sibuan Island both on land and in the water. Our boat driver took us out to the slope on Sibuan for us to see turtles and many tropical fish. In my opinion, Sibuan Island was the best snorkeling spot on the trip.
Following a brief stop at Sibuan Island, it was time to turn back and drive back to Semporna Harbor and grab some local food at the bustling markets.
Don't Miss...Mabul Island Near Semporna
Back to Semporna - Where to Stay
Sabah's southern coastal city isn't exactly a top pick for the most beautiful places to visit. However, it does serve as the perfect base to launch into amazing islands nearby. Luckily, there are a few great places to stay which makes the experience much better.
- SeaCoral Water Chalet - stay in your own over-water bungalow reaching out over the sea.
- Timba Garden - top mid-range accommodation pick with beautiful queen rooms and garden views. Offers free town and jetty transport.
- Ozzy Lodge - Close to the harbor but far enough to still be clean and less chaotic. Super friendly owner who can organize cheap island-hopping trips.
More Photos of My Tun Sakaran Marine Park Island Hopping Trip
Here are some more photos of the island hopping trip from Semporna!
More Sabah Travel & Adventure Guides
I hope that this comprehensive guide to visiting Bohey Dulang and the other islands in the Tun Sukaran Marine Park has inspired you to get out and explore this amazing region.
After you experience the island viewpoint hike, make sure to check out some of my other guides below for more inspiration!