Wondering about a Bohey Dulang day trip? By far, the best way to visit Bohey Dulang and the 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 a Bohey Dulang day trip or a Tun Sakran Marine Park island hopping trip.
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.
How To Get to Tun Sakaran Marine Park
Getting to the Tun Sakaran Marine Park requires travelers to make their way to Semporna, a city located off on 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.
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.
VISITING KOTA KINABALU? READ THE KINABALU PARK TRAIL GUIDE
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 and to do a Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trip from Sandakan, Sepilok or the Kinabatangan River, then you can also hail down 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 on getting the bus to Semporna from these places.
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 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 have a substantial presence in the region.
HEADING TO MABUL? READ THE BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE TO MABUL ISLAND
Tun Sakaran Marine Park Island Hopping
From Semporna, you’ll have a few options for a Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trip. 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.
SABAH TRAVEL GUIDE: SABAH ITINERARY 7 DAYS – THINGS TO DO IN SABAH BORNEO
Semporna Island Hopping Cost – Where to Book
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 Tun Sakaran Marine Park island hopping trip, 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.
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 2019
Besides the fee for the Bohey Dulang day trip or Semporna Island hopping trip itself, you’ll have to pay the Tun Sakaran Marine Park entrance fee. For Non-Malaysian Nationals, this entrance fee costs 10 Ringgit per person. Remember to ask if this is included when you book.
|Malaysian National 18+|
Malaysian National Under 18
|3 Ringgit Per Person|
1 Ringgit Per Child
|Non-Malaysian National 18+|
Non-Malaysian Under 18
|10 Ringgit Per Person|
6 Ringgit Per Child
More details about this entrance and conservation fee can be found on the official Sabah Parks website.
Semporna Jetty Fee
As well as the conservation entrance fee, the local government also collects a Semporna hetty fee of 10 Ringgit per international person and 2 Ringgit for Malaysians. This is another fee that you will need to determine whether it’s included in your agreed price or not.
Island Hopping Tours
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
|Island Hopping Day Trip B |
Pom Pom Island
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 detailed blog highlighting both trips.
Bohey Dulang Day Trip + Mantabuan and Sibuan
Here’s an outline of what you might expect on this epic island hopping trip in Semporna!
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.
Bohey Dulang Entrance 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.
Bohey Dulang Viewpoint Hike
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.
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, since it’s probably illegal and 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!
READ ABOUT MY FAVORITE VIEWPOINT IN ASIA: PADAR ISLAND VIEWPOINT
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.
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.
The last stop on the Tun Sakaran 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.
Back to Semporna – Where to Stay
HIGHEST VALUE PRIVATE AC ROOM WITH EPIC BREAKFAST – OZZY LODGE
By far my favorite accommodation in Borneo! The owner here is extremely helpful, friendly and makes a killer breakfast. The location is great since it’s a little out of the dirty harbor area, but still very easy to reach.
BUDGET BACKPACKERS – ZEN HOSTEL
Zen Hostel is one of the highest-ranked hostels in Semporna and is located right in the center of the city. If you don’t mind the rubbish and hectic vibes of the port, then staying at this hostel is a great option.
More Photos of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park Island Hopping
Here are some more photos of the island hopping trip from Semporna!