Sibuan Island is said to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Celebes Sea. It is part of the Tun Sakaran Marine Park (also known as Semporna Islands Park), which contains the following islands besides Sibuan; Bodgaya, Boheydulang, Tetagan, Sebangkat, Selakan, Maiga and Mantabuan. There are no resorts on the islands, and also no public facilities. A few sea gypsies live on the island; unfortunately clearly noticeable by the rubble they often leave behind on the island. Fortunately diving schools in the area organize occasional reef and beach cleanup sessions. Don't forget to bring enough sunscreen, water and snacks with you when you visit the island. A visit to Sibuan Island is usually part of a day trip from one of the other islands (like Mataking), or part of a day trip from Semporna (at Sabah's southeast coast). Sibuan is especially great for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling and sun bathing.
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Diving at Sibuan Island
Just like Mabul to the south of Semporna, Sibuan is seen as one of the best muck diving (macro divers paradise) spots in Malaysia. Here you can enjoy encounters with many amazing underwater creatures; like pygmy seahorses, nudibranches, mandarin fish, crocodile fish, lion fish, scorpion fish and frog fish. There are a few nice dive sites around Sibuan Island, the most popular are; Left Shoulder, Mandarin Point, Mandarin Bay, Froggy's and the Drop-Off. Nearby Sibuan you can find Mantabuan Island; with a couple of fabulous dive sites. If you have the chance, definitely go dive at these sites. Though most of the dive sites around Sibuan are good for all types of divers, some other sites are a bit more challenging because of the currents. Especially during monsoon (Dec/Jan) visibility is bad and the currents are strong.
Accommodation at Sibuan Island
There is no accommodation available at Sibuan Island (and at the neighboring islands within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park). Nearest island where you can find a resort is Pom Pom Island and Mataking Island. Budget travelers usually stay at affordable accommodation at Semporna, and book a day tour from this coastal village to Sibuan Island.
How to get to Sibuan Island
To get to Sibuan Island you first need to take a flight to the coastal city of Tawau. There are daily flights operated by Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur (and Kota Kinabalu) to Tawau. From Tawau Airport you can either get a taxi (around RM100+) or a bus/minivan to the village of Semporna, a 1,5 hour trip through endless palm oil plantations. At Semporna harbor boats to the neighboring tropical islands depart. The speedboat ride to Sibuan takes about 40 minutes.
Map of Sibuan Island
Below you can see the exact location of Sibuan Island on the interactive map (in the middle).