Tetagan Island

Tetagan Island
The Sea Gypsies of Tetagan.


At about 30.25 hectares in size (0.30km²), Pulau Tetagan is the smallest island in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, after Mantabuan.

It is connected to Bodgaya by a shallow channel, and is considerably lower, with a maximum elevation of about 80 meters.

There used to be a flourishing village of around 200-250 Bajau living on the island, whose economy was mainly based around fishing and farming.

However, most left in the 1950s or 60s to take advantage of government resettlement schemes. The last family left just before 1980 and all that remains is a burial ground.

The island’s slopes rise fairly steeply and the shoreline is rocky in many places.

A narrow beach runs along the northwest of the island, which extends into a sand spit towards the northern tip of the island.

Things To Do

Sea Gypsies village
Most visitors to Pulau Tetagan come to see the Sea Gypsies living in and around Pulau Bodgaya and Pulau Bohey Dulang.


There are no resorts or hotels on Pulau Tetagan or any of the other islands within Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Most visitors to the island stay in Semporna, where hotels and dive packages are generally cheaper.

Alternatively, visitors also stay in Mabul, Bum Bum, Pom Pom, Mataking or Singamata, where day tours to the marine park are frequently organized.

Check this list for hotels and resorts that organize day tours to Tun Sakaran Marine Park.

Getting Here

Tetagan Island is located ±35 minutes by boat from Semporna, ±20 minutes from Pom Pom, ±30 minutes from Mataking and ±1.5 hours from Mabul.

More Information

There are 3 possible derivations for the name of the island. One meaning of ‘tetagan’ in Bajau is interconnecting. This could relate to the fact that the island is lying adjacent and connected to Bodgaya.

Another meaning for the word in the Bajau language is ‘hospitable site’, which may refer to its suitability as a site for settlement.

However, according to legend, the word Tetagan comes from the word ‘Tetag’, meaning ‘to slash’. This is based on a story of a fierce man who lived on the island and would slash any visitors.