Of all the islands in Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Pulau Sebangkat is the nearest to the mainland.
On a clear day, it can be seen from the coastal town of Semporna, located about 10km away. It takes a mere 10-15 minutes to reach the island by boat.
A beautiful stretch of sandy beach lies towards the southwestern corner of the island. Snorkel in the calm waters among the seagrass and if you’re lucky, you may get to spot some common seahorses.
Accommodation & day tours
There are no major hotels or resorts on Pulau Sebangkat, or any of the other islands in Tun Sakaran Marine Park.
Things to do
Snorkeling & scuba diving
Pulau Sebangkat is a wonderful muck diving site. It is one of the lesser known wonders of the marine park, where you may find nudibranchs, shrimps, pipefish, sea slugs, pygmy seahorses, countless species of reef fishes and the Gorgonian seafan located at depths of about 16-18m.
There is a seaweed farming community living in Sebangkat Island, where the waters are suitable for seaweed cultivation. Learn more about seaweed farming from the vibrant community here.
A seaweed farm operates from the island and there are cultivation plots in shallow areas towards the northern shore. Seaweed is dried in open spaces around the village and then sold in Semporna.
Bajau Laut village
There is a small, friendly community of Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsies) living in and around this island.
Due to the proximity of the island to the mainland, there have been plans to build a visitor center and ‘water village’ or water chalet-style developments towards the southwestern corner of the island.
However, complications due to the presence of Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsies) and Suluk people in and around the island have put such plans on hold for the time being.
It is believed that much of the population moved from the village on the island onto the Sebangkat-Selakan reef top when the seaweed cultivation project began.
Cultivation of seaweed is now the main economic activity on the island. Fishing has become a secondary activity, mainly for personal consumption.