10 Most Beautiful Islands in Sabah, Malaysia

The most beautiful and popular islands in Sabah are located within the Tun Sakaran Marine Park. You can easily arrive at this region by taking a flight to Tawau domestically using AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, which is available daily. From the Tawau Airport, hire a minivan or a cab for approximately RM100 in order to arrive at Semporna. Hop onto a speedboat to transfer to the islands which is between 30 to 45 minutes.

Ready to explore the best beaches in Sabah? Continue reading to plan your trip to find the most famous island in Sabah of your choice!

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best sabah islands
10 Most Beautiful Islands in Sabah, Malaysia

10 Most Beautiful Islands in Sabah, Malaysia

Pulau Bodgaya

The breath-taking Bodgaya Island is rich in flora and fauna. It is encircled by emerald blue ocean and is located on the rim of a volcanic crater which is claimed to be 2.58 million years old. Measuring just 8km in length and over 1km in width, it is surprisingly the largest island in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park. There are three main summits on the island, with the highest one at 455 meters. This makes it an ideal destination for hiking and exploring.

Pulau Mabul

As one of the most popular island in Sabah and across Borneo, Pulau Mabul is a common stop for divers from around the world. As one of Malaysia's leading ecotourism destinations, this small island which is located in southeast Sabah is home to many fishing villages. It is also one of the few remaining places in the world where the sea gypsies or Bajau Laut tribe can be found. 

Pulau Mabul
Pulau Mabul is home to the nomadic sea gypsies living on boats on temporary stilt houses

Pulau Sipadan

The paradise island of Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. It rises to a height of 600 metres from the seabed. Tucked away in the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Sabah, the unique region is made up of a formation of living corals which grow on a volcanic cone. Pulau Sipadan is also recognised as the top dive destination in the world by many organisations, including the Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine.

Pulau Sipadan
Pulau Sipadan is the most famous island in Sabah

Pulau Mataking

Another stunning island found at the Celebes Sea, the Mataking Island is made up of two smaller islands which are connected by a narrow sand bank. It is also home to Malaysia's one and only underwater post box which can be found at an old 40-foot wooden cargo ship, called the Mataking Post. There are only 5 underwater post offices of this kind in the world!

Pulau Kapalai

The Kapalai Island comes with a unique history. Despite being a beautiful island almost two hundred years ago, it has now eroded naturally to become a sand bar. Located about 15 kilometres away from the popular Sipadan Island, this island offers a luxury water village built on stilts known as the Kapalai Dive Resort, loved for the serene and quiet setting.

Pulau Lankayan

Lankayan Island is a tiny tropical coral island located in the Sulu Sea off Sabah's Beluran. There is only one resort on this island known as the Lankayan Island Dive Resort which was built back in 1997. It is a very popular destination among local and international divers, particularly for the amazing macro marine life, alluring wildlife and historical sunken structures.

Pulau Selakan

Selakan Island is the most populated out of all the islands in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park. There is a school built here to cater to all the students as well as other facilities. Equipped with two jetties, the island can be easily accessed by boats. The seafaring Bajau Laut tribe dwells on the waters here, either on wooden boats or sturdy stilt houses.

Pulau Bohey Dulang

Many visitors drop by the Bohey Dulang island for a few hours to hike to its highest peak, which is a relatively easy 20-metre climb. This gives them an incredible and unbroken view of the surrounding sapphire ocean and hilly landscape. The island is created from the remnants of primitive volcanoes. On the southern part of the island, there is a spectacular stretch of coral reef which is visible from miles away.

Pulau Bohey Dulang
Pulau Bohey Dulang in Sabah

Pulau Maiga

Pulau Maiga is distinguishable from the other nearby islands thanks to its unique shores that are lined with tall coconut trees, sheltering the area from strong winds. It has become a popular picnic spots for island hoppers to Sabah. You are invited to lounge on the sandy white beaches while sipping on the freshest, sweetest coconut water in a picturesque setting.

Pulau Pom Pom

Pom Pom Island is a relatively small coral reef island in the Celebes Sea, located approximately 30 kilometres away in the north east of Semporna. Measuring a mere 2.3 kilometres in circumference and featuring a fringing coral reef of 4 kilometres in length, this destination is a preferred choice for scuba diving as it is blessed with clear blue water.

Pulau Pom Pom
Pulau Pom Pom is one of the most beautiful islands in Sabah

As our island-hopping journey concludes, remember that each island in Sabah presents a unique slice of paradise, meticulously crafted by the hands of nature. From the sun-drenched shores of Sipadan, bustling with kaleidoscopic aquatic life, to the tranquil retreat of Mantanani, where the sands whisper tales of serene solitude, Sabah's islands beckon to those who seek both adventure and tranquillity. 

Embarking on this exploration, you're not just visiting geographical locales; you're immersing yourself in a vibrant cultural heritage and indulging in a culinary exploration that tantalises your taste buds with flavours as vivid as the sunsets. Let these islands be more than a destination; let them be a journey that enriches, educates, and inspires.


  1. Memang masuk list, one day nak ke Sabah,. walau pernah ke Sabah ikut Tourism tu, tapi next time nak pergi gan family bercuti pulak.. thanks share posting ni..

  2. Tak pernah lagi jejak le sabah. Tengok orang share experience ke kat sana. Cantik-cantik laut kat sana

  3. wanna visit them all!!! so beautiful! thanks for sharing! put them all in my bucket list!

  4. I have been to Sipadan dan Mabul only. The others are still in my to-do list. Hopefully will be visiting Bohey soon this year

  5. sabah always got special spot in my heart. went to kapalai island previously i must say that is one of the most beautiful island in malaysia

  6. This are all belong to Philippines sovereign.


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