This gateway to beautiful islands is located in the Tawau Division, in the East Coast of Sabah. It is known as an illustrious scuba diving and snorkeling spot. Semporna town is mainly populated by the Bajau Laut ethnic community, otherwise known as the Sea Gypsies—many of whom live in sprawling stilt villages above the water or inside the traditional Lepa boats.
The Regatta Lepa traditional boat race is held here annually in April. Semporna was also the finishing line of the Eco-challenge: Borneo, which was held in 2000. Off the coast is the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, also known as Semporna Islands Park which was gazetted by Sabah Parks in 2004.