People write and say a lot about Semporna. No it isn’t the best place to stay obviously. But if you want to go to one of the dive paradises like Sipadan, Mabul or Kippalai, Semporna is the place to arrange it and the place where the boats pick you up to go to these islands. Semporna is the home of a lot of dive centers. They told me that in Semporna itself there where over 30 dive centers. So like I said, if you want to arrange your diving trip to paradise, Semporna is the place to book it. But be aware that due the high volume interest it is smart to book your diving ahead. Especially when you’re with many people or want to dive at Sipadan. Sipadan is limited to 120 divers a day.
Beside the diving centers Semporna got quite a lot hotels and hostels to stay. But why is everybody advising to not stay to long in Semporna then? Well when you walk around a bit you’ll see that the city is quite dirty and just not the place where you want to wander around a lot at night. There’s not that much to do eather. I’ll say visit the market stalls near the harbor. There you’ll see plenty of (cheap) fruit which is perfect as a desert :). Beside the dive centers Semporna also got a couple of dive shops where you can gear up for your diving trip.