Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.
Add to bucket listRemove from bucket list
Travelers at this place
    • Day 257

      Kulturschock Semporna

      July 10, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Rainer. Nach einem kurzen Zwischenstopp in Kota Kinabalu, wo wir, seit unserer Abreise das erste Mal wieder echte Brötchen gegessen haben🤤, geht es mit dem Nachtbus weiter nach Semporna.
      Anstelle Liegeflächen (wie wir es aus Kambodscha kennen) gibt es nur Sitze. Und so machen wir es uns auf den recht geräumigen Sitzen bequem, denn die Fahrt soll 11,5 Stunden dauern😱
      In Folge eines Lecks in der Kühlwasserversorgung ist der Bus jedoch gegen Ende der Strecke ständig überhitzt und wir halten andauernd an. Nachdem der Busfahrer mit seinen Begleitern diverse Male das Kühlsystem mit Trinkwasser aufgefüllt hat, - jedoch ohne nachhaltigen Erfolg - entscheiden sie glücklicherweise endlich, dass ein anderer Bus uns abholen kommen muss. Nach über 14 Stunden Fahrt erreichen wir dann schließlich endlich unser Ziel: Semporna.

      Semporna ist ein beliebtes Reiseziel unter Tauchern, da von man von hier aus eines der weltweit zehn besten Tauchparadiese erreichen kann: die Insel Sipadan.
      Ebenfalls bekannt ist Semporna für diverse Piratenüberfalle in den letzten Jahren und hat ansonsten leider nicht allzu viel zu bieten. Das Städtchen ist sehr überschaubar und geschäftig, jedoch fällt uns direkt auf, dass die Armut hier spürbarer ist als in anderen Regionen. Nicht nur sind die Gebäude weniger entwickelt, auch die vielen Kinder und Erwachsene machen einen eher mittellosen Eindruck. Es ist dreckig und stinkt.
      Nach kurzer Zeit werden wir bereits von den ersten Kindern angebettelt und nach Geld gefragt.
      In den nächsten Tage merken wir, dass es tatsächlich Straßenkinder sein könnten. Sie treiben sich immer an den gleichen Ecken herum und wir sehen sie immer wieder.
      Die Kinder sind distanzlos, stellen sich oft direkt neben uns, fordern Geld und folgen uns auf den Zentimeter genau.
      Es fällt uns auch auf, dass es viele, meist männliche, Jugendliche gibt, die in Gruppen umherziehen.
      Insgesamt werden wir hier noch einmal mehr angestarrt und es wird - abgesehen vom Anbetteln - nicht mit uns interagiert.
      Semporna ist die erste Stadt seit unserer Reise, in der wir uns unwohl und vor allen Dingen unsicher fühlen. Hier werden wir abends nicht alleine herumlaufen.

      Als ärmste und schlecht entwickeltste Region wurde Semporna bei der Unterstützung zur Entwicklung „vergessen“. Der Fokus wurde ganz klar auf’s Festland Malaysias gelegt und so erstrahlen die zum Beispiel die Städte Kuala Lumpur und Georgetown und boomen nur so als bekannte Touristenstädte.
      Glücklicherweise wird dies nun nachgeholt und so sollen nun viele Gelder zur Entwicklung und Bildung in diese Region fließen.

      Die Folgen dieser Entwicklung bleiben wohl abzuwarten.
      Ist es, wie leider so oft, ein Hoffnungsschimmer für die dortige Bevölkerung und eine Gefahr für Natur- und Umwelt?
      Read more

      Traveler  tja, fehlt doch zwischendurch


      Traveler  Brötchen sogar jeden Tag 😂


      Traveler  😂👍

    • Day 2,388

      Phone misery

      June 12, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      So after getting my phone wet yesterday and placing it in a box of rice overnight the worst case scenario has become real life. my phone has died. I can't believe how I used to travel without one and have become so dependant on it for booking things, finding places and even writing my blog. The other downside is there are no longer internet cafes. There are far worse things that can happen and I bite the bullet and head out to buy a new one. I always say that behind every negative is a positive and there are plenty I can take from this, the first one being the phones are so cheap here and after shopping around I managed to find a phone with pretty much the same spec as my Samsung even a little better for £200 and I'm also thankful for the fact pretty much everything is backed up on Google. I spend the whole morning installing apps and trying to remember passwords although accessing Google was pretty difficult and online banking was pretty impossible with a lot of perseverance I eventually got there and I'm back up and running. The other downside was all the time I'd spent writing my blog in the jungle, because I was unable to upload it was totally lost but it was such a memorable experience I will catch up on that part of my adventures at a later date.. A little later in the afternoon a new crew of people arrive, Alessandro from Italy, Chloe from Germany and. . They kindly invite me to join them this afternoon as they are heading to swim at the Tampi Tampi resort which when we arrive realise it's where the sea gypsies (Bajau Laut live. They built there homes on stilted huts above the coral bays .The sea gypsies are exceptional free divers. Many have mastered the art of free diving to depths of well over 20m while holding their breath for several minutes. All this as they hunt for fish, lobsters, sea cucumbers ) and other marine life Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they earn their living solely based on the ocean’s resources, the sad part being is that Most are not afforded citizenship status by either Malaysia, Philippines or Indonesia, as they have been deemed to reside in the waters of the Sulu and Celebes Sea, and not strictly on land owned by any of the countries.As a result, most of their children do not have access to a formal education system, as it is a requirement for students to have birth certificates and for both their parents to possess national identity cards. As we walk around these stilted areas I'm shocked to the core as a lady is sweeping out her house and literally brushed all the rubbish including plastic bottles into the sea. We take a seat at a small restaurant away from the crowds of locals that are swimming in little netted areas that aren't occupied by the "catch of the day' and enjoy watching as the use the stilted areas as diving platform but choose not to join them. The area is also used by other local people and as we leave the kids can't stop staring and waving. They use a lot of flat back jeeps as they can cram a lot of people in the back from Grandmas to baby's. We take the grab straight to the street market which is very similar to the one I went to in Kota Kinabalu but has a slightly more organized set up and a stage in the middle for the entertainment. We don't stay around long enough for this but we're heading to the waterfront to see some music there. It's crazy how as we're leaving this area how nice it seems compared to downtown. As we arrive to the waterfront I ask the guy from the restaurant where we can get a beer and he tells us a bar at the end. As we are walking towards the bar we bumb into Luiz the guy I met in Sepilok. We share a few beers in the bar with a band who are really good before making our way back to the hostel.Read more

    • Day 2,383

      Night trek

      June 7, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

      In the early afternoon I go to the Rainforest Discovery Center to book for tonights night walk and as I arrive I can hear music being played inside the grounds. I ask the lady what it is and if it can go and have a look and she says yes for a few minutes otherwise she'll have to charge me. As I enter there is a group of young guys and as I approach they welcome me in. They are playing Gamelan instruments and are practicing for a competition that will be held at the weekend. Alex the main guy speaks amazing English and asks if I'd like to try, how could I say no. They show me where and how to hit the gong and I get the easy part of playing just 121212 and as I do this they all join in. Maybe I'll stay here and join a rock band. As I say my goodbyes and thank yous I wish them luck in the upcoming competition. In the evening I've invited two girls who are staying in my room Adate and Mauri and even though they've just arrived are keen to join me. When we arrive there are two guides waiting for us and a few other people have joined the tour. We start just after six and walk to a skybridge where we stand and watch as the flying squirrels wake up and poke their heads out of there nesting boxes. As the sun sets the sound of the jungle grows louder and louder and they use this as an alarm call. Flying squirrels are not capable of flight like birds or bats; instead, they glide between trees. They are capable of obtaining lift within the course of these flights, with flights recorded to 90 metres. Further along the trail we encounter a slow loris. They are one of the only poisonous primates and lick there armpits to produce the poison. They are pregnant for six months and will lick their babies with the poison so it deters predators. The next spot is a scorpion and it amazes me how our guides actually spot these things. We are walking through a forest in the dark with nothing but a head torch and they spot things no bigger than 2 inches long. Amazing. We also see a green pit viper, casually wrapped around a tree branch and there's no way I would have spotted it as a snake. Their camouflage is amazing and when I learn they're venomous I'm keen to get out of there. Further into the jungle we have another spot of something I've never seen before. The crazy thing is very little is known about them and even when I Google it there is no information. Our final spot is a lantern fly a beautiful multicoloured insect with a turned up snout they use this to drill into trees where they feed on the sap and then squirt the excess sugar out of their abdomen. One of the prettiest insects I've seen. We leave the jungle and get a group photo before heading back to the lodge to eat. Nick one of the guys on the tour is staying there and joins us for dinner. I bid everyone good night and we arrange to share breakfast tomorrow before I leave for the Kintabagaten river.Read more

    • Day 2,387

      Island hopping

      June 11, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      When I go to the steps for my morning cigarette I'm shocked but a little relieved to see that the big duck thing I was describing on the phone is actually stood on the steps and with the help of Google lens I identify it as a night heron I get picked up at 8.15 am this morning and although a little exhausted I'm also excited. When I arrive to the Jetty it's bedlam but I'm relieved when I get put onto a boat and there is just another couple on there but my relief is short lived as 10 mins later the boat is full of a group of Chinese people all wearing the same crazy outfits and big hats and take over the whole boat. We arrive at the first island Bohey Dulang where there Is a 700m climb to the top I haven't brought my training shoes so have to borrow a pair of wet shoes they have for rent. The climb is pretty easy going but the view is amazing and you can see for a 180 degree view. I meet a lovely lady there who's 65 and has done the 1hr up and 1hr down. Back on the boat we go to our first snorkeling site. Which I have to say was breathtaking. I see more fish than I've ever seen in an aquarium back home. I just float there in awe watching as they dip in and out of the coral. I'm even lucky enough to spot a mandarin fish one of the most beautiful fish I've ever seen. It's like a kids been given a coloring book with different fish and just used every colour in the pencil case. There's striped ones neon ones and ones I'm already familiar with like angel fish and blowfish but some I've never seen in my life. I'm quite shocked as most of the rest of the boat don't even get in the water and the ones that do are pulled along in life jackets with life buoys. Back on the boat again the next island is Mantabuan where we take lunch and once again I buump into the guys from Mount Kinabalu. We head straight for Sibuan island where the first thing we're greeted by is a watch tower with armed guards handling automatic machine guns this is for the pirates situation they have here,that you kind of forget about till you see this Another snorkeling spot results in my phone case leaking and I'm horrified but there's not a lot I can do about it in the middle of the ocean. The journey back is stressful with me trying to rinse my phone as it heats up to a ridiculous temperature. Samsung are slightly waterproof but they're not salt water proof as the boat comes into harbour I then also realise I've left my flip flops on the beach. When I reach the hostel a lovely young guy called Dan agrees to join me for lunch and the guys at the hostel have given me a box of rice to put my phone in. Dan and I enjoy the seafood and while he pushes the boat out with Lobster I opt for the prawns. The seafood here is so fresh. We're both pretty exhausted so head back via Starbucks on the way home. Im sad as Dan leaves tomorrow for Mabul but it's been nice sharing dinner as walking round town at night on my own I don't feel comfortable with. On the way back we're stopped by a local family and asked if we'll take a picture with them. This is very common here but we oblige and after numerous shots are back on our way.I check my phone when I get back but it still has moisture in so can't really make any plans for the day tomorrow until I know what's happening with that. There's only one thing for it an early night.Read more

    • Day 2,391

      Child poverty

      June 15, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

      I still feel a little perky today but just after 11 actually feel able to leave the hostel. I walk a few minutes round the corner and as I sit in a little coffee shop with my posh Caramel Machiatto and my pastry breakfast I feel a massive overwhelming of guilt. Literally outside the window I witness true life angels. A family have pulled up in a car and are handing food parcels out to the street kids. At first there are just a few but within minutes the car is surrounded it actually brings tears to my eyes. Pretty soon the car is overwhelmed with women too. These kids with no opportunity to ever change their lives breaks my heart. How can they ever expect to change things. I realise that maybe I've ventured out a little early and with the 12hr bus journey ahead make a prompt return back to the hostel. I have an easy afternoon watching Netflix and catching up with family on Watts app. Zane in the hostel has let me keep my bed for the day at no extra cost which I'm most grateful for and as I'm due to leave his son Ivan presents me with a beautiful key ring. In the evening I once again pack my rucksack and get ready for leaving. I get a photo with the family and bid my goodbyes. It's pouring outside so not looking forward to getting on the bus in damp clothes but the weather is something I can't control. I just hope I can get a few hours sleep. I get to my bus and the guy looks a bit confused when I show him my online ticket as my name isn't on the list but let's me on the bus but a few minutes later a lady comes on the bus and asks to see it again. Then another guy asks me to get of the bus and go to the portacabin the lady makes a phone call and I explain I have a plane to catch tomorrow. After a tense 10 minutes I'm back on the bus. There are a couple of guys on the bus Marcus from Germany Paddy from Cornwall and his friend from the Netherlands. They are all going to the music festival and we exchange Watts app numbers. 20 minutes into the journey we are stopped by the police, armed with machine guns they check everyone's id before letting us on our way. The journey is very bumpy and the fog is quite bad and as we proceed witness a jackknifed hgv on the opposite side of the road. Further along the road is another police road check where once again they get on and check everyone's id. At midnight we stop at a roadside cafe and there's no chance I'm getting any sleep on this journey. The driver continues the journey like he's driving in wacky races and we arrive well ahead of schedule at 4.45am .Read more

    • Day 79

      Tauchen auf Sipadan

      September 13, 2022 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      Wir haben uns, trotz der Reisewarnung des Auswärtigen Amtes und einigen Horrorgeschichten von Leuten aus verschiedenen Hostels, nach Semporna getraut. Die Ankunft dort war schon ein Schock, man hat sofort gesehen das es in dieser Stadt sehr viel Armut und leid gibt. Am Busbahnhof haben wir noch eine Amerikanerin die alleine reist auf gegabelt. Diese war sichtlich geschockt von der Ankunft und wie sich herausstellt hat sie gar nichts von den gefahren gewusst. Da wir ausdrücklich von vielen Lokals gewarnt wurden nicht alleine als Frau auf die Straße zu gehen haben wir sie zu Fuß zu ihrem Hostel eskortiert
      Wir hatten Dank Katrin ein super Hostel in dem wir uns sicher fühlten und haben dieses auch nur verlassen um Kaffee und Essen zu suchen.
      Der Aufenthalt dort hat sich auf jeden Fall gelohnt, denn das tauchen in Sipadan war wirklich ein absolutes Highlight. Der stolze Preis von 240 Euro hat sich gelohnt denn neben unfassbar schönen Korallenriffen haben wir massenhaft Schildkröten, Barracudas und Haie gesehen.
      Dank des besten Tauchbuddys hab ich auch bei der stärksten Strömung die wir je erlebt haben nicht die Nerven und vor allem nicht die Gruppe verloren.
      Read more

    • Day 79

      Sandakan -> Semporna

      February 1 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 30 °C

      7 a.m. - We woke up early and got mentally and physically ready for a hole day of bus.

      8 a.m. - We departure to Semporna and I slept as usual the hole ride. However I didn’t recognize that someone in the front spilled out some sweet drink and my hole backpack soaked everything up. So he was wet, dirty and smelled disgusting. Luckily my passport didn’t got wet.

      3 p.m. - We arrived in the afternoon and we checked in. The first thing I did was cleaned my backpack. Afterwards we finalized the diving. Eli just booked a day trip to Mabul which includes three dives and lunch. Lea booked a day of snorkeling and a night in the dorm. Femke and I booked two days of diving which includes six dives, accommodation and food. Afterwards we went for some coffee and Lea and I did the laundry. Unfortunately my clothes weren’t dry so I tried to dry the with the blower which worked not as good as expected.

      8 p.m. - For dinner we went in a fancy restaurant where I got some tasty pasta.

      P.S.: It was very weird and funny to see all the locals walking around with wheel barrow’s.
      Read more

    • Day 58


      September 3, 2018 in Malaysia ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

      Nach einem Flug und dann einer Nacht in Semporna fahren wir heute mit einem Boot raus aufs Meer zur Insel Mabul. Dort bleiben wir drei Nächte und eventuell länger, falls es uns gefällt :)

      Hier mal ein paar Fotos von heute morgen... Zähne putzen mit Fischgeruch vom Markt vor dem Fenster 👌Read more

      Wacholder2Go  Sehr schön, erinnert uns an Vietnam. Weiterhin gute Reise.😊

    • Day 13

      From Manila to Malaysia

      December 3, 2017 in Malaysia ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      Palmoil and Fishmarkets...that summs up the general impression I had when visiting the small town of Semporna in the malaysian part of Borneo. We went there to take a look at the local tuna fishery and most of all to get to know some skilled tuna fishermen...more to comeRead more

    • Day 79


      February 7, 2018 in Malaysia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Of course, I love fish markets! As a fish biologist, it is my natural habitat! Whereas markets selling terrestrial meat products usually harbour a handful of species only (pork, beef, chicken, lamb and perhaps goat if you are lucky) fish markets often display dozens of fish species...and then we didn't even start with the arthropods and molluscs diversity found as well (div. species of lobsters, crabs, shrimps, octopuses, mussles etc).

      However, there is a clear downside of the whole fish trading thing! Especially on small scale fish markets in developing countries none of the fish which get landed are ever reportet, there is no control about iligeal fish species and undersized fish being sold. It is assumed that 50% of the worlds consumed fish is caught and traded by small scale fisheries. So try to make a correct stock assumption with this data basis! #futurechalange :-)
      Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Semporna, SMM, Семпорна

    Join us:

    FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android