Pom-Pom Island – looking for bom-bom girls

Pom-Pom Island
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Pom-Pom Island is a relatively new destination compared to other islands such as Sipadan and Mabul in Semporna, Sabah. Few people know that Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP), also known as Semporna Islands Park, is the most reachable from Pom-Pom. In fact, TSMP is currently the biggest marine park of Malaysia and has richer marine ecology and biodiversity than Sipadan in terms of macro lives, many new species wait to be named and discovered.

location map of Pom-Pom Island
Pom-Pom Island is 45-minute by boat from jetty of Semporna town. There are two accommodations on Pom-Pom. I was going to Pom-Pom Island Resort, the one which operates in environment-friendly manner. Without any fishing village and island residents, tourists enjoy more privacy on Pom-Pom. Don’t confuse Pom-Pom with another island named Bum-Bum.

crystal clear sea of Pom-Pom Island
Beach side of Pom Pom Island
The white sandy beach and crystal clear sea are as spectacular as other islands in Celebes Sea. Under the hot tropical sun, everyone just can’t wait to jump into sea. We even saw lion fishes and many other fishes under the jetty. To say it in a tacky way, Pom-Pom looks like the picture in dream holiday ad. Visitors can swim, dive, snorkel and kayak around the island.

Pom-Pom girl dancers
In case you wonder if Pom-Pom Island has many hot pom-pom girls…

Pom-Pom tree
Actually Pom-Pom gets its name from the “Pom-Pom” tree (photo above), which is abundant on the island.

>> Click Here to see more photos of Pom-Pom Island

Restaurant of Pom-Pom Island Resort
We checked in at their activity hall and restaurant (photo above). Welcoming drink was served (but no dancing Pom-Pom girls). It’s very nice that they sent our heavy luggage to our chalet with mini-tractor. I’ve been hearing positive feedback about the excellent service of Pom-Pom. Basically they take care of everything, so you are worry-free. They can even pick you up at Tawau Airport.

Island Chalets

Water Villa of Pom-Pom Island
Water Villa of Pulau Pom-Pom

Room of Water Villa
Balcony of Water Villa
>> Click Here to see more photos of Pom-Pom Island

Of course the most luxurious chalet is the Water Villa built on the sea, and of course I can’t afford it. Anyway, I was busybody a bit and took a few photos of Water Villa (see 4 photos above).

I remember an incident that a hotel put me and my male colleague in a room with honeymoon setting. There is only a transparent glass between the room and bathroom, so I can see what my roommate doing in toilet. I am not that “open-minded”, so I requested the hotel to give us a “normal” room. Well, even if sharing room with wife, I don’t think it’s romantic to see her wiping her butt after doing number 1?

Beach Villa of Pom-Pom Island Resort
Though I stayed in Beach Villa (photo above), it’s already a 5-star lodging to me. Yes, the chalet has electricity, hot shower, light, fans and air-conditioning, and the room is spacious.

Fruit trees
Pom-Pom is a small island that needs only 40 minutes to walk one round, but it’s big enough to have the soil to plant fruits such as Papaya and Dragon Fruit. After sunset, a large number of fruit bats (flying fox) will fly to this island to enjoy the fruits. The big bats are just everywhere after dusk. By the way, they have jogging and cycling tracks on the island.

I went for a bird-watching hunt around the island. The sighting of Barred Rail is reported on this island. This bird species is common in Philippines but it is only recently spotted and added to the list of birds found in Sabah. I was told that it likes to wander in the grass near the fruit garden, but too bad I didn’t see it. I saw other birds such as sunbirds and kingfisher.

You can find a sense of humor in many little things on the island..

Funny dustbin
Mr. Bean dustbin?

Kampung House
Kampung House? (Village House)

>> Click Here to see more photos of Pom-Pom Island

Plate warmer
OMG, a Plate Warmer? This is the first plate warmer I see in Sabah. I love food to be served on warm plate. One thing that Sabah “kopitiam” (Malaysian coffee shop) always make me mildly pissed off is when they give me the plate and spoon that are still wet. I think it is kind of disgusting.

Water tanks for reverse osmosis
Pom-Pom Island Resort also invests on reverse osmosis (R.O.) plant to use rainwater. It is the only island in Sabah employs such green technology. They also plan to use wind energy in future.

Below is a 2.5-min video about Pom-Pom:

Click Here to watch bigger video.

BOHEY DULANG
Bohey Dulang
From Pom-Pom, you can clearly see Bohey Dulang, one of the islands of Semporna Islands Park.

sunset of Semporna Islands Park
According to the legend, a notorious Sultan of South Philippines eyed on Arung Salamiah, a beautiful princess lived on Bum-Bum Island, so her parents hid her on Bohey Dulang island. She vanished few days later and people believe that she was hidden by the spirits on the island and turned into fairy. Locals say they could hear her singing and her dog barking during full moon, and even occasionally see her walking on the island.

Arung Salamiah Princess
The romantic story of Arung Salamiah was even played in Sabah Fest 2010.

Giant clam nursery on Bohey Dulang
Giant clam shell exhibition

We dropped by Bohey Dulang island on the first day, not to visit Salamiah, but to look at the giant clam nursery. I blogged about this giant clam nursery before. FYI, you may snorkel here because they release many giant clams in front of the giant clam nursery.

Abalone
We also checked out the cultivation of abalone on the island. The species of our abalone is relatively smaller.

Our initial itinerary included a 30 to 45 minutes trekking up to the high point of Bohey Dulang (probably Salamiah stood on this hill before?), to get a bird eye view of Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Due to time constraint, we had to cancel the plan, too bad, next time then.

Mantabuan

Later Pom-Pom sent us to Mantabuan Island for snorkeling. Being one of the islands of bio-diversified Semporna Islands Park, we saw so much in only 8 Meters of depth! Luckily coral bleaching does not affect the cooler Celebes Sea of Semporna, so the corals are in great shape. In merely 1 hour of snorkeling, we saw stack horn, brain corals, blue corals, lettuce corals, thorns of stars, huge sea cucumbers, puffer fish, crocodile fishes and 3 Green and Hawsbill Turtles!!! I was told by my friends that they also spotted turtle when they snorkel near the jetty of Pom-Pom in next morning. A scuba diver also said that she found 13 turtles in the sea in front of the jetty.

Mantabuan Island
Above: Mantabuan Island

The sea current was not strong and the visibility was about 9 Meters. To see more, you can join scuba diving to see the precious black corals in deeper water. It’s about RM365 (USD$110) for 2 boat dives, permit fee and rental of dive equipments. Pom-Pom Island Resort has a dive center.

Night Patrol

Another feature of Pom-Pom is the night patrol for sighting of turtle laying eggs. The staffs of Pom-Pom were trained as the wildlife warden, so they know the right steps and measures on conservation of sea turtles. The nesting records will be submitted to WWF and Sabah Wildlife Department. The guests were offered a night walk with the guides around 8pm.

Ghost crab
No turtle nest found during my stay. I only saw a ghost crab on the beach. The luck was not with us that night.

Turtle hatchery
If any turtle nests on Pom-Pom, for better survival rate, the staffs will collect the eggs and move them to a protected turtle hatchery next to the dive center. The eggs will hatch after 2 months and the baby turtles will be released back to the sea. The staff (Sally) told us the number of eggs of Green Turtles and Hawsbill Turtles are nearly equal. FYI, you can sponsor the nest.

Turtles say goodbye
Before we departed on second day, two turtles showed up near the jetty, as if they were saying goodbye to us.

To know more about Pom-Pom Island, you may visit their website at:
http://pompomisland.com
They also have an interesting and updated blog.

>> Click Here to see more photos of Pom-Pom Island

Photos taken in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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  • One of the best things about your blog is that you blog about places that I’ve never heard of before. I’m quite surprised there’s an island called Pom Pom and even more surprising is the fact that it is actually very beautiful (the way I see it in the pictures). I wonder why it is less promoted or may be I’m the one who is so ketinggalan.Hehe. Thanks for sharing this.

  • MySabah.com

    Thanks Jipp. 🙂 I always try to write about less-known places. In my blog, readers can forget about Mt. Kinabalu and Sipadan. End of this month I’ll go to a “dangerous” and pristine place. Stay tuned for my update next month, hehe.

  • mantaray

    I’ve been following your blog for a few years now and I think your blog is fantastic. I’ve stayed in Tawau before and never heard of Pom Pom island. Great blog. Keep it up. Will be delighted to see your next post 🙂

  • MySabah.com

    Hi Mantaray, I’m glad to hear that and thanks for supporting me for years. That means a lot to me. Sure, I’ll bring more content about Sabah in future. 🙂

  • Very nice to read. Have heard of Pom-Pom, but didn’t go there yet. Not sure if I ever will, prices are quite steep for regular travelers :). Still; fantastic area. I especially like the environment-friendly attitude. Also their turtle program is great. Seen it at many islands now; happy that they are doing their part in maintaining the number of turtles. Sad to see though that still many eggs and hatchlings end up at local markets. Because of your article I bumped Pom-Pom higher on my wish list :).

    Regards,

    Ilya

  • naza

    Hi..
    I would like to spend end-of-year holiday wiht my family in pom pom island..in tripadvisor, there are many reviews about celebes beach resort. have u been there? the rate is much more lower than pom pom island resort.
    rgds,
    Naza

  • MySabah.com

    Hi Naza, thank you for your comment. There are many factors in choosing a resort. I like Pom-Pom coz of its contribution such as turtle conservation to the environment. There are many cheap resorts out there but they only care about making $ & leave the environment damaged by recreational activities..

  • We´ve been to Pom Pom Island last year for 3 days. It is one of the most beautiful places we´ve ever been been. Thank you.

  • mysabah

    You are most welcome Canon. I’m glad you had a good time there. 🙂