You can either fly or catch a bus from Kota Kinabalu. Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines offers multiple flights daily to Tawau, where you’re just a 1 hour drive away from Semporna (see [getting to Semporna from Tawau] (#semporna-tawau)).
If you’re on the backpacker circuit (did you climb the mountain?), buses leave daily for Semporna at 7:30AM/7:30PM from the Kota Kinabalu Bus terminal. It takes about 7 hours to reach Semporna by bus and costs approximately RM50 (includes food).
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and the major transport hub for the country (you'll likely arrive here if you're flying from overseas). You'll want to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau in order to get to Scuba Junkie (see Tawau for details on getting to Semporna from Tawau). Air Asia provides two flights a day that fly directly to Tawau, and Malaysian offers connecting flights that go through Kota Kinabalu. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau takes approximately 3 hours.
Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get to Semporna from Singapore or Johor Bahru. Most fly into Kuala Lumpur without realizing that Air Asia offers direct flights from Johor Bahru to Tawau. If you're in Singapore catch a bus or taxi from Queens Ferry Street, which will take you across the border into Malaysia. Once in Malaysia, hire a taxi to take you to the airport (allow approximately 1.5 hours.)
See the “getting to Semporna from Tawau” section for details once you arrive in Tawau.
Air Asia offers two flights daily from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu (check their site for current schedules). Once in Kota Kinabalu, catch a connecting flight to Tawau. Both Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines offer multiple flights daily.
Catch a mini-bus to Laha Datu from the mini-bus depo, then catch a minibus from Laha Datu to Semporna. Please note that these are local mini buses and you should be aware that you sometimes have to wait for the mini-bus to fill to capacity before leaving.
If you’re coming from Europe, North America, or anywhere else outside of Asia, you’ll want to book flights to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia and the major transport hub for the country. Many major airline carriers offer flights to Kuala Lumpur including Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines. Check with your travel agent for cheapest prices, or visit some of the many online ticket vendors including cheaptickets.com, lastminute.com, Expedia, Orbitz, and more. Don't forget your passport!
See the Kuala Lumpur section for details on getting to Semporna from Kuala Lumpur.