Unique Water Festival in Semporna
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Semporna, Sabah

Regatta Lepa is a local water festival which displays the interesting traditions and customs of the Bajau Laut tribe.

Also known as the Sea Gypsies, the festival celebrates this ethnic group’s unique nomadic way of life.

The Regatta Lepa has taken place annually since 1994, but the Bajau Laut tribe’s culture is rich with legacies that have been passed down for many generations.

The event is one of the most unique and longest running celebrations in Borneo and Malaysia and in 2003 was declared a national festival.

The Regatta Lepa brings together foreigners, locals and VIPs such as heads of state to enjoy the great festivities of this unique water festival.

Dates & Venues

  • Start: Friday, 21st April 2017 at 8am
  • End: Sunday, 23rd April 2017 at 8pm
  • Venue: Regatta Lepa Square and Harbour Front, Semporna, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia
  • How to Get There

    Fly: Flights are available from Kuala Lumpur and various international cities to Tawau via Kota Kinabalu. From Tawau Airport, take a 1h20mn drive to Semporna.

    Bus: You can take a bus from Kota Kinabalu from the Outstation Bus Terminal at Inaman town for a 9 hour trip to Semporna.

    Taxi: If you are coming from Tawau, catch a 1.5 hour taxi ride to Semporna.


    • Choose the most dazzling Lepa, musicians and dancers
    • Beauty Pageant
    • Cultural Shows
    • Row Boats
    • Sea Sports
    • Sailing competition
    • Keleh-Keleh
    • Cultural night performance



    Celebrations revolve around the rich culture of the Sea Gypsies and their beautifully coloured traditional lepa boats. There’s a boat parade, boat racing, an annual tug-of-war competition and a beauty pageant, not to mention the grand finale of fireworks over the stunning ocean.

    The Regatta Lepa happens every year towards the end of April and continues for 2 or 3 consecutive days.



    Find a hotel room in Semporna, Tawau and Mabul island.