Sulu Sea contains a number of islands. The Cuyo Islands and Cagayan Sulu are part of the province of Palawan whereas Mapun and the Turtle Islands are part of the province of Tawi-Tawi. Sulu Sea is also where the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, one of the World Heritage Sites is located.
The Panay Gulf is an extension of the Sulu Sea. Straits out of the Sulu Sea include the Iloilo Strait, the Guimaras Strait, and the Basilan Strait.
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the Sulu Sea as being one of the waters of the East Indian Archipelago. The IHO defines its limits as follows:
On the Northwest. From Tanjong Sempang Mangayau, the North point of Borneo, along the Eastern limit of South China Sea to Cape Calavite, the Northwest point of Mindoro.
On the Northeast. The Southwest coast of Mindoro to Buruncan Point, its Southern extreme, thence a line through Semirara and Caluya Islands to Nasog Point (11°53′N 121°53′E / 11.883°N 121.883°E / 11.883; 121.883) the Northwestern extreme of Panay, along the West and Southeast coast of that island to Tagubanhan Island (11°08′N 123°07′E / 11.133°N 123.117°E / 11.133; 123.117), thence a line to the Northern extreme of Negros and down the West coast to Siaton Point, its Southern extreme, thence across to Tagolo Point (8°44′N 123°22′E / 8.733°N 123.367°E / 8.733; 123.367), Mindanao.
On the Southeast. From Tagolo Point, down the West coast of Mindanao to the Southwest extremity thence to the North coast of Basilan Island (6°45′N 122°04′E / 6.750°N 122.067°E / 6.750; 122.067), through this island to its Southern extremity, thence a line to Bitinan Island (6°04′N 121°27′E / 6.067°N 121.450°E / 6.067; 121.450) off the Eastern end of Jolo Island, through Jolo to a point in long. 121°04'E on its South coast, thence through Tapul and Lugus Islands and along the North coast of Tawi Tawi Island to Bongao Island off its Western end (5°01′N 119°45′E / 5.017°N 119.750°E / 5.017; 119.750), and from thence to Tanjong Labian, the Northeastern extreme of Borneo.
On the Southwest. The North coast of Borneo between Tanjong Labian and Tanjong Sempang Mangayau.
The Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu is named after the Sulu Sea. According to Sulu actor George Takei, "[Gene] Roddenberry's vision for Sulu was to represent all of Asia, being named for the Sulu Sea instead of using a specific country-specific name".
In the radio serial Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, the Sulu Sea was the locale for the episodes of "The Luminous Dragon Eye Ring".