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Kinabalu Dives

From December to March, it's whaleshark season in the waters around Kota Kinabalu, so divers hoping to tick off their bucket list should head to the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Islands. Outside this season, it's still a great place for novice divers as the currents are gentle and you'll see corals, schools of colourful fish and the occasional turtle.
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
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Browse 14 Options for Kinabalu Dives

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All Options for Kinabalu Dives

Tried & Tested

1-Day Leisure (2 dives)

Join-in Max: 10 guests
BSA

Borneo Scuba Academy

4 years experience

1-Day Leisure (2 dives)

Flexible Cancellation Join-in Max: 24 guests
SJ

Scuba Junkie

9 years experience
Tried & Tested

1-Day Leisure (2 dives)

Flexible Cancellation Join-in Max: 12 guests
NBW

Navi Borneo Waters

27 years experience

1-Day Leisure (3 dives)

Flexible Cancellation Join-in Max: 30 guests
JS

JSK Scuba

22 years experience
Tried & Tested

Discover Scuba Diving

Join-in Max: 4 guests
BSA

Borneo Scuba Academy

4 years experience

1-Day Leisure (3 dives)

Flexible Cancellation Join-in Max: 24 guests
SJ

Scuba Junkie

9 years experience
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Helpful Questions from Other Travellers

Q
How do I get there?
A
The diving takes place off the islands off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, primarily Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park Islands. The providers will provide water transport to the islands from Jesselton Ferry Terminal at Kota Kinabalu. To get to Kota Kinabalu you will need to catch a flight from any of the major airports in Malaysia or many of the international ones in the region. If you are already in Borneo you can reach Kota Kinabalu overland via bus.
Q
Do I need to go with a guide?
A
If you would like to get your dive certification, going with a guide is mandatory as the guide will help you train and gain skills and confidence underwater. If you just fancy a leisure dive, a great guide who has been diving in the area for years will also show you the cool underwater spots that you may not discover yourself. And, as you know, you should always have a partner diver with you at all times (just in case!), so a dive guide will not only show you the great dive spots, but can also be at hand for any emergencies!
Q
Do I need to train up?
A
Most of the time diving is not a strenuous activity, and only requires low levels of fitness particularly in tropical waters. However, you should be a moderately strong swimmer and be of moderate fitness level in case the currents are strong on the day of your dive. If you are looking to obtain a PADI, SDI or NAUI licence, you should be able to swim 200m. On a slightly separate note, please note that it is not advisable to fly for at least 18 hours after completing several dives as this may cause decompression sickness so please do plan your travel accordingly!
Q
What's the best time to go?
A
The best months to visit are April, May, June, July, August, September, October
We recommend the above period because you would have:
  • Better visibility
  • Good weather
Q
Any tips for what to do in the area?
A
Kota Kinabalu is a great town with a lot going on at any given point in time. If you're a fan of wandering about colourful night markets, check out the seafood at the Sinsuran Night Market which is frequented by many West Malaysians because of the relatively low prices of the seafood in Kota Kinabalu, or the Filipino Market (close to Le Meridien hotel) which bursts into life each evening and has everything from cooked food to handicraft. Kota Kinabalu has also been voted to have some of the best sunsets in the world (we can attest to that!) so, come sunset, do head down to the waterfront to see the colours and shapes in the sky shift and change. When we were there, the sunset lingered and changed from pink to purple to a flaming orange. Finally, the food! Kota Kinabalu has incredibly yummy food if you know where to go. A couple of our favourites are: the sticky chicken wings at Fatt Kee Coffee Shop (Ang's Hotel, Beach Street) and the dry bak kut teh at Sin Kee Bak Kut Teh (at Jalan Pantai) - they're within a minute's walk of each other so if you're hungry, you can try both! Some other places we like: Jothy Curry House for the banana roti, Keng Wan Hing for the fresh red bean bun and Grabbing Hands if you are craving a juicy burger to reward yourself after the dives.
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