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Sabah, Malaysia

Kinabalu Dives

Pacific waters make the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks Islands an ideal place to learn the basics and become a licensed diver. Visibility can get a little murky at time, but the corals and schools of colorful fish light up the gray sea floor. And for the patient and lucky ones the South China Sea puts on a show of turtles, whale and black tip sharks. A good way to choose your guide is to see which personality will match yours.

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.

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!

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!

You can dive in Sabah all year round, however visibility can be slightly lower during monsoon season from November to March.

You can choose from 1 day leisure dives to 3 day courses

Our dive instructors are PADI, NAUI and/or SDI certified. All three organisations provide accreditation that are internationally recognised and interchangeable. PADI and NAUI are more focused on recreational diving, while SDI has its roots in technical diving and can be more personalised. You may also see that there are PADI certified providers and PADI 5 Star IDC Certified providers. They are both able to certify PADI divers, but the 5 Star designation is meant to distinguish PADI centers that are committed to the community, environment and education and are actively involved in promoting the PADI brand. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

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.

Regarding diving and flying: Please make sure that you leave sufficient time after diving before you take a flight. After a single dive, you should make sure you have at least 18 hours before taking a flight and after a series of dives you should have at least 24 hours.