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Kinabalu Snorkelling

If you have half a day to spare at Kota Kinabalu, head to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Islands to snorkel. Visibility can get murky at times but the waters are gentle, and you'll see colourful coral reefs, schools of fish and perhaps a friendly turtle!
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
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Helpful Questions from Other Travellers

Q
How do I get there?
A
Snorkelling takes place off the islands off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, primarily Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (TARP) Islands. To get to Kota Kinabalu you will need to catch a flight from any of the major Malaysian airports and many of the international ones in the region. If you are already in Borneo you can reach Kota Kinabalu overland via bus.  You can get to the islands by taking a boat from Jesselton Ferry Terminal in Kota Kinabalu. The providers will provide water transport from Jesselton Ferry Terminal.
Q
Do I need to go with a guide?
A
Other than providing all the necessary gear, an experienced guide can provide you a more relaxed and enjoyable experience by pointing out all the underwater creatures that you might otherwise miss. Also good to have around in case of any unforseen situations.
Q
Do I need to train up?
A
Snorkelling requires only a minimum level of fitness, but you should have moderate levels of energy to swim/flounder in the water for a few hours. Swimming ability is not absolutely necessary, as you can wear a life jacket, but you should be comfortable in the water.
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!
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