Monthly Archives: March 2018


Useful Information for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving 

We have put together some useful information for snorkelling and scuba diving. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park just offshore the city is a fantastic location for snorkelling & scuba diving day trips for beginners and experienced water enthusiasts.

However not all day trips are the same, in fact there are some pretty major differences that you should be aware of before parting with your hard earned dollars.

Useful Information for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving 

We Pride Ourselves In Customised Small Group Activities

Snorkelling & scuba diving day trips range in price between MYR 200.00 and MYR 450.00 per person per day and fall into three categories.

  1. Do It Yourself (D.I.Y): You need to buy your own jetty ticket and permit to enter the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, rent or take along your own equipment, use the public water taxi’s and snorkel from the public beaches. D.I.Y options are not usually suitable for scuba divers.
  2. Day Tour Operators (D.T.O): Here you can join a daily trip organised by operators based on the mainland of Kota Kinabalu. You will need to find your way to the mainland jetty, from there you will join the operators boat for the day. Usually included in the package are the jetty fees, permit fees, equipment rental and a local set lunch at one of the public cafe’s on the public island.
  3. Specialised Programs: There are only two companies, one of which is Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures Sdn Bhd offering specialised snorkelling & scuba diving programs from within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park itself. By joining one of these programs you will be collected from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu and join a personalised program away from the crowds. Your jetty fees, permit fees, equipment, professionally qualified guide will be included in the program.

Options 1 & 2 are the cheaper options and do not provide you with the best experience of the underwater world. If you decide on a D.I.Y package you will be limited to crowed public beaches where the coral has been damaged beyond recognition from the endless amount of tourists climbing over it. Option 2, joining a day tour operator limits your opportunity to see the best sites on the day. You will be one of many clients on the boat and everyone will have different levels of experience, divers and snorkelers will be mixed together, beginners mixed with more advanced divers on the same dive site.

Things You Need To Know About Snorkelling and Scuba Diving

At Downbelow We Have Small Groups on Different Boats to Maximise Your Experience

Surprisingly, operators are un-regulated in Sabah in terms of the qualification required to take people snorkelling and scuba diving which means you will likely be with a guide that does not hold any professional qualification to take you into the water and does not understand the ocean well enough to know where to take you to see the best marine life.

By joining a specialised snorkelling safari or scuba diving program with Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures. You are giving yourself the best opportunity to see the best coral sites within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and since you are probably only visiting once or twice in a lifetime it is surely worth the extra few dollars. Our programs are specialised which means they are conducted by professionally qualified guides who will ensure your safety and enjoyment. We know which coral sites are performing well on the day and since we do not mix different levels of experience and we do not mix people on different activities, your experience is not compromised. During your surface interval you return to one of our private PADI 5 Star CDC Dive Centres, either on Gaya Island or Manukan Island away from the crowds on the public beaches used by the D.I.Y & D.T.O’s.

Useful Information for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving 

Between Activities We Return To Our Private PADI 5* Dive Centres. Away From The Crowds.

Another important factor is safety. Cheaper packages have to cut the cost somewhere and its usually on maintenance, equipment testing, air filters for tanks and servicing. All these are hidden from you, you don’t know if your equipment has been sanitised, you don’t know if the air filter on the compressor is regularity changed and you don’t see the service history of your equipment. At Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures we have qualified professionals in charge of our equipment maintenance and we do not compromise to save money.

Our specialised programs are designed and managed by our resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann, PADI Course Director Pablo and their team of PADI professionals. Our wealth of experience ensures that you have the best experience during your snorkelling and scuba diving program. To book your snorkelling & scuba diving specialised program contact us or book online.

Useful Information for Snorkelling and Scuba Diving 2018-04-05T13:26:09+08:00

February 2018 Monthly Newsletter

Hi everyone! In this post, get to know Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures and read about our activities in the February 2018 Monthly Newsletter. We have gathered a selection of special happenings for your reading pleasure as well as to showcase the beauty of Sabah and give you an insight on us as a company. This month, it had been very eventful and lively as Downbelow’s Managing Director and PADI Platinum Course Director Richard Swann explores Kinabalu Park and saw interesting species of birds, Work for a Career intern Zul begins his PADI Divemaster course, the British Army Royal Gurkha Rifles arrives at Downbelow PADI 5 Star CDC Dive Centre, our guests go jungle trekking in Mt Alab, and more exciting news!

To download the newsletter, click here. For further info, you can contact us at +6012 866 1935 or email us at

February 2018 Monthly Newsletter

February 2018 Monthly Newsletter

February 2018 Monthly Newsletter2018-03-22T14:43:27+08:00

Tabin – Malaysia’s Natural Bird Aviary

Considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia with a total area of 122,539 hectares, Tabin Wildlife Reserve comprises of primarily virgin lowland dipterocarp forest covering surrounded by an outer zone of secondary forest which has been selectively logged in the past. Read on to get an insight on Tabin – Malaysia’s Natural Bird Aviary.

There are three Virgin Forest Reserves within Tabin, about 1,000 hectares of freshwater swamp forest and 200 hectares of mangrove forest can be found in the northeast part of the wildlife reserve. The reserve is characterized by flat lowlands and moderate to steep slopes, ranging from 100-300 meters above sea level with Hatton Hill as the highest point at 571 meters above sea level.

Tabin - Malaysia's Natural Bird Aviary

Tabin posses a truly exceptional quality as a natural aviary, it also welcomes photography enthusiasts to capture magnificent wildlife shot such as this one here of a Great Egret, grooming its feathers.

Another unique characteristic of Tabin being its natural mineral sources resulting from young sedimentary formation in the area, this includes three active mud volcanoes which provides salt licks for large mammals. Mud volcano is a rare geological feature in Sabah.

Because of this, several different types of ecosystem are able to coexist within Tabin’s enclosure giving way to the amazing wildlife diversity – especially its bird life!

Among the 688 species of birds of Borneo, some 300 species can be found in Tabin Wildlife Reserve arguably making Tabin the host of more species of birds compared to Danum Valley. With better light penetration in its forest canopies, birding in Tabin is a delight! All of which makes Tabin an excellent natural bird aviary.

Up to a hundred species can be spotted and heard during one day of birding activity in Tabin. Apart from having its own resident bird expert, the Tabin Wildlife Resort also designs its facility to make birding a most rewarding activity. Open sided restaurant as well as observation towers and bird hides are strategically located within the reserve to benefit its visitors.

Tabin - Malaysia's Natural Bird Aviary

Rhinoceros Hornbills perched on a Fishtail Palm Tree at Tabin Wildlife Reserve

All 8 species of Borneo’s hornbills are recorded here, with the Rhinoceros Hornbill, White Crowned Hornbill and Wrinkled Hornbill topping the most sightings. At least 9 of the 56 species of Borneo’s endemic bird species are also recorded in Tabin namely Blue-Headed Pitta, Blue Banded Pitta, Bornean Banded Pitta, Black Throated Wren Babbler, Bornean Frogmouth, Bornean Black Magpie, Bornean Blue Flycatcher, Bornean Ground Cuckoo, and White Crowned Shama. To top this list, 9 species of highly threatened bird species also recorded in Tabin as per the Birdlife Data Zone are Large Green Pigeon, Short-toed Coucal, Storm’s Stork, Wallace’s Hawk Eagle, Blue Banded Kingfisher, Blue Headed Pitta, Hook Billed Bulbul, Bornean Wren Babbler and Large-billed Blue Flycatcher.

Tabin - Malaysia's Natural Bird Aviary

The greater openness of the secondary forest at Tabin makes some birds easier to see than in the more dense primary forest, especially for raptors, hornbills and canopy flock species. Seen here is the Crested Serpent Eagle – prolific yet widespread in Sabah.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve was listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA : MY027) in 2003, firmly stating its status as a prominent area for birds and biodiversity. Important Bird and Biodiversity Area or IBA is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations. IBA was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International, currently there are over 12,000 IBAs worldwide and only 55 in Malaysia including Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

We are birding enthusiasts ourselves so we’ve scouted out the best places in Sabah for birding experiences. Our 3D/2N Specialised Birding package in Tabin Wildlife Reserve is among the best in Asia and its this months PROMOTION.

Contact us for more information on tailored wildlife packages.

Tabin – Malaysia’s Natural Bird Aviary2018-03-20T16:54:25+08:00