Joanne Swann

/Joanne Swann

About Joanne Swann

Company Director, PADI Master Instructor, Adventurer, Entrepreneur & Homemaker ! Joanne has worked in the travel & corporate world since 1992. A passionate conservation minded marine & wildlife enthusiast. Together with her husband Richard Swann they founded Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures based upon their own travel & dive experiences.

Effortless Travel In Borneo

In many ways technological advancement has changed the way we travel, making for hassle free and effortless booking options. In other words technology has totally revolutionised the tourism industry. Nowadays there are many online travel agents that allow you to book and plan your holiday at the click of a button. However with an overflow of feeds from different social media platforms, beautiful images and so many “must do’s” we are flooded with too much information and too many choices which can lead to a difficult decision process.

Research has shown that more than 70% of travellers now plan their trip on the internet, while only 13% still use high street travel agencies to prepare their itinerary.

While online travel agents offer the convenience of planning and booking your holiday via the world wide web, more effort and time will usually be necessary to research for a specialized attraction and very often in the online world you will meet sites giving you information with no proof of reliable sources. In Sabah for example there are plenty of niche attractions that do not get the recognition they deserve and may never be found just by hours of searching on the internet.

At Downbelow Adventures (aka Adventures in Borneo) we have recognised the need to filter the overwhelming amount of options presented to our clients.

With 20 years of credential, at Downbelow Adventures we pride ourselves as your Borneo Adventure Specialist. Our packages are tailor made by people who are passionate & highly experienced in the art of travelling. Our objective is for you to enjoy the best of Borneo and take away an experience of a lifetime – effortlessly. Whether you are looking for a budget friendly holiday package or a high end luxurious escape, our team of experts will create a personalised itinerary to best suit your interest and wish list maximising your time in country and saving you money. In other words, effortless travel in Borneo!

We also offer our clients the simplicity of online bookings with instant confirmation and payment with no booking & credit card fees. Online bookings still enjoy our full customer service with a dedicated travel consultant for tailored itinerary making a seamless and even more effortless travel in Borneo experience.

So get in touch with us today, tell us your travel dates, number of people traveling, your budget and your interests and we will present to you a tailored suggested itinerary. Alternatively visit our website where a selected number of tailored packages are available online.

Effortless Travel In Borneo2019-04-19T15:07:59+08:00

Fund-raising for SPCA KK

Anyone that knows us here at Downbelow is familiar with our commitment to animal welfare. In 2017 we built and donated a shelter for SPCA KK (Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kota Kinabalu) to accommodate their rescue cats. We also sponsor a full time member of staff to work in the shelter and contribute to many of the monthly veterinary bills. Our Director Joanne Swann visits every week volunteering her time to help keep the cats healthy. She also plays a key role in the adoption program.

Fund-raising for SPCA KK

Those of you that know SPCA KK would have seen the terrible sad situation recently when more than 40 cats were rescued from an apartment where the owner locked them inside and abandoned them with no food and water, resulting in a tragic situation. Sadly 7 kittens died but the rest have been taken in by SPCA KK. The sudden in-flux of cats is putting a lot of strain on the resources at the shelter to a point where maintaining the current health of the the existing cats and providing the required treatment and care for the new cats is in the balance.

Fund-raising for SPCA KK

Therefore we are attempting to raise money to recruit an additional part-time member of staff and also provide funds to treat some of the new cats medical needs. We are committed to helping SPCA KK in the prevention of cruelty to animals and the rehabilitation of those animals that have suffered.

Fund-raising for SPCA KK

Our aim is to raise MYR 6000.00 (GBP 1200.00) and our company Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures will MATCH all donations, doubling the amount of money raised.

Please help us by making a donation to our charity & conservation fund via PayPal.

Through our network of friends, clients & partners we can help make a big difference. Every little bit helps. Thank you in advance for your support.

Fund-raising for SPCA KK2018-12-29T09:48:22+08:00

Run 7K to Save A Stray !

The Downbelow office girls have teamed up with IAPWA (International Aid for the Protection & Welfare of Animals) and will Run 7K to Save a Stray on 28th July 2018.

Anyone that knows us is already familiar with our commitment to animal welfare. In 2017 we built a cat shelter for SPCA KK (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Kota Kinabalu). The shelter is now home to 57 cats, we fund staff to run the shelter, play an active role in the animals health & welfare and support SPCA’s adoption program.

Our next project is to help IAPWA with their efforts in Borneo and we are kicking off with a sponsored run!

Save A Stray

The Plight Of Stray Cats & Dogs in Borneo

Thousands of dogs and cats in Borneo have no owner to feed them or provide them with a safe place to sleep. When they are ill they have no owner to care for them to get the treatment they need. Under these conditions, many live just a few months or years during which time they struggle to survive, live miserable lives and die a painful death.

IAPWA have been working in Borneo since 2009 to change this and are a lifeline for these animals through their facility and the veterinary support they provide to local sanctuaries and outreach programmes in remote regions. Due to public support they have been able to:

• End the inhumane methods of population control, saving thousands of lives.
• Neuter approximately 3000 dogs and cats every year to prevent them being born to suffer
• Provide vital veterinary treatment for those who need it
• Find loving homes through our adoption programme
• Run education programmes to create a more compassionate community
• Change legislation to prohibit the human consumption of dog and cat meat
• Make animal fighting illegal
• Increase penalties for animal cruelty
• Support local sanctuaries with veterinary care for the dogs and cats they rescue
• Establish outreach projects in remote areas with no access to veterinary care

Save A Stray Day

This coming weekend welcomes in Save A Stray Day so we are taking to the streets with the IAPWA veterinary team to run the 7K Sutera Harbour Fun Run, hoping that you – our friends, family, clients, partners and associates will sponsor us!

We are taking our training seriously. Nicky Stevens the founder & CEO of IAPWA is in Borneo to make sure we are not slacking off just one week before the event !

Save A Stray

Sponsor 0ur 7K Run & Save A Stray

For £3 (MYR 20.00) we can vaccinate a puppy or kitten against disease. For £5 (MYR 30.00) we can feed a stray for 2 weeks during surgery / treatment time and for £10 (MYR 60.00) we can also neuter them to prevent so much suffering. With your support for this project we can make an even bigger difference to the lives of thousands of strays who need our help.

Donate Now


You do not need a PayPal account to use this service. 100% of the money you donate will be given to the IAPWA Borneo Team (minus PayPal fees). Please state in the payment reference that this is a donation to IAPWA Borneo.

Huge thanks in advance to anyone that will be supporting us, keep an eye on our social media FaceBook, Instagram & Twitter for race updates on 29th July !

Save A Stray

Run 7K to Save A Stray !2019-05-25T14:33:12+08:00

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor – 16 Day Course

Are you looking for something extraordinary, to do something others can only dream of, to help people transform their lives, to open doors you didn’t even know existed?

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

All of this, and more, awaits you as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. The Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) program is one of two distinct components of PADI’s Instructor Development Course (IDC) the core of PADI Instructor training. The first portion is the Assistant Instructor (AI) course followed by the Open Water Scuba Instructor program.

We offer this program over a period of 16 Days to the already qualified PADI Divemaster with a minimum of 100 logged dives. Or if you prefer we offer the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course as part of a one month program for those people that want to gain more experience within a PADI dive centre.

The Fun Part

It’s about life transformations—both yours and those around you.
The fun part of instructor training is interacting with course participants while creating friendships that continue long after the course concludes. You’ll begin networking with other professionals and begin to explore PADI Pro dive jobs worldwide. You’ll also have the opportunity to continue your professional education by participating in specialty instructor courses, which train you to teach specialties after instructor certification and become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

The Challenging Part

The challenging part of this course is your personal commitment to the training. The course requires you to complete all the self-study Knowledge Reviews before the course begins and to prepare assignments for teaching presentations daily. Organization and dedication are key. Our PADI eLearning portal provides come excellent pre-course training.

What You Learn

During the course you’ll learn how to apply the PADI System of Education by successfully presenting confined and open water teaching presentations and knowledge development presentations. You will learn how to demonstrate and evaluate dive skills. Your watermanship & dive theory ability is assessed and fine tuned. You will have plenty of training and practice time to achieve a passing score in these areas.

PADI Platinum Course Director Richard and the Downbelow Go PRO team will help you to develop a clear understanding of the PADI Philosophy of Continuing Education and the full range of PADI programs. We will show you how to take advantage of the teaching materials and tools, including digital products that are available to you as a PADI Instructor.

Teaching is an easy and exhilarating experience once you’ve understood the basic teaching methods and how to fully use the PADI system! The programs are performance based; feedback and encouragement for your improvement is guaranteed throughout the course to inform you of your progress and level of proficiency.

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor

What You Can Teach

After becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, you will be able to conduct the entire range of PADI programs from Discover Scuba Diving up to Divemaster. You may also choose to acquire specialty instructor ratings in areas of interest, such as Digital Underwater Photographer or Enriched Air Diver.

The Scuba Gear You UsePADI CDC LOGO
We encourage all PADI professionals to own their own dive equipment.

The Learning Materials You Need
The PADI Instructor Development Course crewpak includes all the materials needed to prepare for the Instructor Development Course. The 23-item pack includes:
• PADI’s Guide to Teaching
• Instructor cue cards for PADI’s core courses (Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster)

• Lesson planning slates for confined and open water

• Quiz and exam booklets for the core courses
• Specialty Course Instructor Manual Prerequisites

To qualify for training as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, you must
• Be Certified Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and Divemaster or equivalents.
You MUST be able to show proof all previous qualifications in the form of a bonafide qualification card.
• Be Certified as an Open Water Diver for at least 6 months.
• First Aid & CPR training completed within the last 24 months (PADI Emergency First Response is recommended)
• Diving Medical Statement signed and dated by a physician and within the last 12 months prior to the PADI IE
• Logged at least 60 open water scuba dives.
• Experience in deep, night & navigation diving.
If you do not meet any of the above mentioned pre-requisites please talk to us. We can tailor the program to suit your requirement and goals.

Your Next Adventure

You’ll want to continue your professional training by completing courses that allow you to teach beyond the core courses. For example, Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor, Emergency First Response Instructor, and specialty instructor courses complement your Open Water Scuba Instructor rating and add to your professional portfolio. Our 16 day PADI Instructor Development Course includes the Emergency First Response Instructor Course for FREE.

You can save money by booking your PADI Instructor Development Course ONLINE.

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor – 16 Day Course2018-07-08T09:02:04+08:00

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

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

The world heritage site of Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo is one of the states most popular nature attractions and a must visit location. Not just once but time and time again. At any opportunity Richard and I will visit for a day trip or overnight stay.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

We adore Kinabalu Park’s cooler fresh air (about 25 degrees during the day and 16 degrees at night). We are Birding enthusiasts and Kinabalu National Park is a birders paradise. There is a very interesting canopy walk 45m above the jungle forest floor and stunning waterfalls for hiking enthusiasts. Visitors can soak in the hot water springs and discover unusual plant and animal life. Kinabalu National Park is also home to the tallest mountain in Malaysia – Mount Kinabalu.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

Kinabalu National Park is so diverse, not just in fauna and flora, but also in ways to explore it. Anything is possible – from a short day trip to spending 3 days or more.  Established as a state national park in 1964 before the droves of tourists began to visit. Restrictions were put in place, which kept general visitation to only some parts and routes, which to this day has kept human activities in the area to a minimum, while still offering the visitor plenty to see.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

In December 2000, Kinabalu National Park was designated as Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its “outstanding universal values” and one of the most important biological sites in the world.

We at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures offer Kinabalu National Park packages, which include accommodation in the park itself. There are a variety of accommodation options. We can tailor your Kinabalu Park program with accommodation that suits your needs and style.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

Our personal favourite accommodation in Kinabalu National Park is Kinabalu Lodge (images of the lodge are featured in this blog). A premier chalet with 3 bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, lounge, TV area, stunning balconies with views of Mt Kinabalu and a sunken fireplace. Kinabalu Lodge is a hidden gem within the park. We are Birding enthusiasts so we are often asked to organise and conduct specialised Birding itineraries and Kinabalu Lodge in Kinabalu National Park never fails to disappoint.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo

Contact us at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures to arrange your holiday to Kinabalu National Park, your trekking adventure and your specialised Birding Tour.

Kinabalu National Park Sabah Borneo2018-02-03T00:57:59+08:00

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari

The Longest River in Sabah & Malaysia

A Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari is a must when visiting Sabah. The Kinabatangan River is home to some of the most varied and easily accessible wildlife in all of South East Asia. The Kinabatangan is Sabah‘s longest river and the second longest in the whole of Malaysia. Rising from the eastern Witta Range of Sabah, the Kinabatangan River begins its 350 mile (563km) north-easterly course towards the Sulu Sea. About 20 oxbow lakes form part of the lower regions of the river. Created over time and separated from the main river as erosion and deposits of soil changed the river’s course, oxbow lakes are paradise for bird watchers.

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari

River People, or Orang Sungei, live in small settlements spread out along the river. It’s fascinating to see their self sufficient, peaceful homes fully operational, making a living through fishing the lakes and rivers and farming vegetables on its banks. They use the forests of the Kinabatangan as a source of building material, firewood food and medicine.

Ten Different Primates in One Location (11 including you)

WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund and one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations) states that this area is one of only two known places on earth where 10 primate species can be found. Some of these include orang utan, proboscis monkey, macaques, maroon langur and Bornean gibbon, most of which are endemic to Borneo.

Bird lovers will find the bird watching incredible. All eight of Borneo’s hornbill species are seen regularly. Occasionally, 2 species of the gorgeous pitas can be spotted too, as well as the storm stork and the bizarre oriental darter also known as the snake bird. Of the 200 other species of birds recorded in the area, 8 of these are on Malaysia’s threatened bird species list.

The Lower Kinabatangan is also home to Bornean pygmy elephants, which are a recently discovered species and endemic to this region.

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari

Planning a Visit to Kinabatangan River?

Most of the wildlife lodges are concentrated around the Sukau area, which is very accessible and offers a wide range of facilities, here our partner is Sukau Rainforest Lodge, an award winning premium lodge with very comfortable accommodation & great food. We also like to travel slightly off the beaten track we have two wonderful lodges located in Kampung Bilit, a tiny village with about 150 inhabitants. The lodges offer very comfortable and clean accommodation and are considered a mid-range option. Bilit village is quiet with very little disturbance made to the surrounding forest and unlike Sukau you don’t have lodge after lodge along the river-bank. The staff at the lodges are mostly from Kampung Bilit and the guides are extremely knowledgeable about the local wildlife, plants and medicine, always ensuring that you are well informed on the diverse ecosystem that surrounds you. Last but not least is our preferred choice in Abai. A little further up-stream, again very quiet. Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort offers very comfortable accommodation in an ideal location.

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari

A recommended length of stay for a Kinabatangan River wildlife safari is 2 nights / 3 days. During this time you’re offered various riverboat safari trips all of about 2 hours duration, jungle night walks or night safari riverboat trips. Also offered within the package is a 3 hour hike, to one of the Oxbow Lakes. Our Kinabatangan River wildlife safari can can also be combined with trips to Turtle Island, Gomantong Caves, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Labuk Bay.

On a recent 3D/2N visit to Bilit Adventure Lodge, our mid range partner we saw the following: Silvered Langur (adults and juveniles), Long Tail and Pig Tail Macaques, Proboscis monkeys (adults and juveniles), Orang Utan (mothers and babies) Saltwater Crocodiles, Bearded Pigs, Rhinoceros, Wrinkled and Asian Black Hornbills, Giant Moths, Lantern Bugs, Leaf Insects, Frogs, Scorpions, Field Millipedes and last but not least the Bornean Pygmy Elephants. On our birds-spotted list we’ve noted Scarlet Rumped Trogon, Garnet Pitta, White Rumped Shama, Dollorbird, Stork Billed and Blue Eared Kingfisher, Storm Stork, Jerdon’s Baza, Crested Serpent Eagle, Oriental Darter, Woodpeckers, Purple Heron and Egrets.

Contact our specialist team at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures to tailor your perfect Kinabatangan River wildlife safari.

Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari2018-12-16T08:07:48+08:00

Get Fit Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb

Considering whether to climb Mount Kinabalu whilst traveling Sabah, Borneo?

Wondering how challenging is the Mount Kinabalu Climb and how fit you need to be. You do not need to be super fit to climb Mount Kinabalu but you do need to be in good physical condition.

Get Fit Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb

Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is a tough physical challenge but not a technical climb as such. The average climber ascends from the starting point of Timpohon Gate within Kinabalu Park to Panalaban (aka Laban Rata), located a.s.l 3,333m in approximatley 4 – 6 hours. Our good friend Ravi Tharumalingam two time Mt Everest submitter recommends taking your time and aiming for a minimum 6 hour ascent time to reduce the effects of altitude sickness which can effect some people at this elevation.

Unrelenting large, seemingly endless rock steps form the well trodden path. The route is 99% uphill and the secret to a successfully climb is to take it slowly, unless you’re competing in the annual Kinabalu Climbathon, climbing Mt. Kinabalu is not a competition.

Rest huts are located along the route at 1KM intervals, equipped with squat toilets and untreated water they provide a seating area and an opportunity to discuss with other climbers the climbing experience.

The benefits of packing light for your Mt. Kinabalu climb becomes evident soon after you start your climb when everything starts to feel 10kg heavier than when you packed. Refer to our Preparation & FAQ page for a suggested packing list. Porters are available and can be requested upon booking, extra fees apply.

Clouds will begin to close in and more often than not it will begin raining around 12 noon and usually disperse around 5pm just in time for sunset.

Get Fit Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb

Once you arrive at the Panalaban plateau you will find your basic accommodation. There are three huts to accommodate climbers, Laban Rata Resthouse, Pendant Hut and Lamaing Hut. All provide dormitory accommodation. Laban Rata & Pendant Hut also have private rooms available. If the weather has heated the water its slightly warmer than freezing cold, but don’t expect any luxuries at the overnight rest stop.

Temperatures at Laban Rata are 6 – 10°C at night, plummeting further to 2°C at the summit with wind chill sometimes subtracting yet another few degrees from that.

The summit ascent starts at 2.30am and this is when a good torchlight is required. The final ascent from Laban Rata passing through the final check point in the dark is gruelling, steep slopes and some ropes to assist pave the route. If it’s a clear night, do take a moment to enjoy the night sky, with no light pollution its breathtaking.

Most people take around 2-3 hours to reach Mount Kinabalu’s summit from the Panalaban plateau, the objective is to arrive just before sunrise. If your ascent the day prior was quick then your guide may suggest you begin later than 2:30 am to avoid a long wait at the summit. The views at the top are spectacular. It can be extremely cold up there, especially since you may be sweating from the physical excursion then waiting in surrounding temperatures of 2°C for the sun to rise so make sure you take dry warm clothes. Due to the mountains close proximity to the equator Mt Kinabalu is not snow capped, so the mountains granite surface is visible year round. Take  a moment to appreciate the mountains beauty, you might even see hardcore paragliders going for an alternative descent.

Get Fit Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb

Once sunrise is over and you have absorbed enough of the views then its time to begin the descent. If you are climbing with the optional Via Ferrata activities then you will descend via a different route which will involve ropes & bridges, if you are descending via the standard route, you will follow the same route as the ascent. Irrespective your decent from Panalaban follows the same route as the ascent.

The descent, including breakfast at Laban Rata, will take 5 – 9 hours depending on your pace. People often report the descent being more challenging than the ascent due to the unrelenting use of your knee joints and pressure on your shins & surrounding muscles. Our advice is to take your time and enjoy the entire experience.

Once you reach Timpohon Gate (the starting & ending point) our guide will show you where to find the park shuttle bus which will bring you 5.5km down the windy roads back to the Balsam Cafe where you will meet our team to bring you back to Kota Kinabalu, unless you wish to remain another night at Kinabalu Park or Poring Hot Springs in the various lodges available.

How should i prepare to climb Mt Kinabalu

• A good amount of outdoor cardiovascular exercise (power walking, cycling, running, mountain biking etc) and getting out for long days in the hills whenever possible is great preparation for your climb.
• We recommend all climbers take cardiovascular sports at least twice a week, with each session being a minimum of 2 hours in duration at a medium intensity.
• Fitness training should begin 2-3 months leading up to your trip, this way you should be well prepared.

We have a number of Mount Kinabalu climbing packages available to suit your budget and requirement. Contact Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures for more information.

Get Fit Mount Kinabalu Summit Climb2018-07-13T22:11:17+08:00

Success PADI Instructor Development Course

Congratulations to our November / December candidates for successfully completing our PADI Instructor Development Course and becoming PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors. You are now at a super exciting point of your scuba diving career where you have a world of opportunities to choose from. Where in the world do you want to work? Previous candidates of Downbelow are located all over the globe. Check out the PADI employment board to see what jobs are on offer and begin living your dream!

Success PADI Instructor Development Course

Not Yet A PADI Instructor?

Join us for our next PADI IDC. Attitude & teamwork are the keys to success during your PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC). The IDC is great fun as well as a rewarding and unforgettable experience where you meet people that will likely become lifelong friends.

Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard & Pablo PADI Course Director together with our Downbelow Go PRO team will help you develop a clear understanding of the PADI philosophy of continuing education and the full range of PADI programs. We will show you how to take advantage of the teaching materials and tools, including digital products that are available to you as a PADI Instructor.

Teaching is an easy and exhilarating experience once you’ve understood the basic teaching methods and how to fully use the PADI system. The programs are performance based; feedback and encouragement for your improvement is guaranteed throughout the course to inform you of your progress and level of proficiency.

Our modern classroom facilities located at our head office are used for the PADI Instructor Development Course presentations by PADI Course Directors Richard & Pablo and their Go PRO team as well as the IDC candidates. Knowledge development presentation on topics such as dive theory, builds on the candidates knowledge base and is essential to teaching students.

Theory workshops will take place in the classroom, however we encourage candidates to study independently on their own time too. There are valuable benefits to staying in our adventure lodge during the IDC so you can spend evenings in study groups and practicing presentations in our purpose built facilities. This also develops a great team spirit and bond.

Success PADI Instructor Development Course

Our PADI Instructor Development Course – IDC Package Includes Three Instructor Courses

• PADI Assistant Instructor Course (AI)
• PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
• Emergency First Response Instructor Course (EFRI).

If you already have any of these qualifications, we can tailor your training accordingly.

Once all three courses are successfully completed, you will be prepared for the PADI Instructor Examination (IE), which is a 2 day standardized, objective evaluation conducted by PADI Instructor Examiners from PADI Asia Pacific. We conduct the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) 5 times every year directly before the PADI IE.

This way our candidates knowledge and skills are fresh and fully prepared for the PADI IE evaluation. To find out more about Downbelow’s next IDC in Asia, check out our PADI Instructor Development Courses IDC schedule page. Visit our FAQ page for lots of answers to your questions.

What can I do after I become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor?

You can enroll in our PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer preparation course where you will be taught five additional PADI Specialty Instructor Courses and gain valuable teaching experience.

Not yet a PADI Divemaster? It’s no problem. You can join us at any diver level and we will design a program for you that incorporates all required prerequisite courses before the IDC.

Contact us at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures to learn more about our internship options.

Success PADI Instructor Development Course2018-02-03T00:58:00+08:00

Awarded PADI Career Development Centre

Everyone at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures S/B is feeling very proud right now on receiving the news that PADI have awarded us the prestigious distinction of PADI Career Development Centre, moving us into the highest level of educational professionalism in our industry.

Awarded PADI Career Development Centre

We are also very touched by all the amazing comments on facebook from so many clients & friends. Downbelow began life as a small two person UK dive centre almost two decades ago. Since then we have developed into a respected company with more than forty employees. With exemplary work & environmental ethics, Downbelow has become a way of life. Our team play a huge role in what makes Downbelow very special, our joint commitment to learn, to educate and to share great experiences is what keeps us motivated, dynamic and full of energy. We provide careers and opportunity for all that work within the company and everyone that chooses to educate themselves through us and its fantastic to gain such prestigious recognition for our efforts.

How to Become a PADI Scuba Instructor 

Our two resident PADI Course Directors & GoPro Team not only prepare people to be successful in becoming future PADI instructors, we are providing employees for our growing industry and creating ambassadors for our sport, oceans, outdoor and diving lifestyle.

Our next PADI Instructor Development Course begins 29th January 2018. Come and join us in the knowledge that you have chosen a PADI Career Development Centre to start your career in scuba diving. We remain 100% commited to creating life changing opportunities for professionals in the dive industry.

Awarded PADI Career Development Centre2018-02-03T00:58:00+08:00