Dive Sites & Scuba Diving In TARP
There are not many places in the world that offer a bustling city full of modern facilities and then right on the doorstep, just 8 minutes by speedboat from the central entertainment district, a stunning tropical marine paradise. Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu, is such a place and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, locally known as the TAR Park, is home to Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive & Adventure Centre on Gaya Island, just 8 minutes by speedboat from the mainland.
Named after Malaysia’s first prime minister, covering and area of 50km², the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park was gazetted as a national park in 1974. Consequently the area’s fauna, flora and marine eco-systems enjoy the protection of the government appointed environmental body, Sabah Parks. So, what is scuba diving like in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park? Read on and we will tell you it’s fascinating dive sites and marine life!
The Dive Sites
Dive sites within the park offer some great scuba diving for beginners and experienced divers alike. TARP is also great for underwater photographers, providing lots of macro subjects in relatively shallow calm water.
The coral reefs feature lots of very healthy hard and soft coral. Our scuba diving guests are often very surprised to see such healthy corals so close to a city. We have 49 dive sites to choose from & our divemasters will choose the best dive sites depending on the sea & weather conditions, plus individual diver ability on the day.
Dive sites are predominantly sloping coral reef and sand from 2m to 25m depth. We also have mangrove areas providing protection for juvenile fish. In the park, we have the KM Kuraman Wreck Dive Site which is home to a variety of critters and offers a great intro to wreck diving, especially for those completing a PADI Advanced Course.
The Marine Life
Macro life is what we are passionate about, but having said that, there are plenty of larger marine creatures to be found. We regularly see turtles and rays and one of our nearby dive sites became home to a small group of Black Tip Reef Sharks.
February to April is traditionally whaleshark season however sightings are not guaranteed and quite rare but its fun to know we share their water and they could appear any time during the season. Schools of barracuda, snappers and fusiliers are common. We often see cuttlefish, moray eels, lionfish and pufferfish. Nudibranchs are common, so too are all 7 species of clownfish, all of which can be seen in just one dive site! Many species of crustaceans, scorpionfish, pipefish, demon stingers, cuttlefish and stonefish are also usual suspects. We often find frogfish, ghostpipefish and, once in a while, the highly prized blue ringed octopus!
Multiple day dive packages offer great value for money and you won’t see the same dive site twice – unless you wanted to of course, which does happen!
If you are planning to travel to Sabah Malaysian Borneo and wish to experience what diving is like in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, we would be more than happy to arrange your scuba diving program at our Downbelow PADI 5 Star CDC Dive Centre Manukan Island or Downbelow PADI 5 Star CDC Dive Centre Gaya Island. Our knowledgable and friendly Travel Centre team can assist you with your enquiries about our packages, contact them at +60128661935 or email at info@DownbelowAdventures.com today!
And if you have your mind set to explore the underwater world of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park with us, why not book packages easily online and get instant confirmation within minutes? Click here and you will be well on your way to discover the beauty the park offers!