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5 Awesome Diving Destinations Near Kota Kinabalu

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Published June 19th 2016
Kota Kinabalu or KK as the dwellers call it is Sabah's capital, is located by the sea, adjacent to Mount Kinabalu and with the biggest part of the city being land reclaimed from the sea. Sabah provides a wide range of awesome experiences and with so many diving sites around, enthusiasts of diving can be at loss choosing the best diving sites around Kota Kinabalu. Here are 5 awesome diving destinations that are near Kota Kinabalu City.

Photo : Anton Zelenov / CC BY-SA 3.0

Pulau Sipadan

Pulau Sipadan is unarguably the best diving destination in Malaysia. Sipadan gets consistently ranked as one of the world's top diving spots for a good reason. Numerous people come from across the world to this marine paradise that is habitat for numerous turtles in their thousands, swirling barracuda, marauding bump head parrotfish, schools of sharks as well as breathtaking coral walls extending to over2,000 meters deep into the sea floor. Even with the excellent sea life attractions at Sipadan, the environment above ground is still irresistible clear waters, blue skies and tropical scenery that is perfectly convenient for diving.


It's nearly impossible to go diving at Sipadan and fail to head to Mabul. Sipadan and Mabul are only less than half an hour of boat ride apart and the later is another world renowned macro dive haven. Mabul is the official muck-diving site due to its numerous weird and startling critters such as the ghost pipefish, seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, dwarf stonefish, harlequin and many others. There are also hundreds of turtles, moray eels as well as eagle rays residing in the sandy plateaus of Mabul.


Sibuan is certainly among the most fine-looking diving destinations near Kota Kinabalu. The island is awash with coconut palm trees, unoccupied white sandy beaches as well as blue waters. You will without doubt spot mandarin fish, frog fish, pygmy seahorses, crocodile fish, and scorpion fish and occasionally run into eagle rays. Simply put, Sibuan has something for every diver to savor.

Lankayan Island

Lankayan Island is small and almost unoccupied with only one resort providing the right of entry to the pristine waters. Lankayan offers near-perfect diving conditions and everybody who loves a serene and tranquil paradise would fall in love with the white sandy beaches, azure waters and awe-inspiring sunsets and sunrises at Lankayan. The island is pure having not experienced any significant human occupation for many years. Despite the remoteness, expect amenities ad treatment similar to that of a tropical vacation place.

KK Marine Park

This is the oldest marine park in Sabah and it is such a marvel with its pristine coral and numerous schooling fish. Experienced as well as non-experienced divers take delight visiting the 5 incredible islands that are within the KK Marine Park including Sapi and Gaya islands. Sabah Parks has closely monitored and protected the marine life in this park and thus the reefs here offer a picturesque diving experience. There are numerous uncommon critters and you're bound to discover a hidden gem in every corner of all reefs but you always need to look around.
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