An hour an a half drive from Kota Kinabalu is Malaysia’s Secret Dive Destination.
Flying to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah is the perfect place to start your Borneo adventure, it is well connected for a quick break with cheap and regular flights from Kuala Lumpur and other Southeast Asian destinations. However, if you are looking for an adventurous dive destination or rustic beach resort which is outside of the city, off the beaten track and yet still easily accessible, then BIGFIN DIVERS is your answer.
This secret haven is whispered amongst local divers as an ‘in the know’ destination for a relaxing gateway, a great alternative to diving or staying in Kota Kinabalu city. Travel just 1 hour 30 minutes up the coast from Kota Kinabalu and you will find a true slice of paradise, a quiet beach resort in a stunning secluded location with incredible diving. Bigfin Divers offers daily fun dive trips to dive sites in Kota Belud and Mantanani Island. They are a PADI-registered dive resort and offer a full range of PADI dive courses from beginner to experienced level.
Diving can be done year-round, with April-June having the best visibility and calmest waters, while February-March is the whale shark season.
Being the first dive centre in Kota Belud, the dive sites here are far from crowded (you will certainly have the dive sites all to yourself). The owners have spent years in Kota Belud finding new dive sites, usually by the following intel from local fishermen to lead them to the top spots.
Divers will descend down into the blue to discover secret submerged reefs and encounter a kaleidoscope of colourful marine life. Drift in the current across endless healthy hard and soft coral reefs where you can find small sharks, rays, schools of tropical fish and large pelagic life.
Dive sites have an interesting and varied topography with undulating reefs along the white sandy sea bottom, interspersed with huge granite boulders dominating the underwater landscape. They also love macro diving here and there is plenty of opportunity to search for small creatures such as seahorses, colourful nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopuses and other crazy critters.
Bigfin Divers is not only all about diving, non-divers are also very welcome here. They have 7, reasonably priced, clean and comfortable hilltop chalets, and a restaurant that serves cold drinks and very tasty Malaysian Cuisine (Bigfin beach resort). The chalets are nestled in the surrounding Bornean jungle, directly above a private white sand beach – perfect for nature enthusiasts or bird watchers! All chalets have fabulous ocean views across Mengkabar bay, Pulau Pandan Island and sunrise behind Mount Kinabalu in the distance.
This is a great destination for a family or group of friends, especially when you have a mix of divers and non-divers. Non-divers can engage in activities such as jungle trekking, snorkelling, kayaking, and paddle boarding, or explore the surrounding coastline by foot and discover their own private beach. All will enjoy the numerous hammocks hanging around the place, perfect to laze around and soak in the spectacular scenery!
Above all is the warm and welcoming atmosphere at Bigfin. This is a small sociable place where you can get to know the staff and meet fellow travellers. You might even become a regular too!
Double en-suite chalet, full board meals = RM260 per night for 2 person
3 Fun Dive Trip (certified divers) = RM320 per person
PADI Open Water course = RM1200 per person