Home | Best Snorkeling in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Best Snorkeling in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Fantastic Snorkeling Tours & Trips in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

When most tourists come to Sabah, Borneo (Malaysia) they want to spend some of their holidays appreciating the tropical waters of the South China Sea or chilling out on a beach. Fortunately, you can choose to do all of his during our holiday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. In this section, you can find out more about the range of snorkeling day trips we offer to help you experience the best our surrounding tropical waters and beaches have to offer from Kota Kinabalu.

Guided snorkeling day trips and tours, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

On the doorstep of Kota Kinabalu is Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP). There are five islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park which are fringed by shallow coral reefs. The islands are between 15 – 30 minutes boat transfer from central Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Choose from our range of snorkelling day trips to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park – for the best quality snorkelling experience choose our guided snorkeling trip (or PADI Discover Snorkelling Experience) or for experiencing more of nature choose our Jungle Trek & Snorkeling day trip. For snorkelers wanting to experience more why not consider a try dive via the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience!

Discover – Daily Snorkeling Trips, Tours and Packages both guided and unguided.

For families or groups wanted a more personalised snorkelling trip we also offer private boat day charters around the local Marine Park too – choose from our spacious catamaran Borneo Dream 3 or Borneo Dream Elvis.

Guided snorkeling day trips and tours, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

If you are looking to stay at a resort on a beautiful island and go snorkeling along fringing reefs then we offer snorkeler packages at Lankayan Island Resort located on the east coast of Sabah.

For further help arranging your snorkeling, island, beach and water sports activities or trips just contact the Borneo Dream Team. Our Team will be on hand to help you choose the best snorkelling experience for you during your holiday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!

  • Which is the best island for snorkeling in Sabah?

    In terms of ease of access and affordability, the best islands for snorkelling at in Sabah are located within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The Marine Park which is located in front of Kota Kinabalu is home to five islands – Sapi, Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan and Sulug – and each of them is fringed by coral reefs. The three islands with beaches open to the public offer snorkeling from the beach in a cordoned-off area, although the best snorkeling in the Marine Park is to be had from a boat along with coral reef sites away from the busy beaches.

    For that perfect island getaway experience, you should check out Lankayan Island located in the Sulu Sea accessible via Sandakan on the east coast of Sabah. Lankayan offers world-class snorkeling right from the shore and with just one Resort located on the island, you will feel like you have the white sandy beach and fringing coral reefs almost to yourself. The shallow waters are typically beautifully clear offering easy sightings of turtles, rays, and a range of tropical fish life from the beach.

    The dream for non-divers visiting Sabah is to go snorkeling at world-famous Sipadan. However this it not that easy to do as only a selection of Resorts / Operators will allocate Sipadan permits to snorkelers (most allocate them to diving guests only). One Resort who takes snorkelers to Sipadan is Mataking Reef Island Resort (subject to permit allocation).

  • What is the best time to snorkel in Malaysia?

    Malaysia is split across two landmasses, Penisular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), and the best season for snorkeling differs across these locations. 

    Peninsular Malaysia has an annual monsoon season (from April to October in the southwest, and October to February in the northeast) so you’d avoid these times if snorkeling is on your ‘to-do list’ for your holiday. 

    Sabah, Northern Borneo is known as the ‘Land Below the Wind’ a phrase used by seafarers in the past to describe all the lands located below the typhoon belt, so free from climatic disturbances and typhoons. This makes Sabah a 365 days a year location for holidays with snorkeling offered all year round, albeit the months at the start of the Dry Season (April – June) usually offer the calmest, driest weather perfect for snorkeling.

  • Will we still go snorkeling if it is raining?

    The quick answer is “yes”. Sabah has a tropical climate and as part of this, we will typically have some tropical rain later in the day on most days. This rain is warm, often a welcome relief and for most activities does not stop play. Specifically for our snorkeling activities from Kota Kinabalu:-

    • It is still safe to snorkel when it’s raining.
    • You won’t get cold if it rains as the sea temperature, for most of the year, is a toasty 28C – 30C. We also provide all our snorkeling customers with 3mm tropical wet suits for thermal protection.
    • The tropical marine life will still be there to see as you enjoy your snorkeling activity.

    Whilst Sabah’s tropical climate means there’s a good chance it will rain at some point during your holiday, it’s this climate that also supports the rainforest, and it’s inhabitants, found here. Most days in Sabah, especially during the Dry Season, start off with blue sky, sunshine and a calm breeze with a chance of rain typically later in the day, evening or night time. As long as you come on holiday prepared for a hot, humid and sometimes wet tropical climate you will have a great time!

  • Is it easy to get from the city centre to Jesselton Point Jetty?

    Most watersports trips depart from Jesselton Point Jetty (https://g.page/JesseltonPoint) in central Kota Kinabalu. If you are staying at a city centre hotel or guest house you will often find it far quicker to walk to Jesselton Point. If you are staying at hotels or resorts such as Shangri-La Rasa Ria or Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa then I would certainly grab a taxi.

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