We're travelling around Malaysia after Chinese New Year (end of Feb) and are planning to visit Sabah. Can anyone recommend a decent location for a combination of experienced and a novice divers, ideally with something in the area besides just diving. Thanks
I live in Sabah and run a diving business here. My advice is based on my experience of diving conditions in February in Sabah and I hope it helps you choose the best diving location in Sabah to meet your needs.
Sabah is not impacted by the 'North East monsoons' during February. It is still the 'West Season' here but we can still enjoy some very pleasant tropical weather during this time.
The best conditions for diving in Sabah at the start of February are on the south east coast - Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai. This coast line is more protected from the north east trade winds. There are dive sites to meet all levels of experience here. If you get permits to dive at Sipadan you need to be aware the dives are often drift divers here along a drop off so the novice divers in your group need to be comfortable at diving and confident in managing their buoyancy.
There is also diving in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park near Kota Kinabalu during this period too. The diving here is more protected so easier diving for newer divers. But obviously less pelagics here ;).
If you want a location that offers a choice of activities to do then Kota Kinabalu is a good choice. Maybe you do both locations . . . .
Hope this helps. Have a great holiday! over 5 years ago
There is a bunch of dive locations...
Kota Kinabalu: Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) with close to 30 different dive sites across 5 islands, all within 10mins boat ride from town. A good company is Diverse Borneo as they have their own dedicated fulltime PADI Course Director. TARP has a range of other activities such as snorkelling, parasailing, banana boat as well organised bbq's and lunches. You can even camp out on the islands if your game.
Other spots: Mantanani Island, Pulau Tiga, Layang Layang, Turtle Island and of course on the east coast is the famous Sipadan Island along with Mabul and Kapalai. The lifestyle on Mabul Island is fantastic and is definitely worth going over for a week or two, you might not even want to leave!
Please note that the rainy season in Sabah is usually Sept-March, with February bestowed the title of worst month when it comes to weather conditions. Water temp can drop to as low as 25C, but a long-wetsuit should alleviate the effects of those conditions. But don't worry, Diverse Borneo are a good company to dive with and will choose the best spots according to the weather conditions on that day. almost 5 years ago