Archive for April, 2015

To Malaysia’s highest point: Lows Peak, Mount Kinabalu!

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, News

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Ken Sun Ng and Yee Min Ng made it to Malaysia’s highest point: Lows Peak, Mount Kinabalu!

The adventurous couple are from West Malaysia and are on a holiday to explore their neighbouring state, Sabah! Mount Kinabalu is famous worldwide (not just in Malaysia!) for its iconic national landmark status. Not only is it one of the ‘biggest’ attractions of the UNESCO designated World Heritage Site, Kinabalu National Park, but is also where the Guinness World Records highest via Ferrata!

Via Ferrata is an incredible thrill for any visitor to Kota Kinabalu to experience – although, all participants must be at least 16 years old and also participated in the safety briefing conducted by the experienced via Ferrata trainers based at the Laban Rata Plateau.

From the Laban Rata accommodation, via Ferrata climbers can be seen completing their descent on the Lows Peak circuit via Ferrata, which is located on the Panar Laban rockface.

Throughout the whole mountain climbing activity, via Ferrata trainers will be guiding climbers at all times during the approximately 6-hour circuit for their health and safety.

Our Sabah Travel Centre will advise for our climbing guests to read our climbing preparation and FAQs, once they have committed themselves to an itinerary personalised to their travelling needs.

My recent PADI Open Water Diver course!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 @ 17:18 Guestbook



I wanted to share my recent experience learning to dive with Down Below Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

I’m not usually a big contributor of reviews, but my experience with the Downbelow team was so good, I wanted to make sure they are recognised for the great work they are doing, so they can continue to provide great learning experiences for future divers.

I completed my Open Water dive theory via the PADI elearning prior to my trip. As a non experienced diver some of these concepts were new to me, but the course was well structured and provided plenty of detail, so that after I completed the final assessment I felt well prepared. I though this was a great approach.

Arriving at the dive centre with my girlfriend I was initially a little apprehensive knowing there would be lots of divers around, probably talking about diving stuff i would have no idea about. But after being promptly collected and transferred to the dive centre on Gaya Island, given a short briefing about safety on the island we were introduced to Richard who runs the centre. He was great at making us feel welcome and helped calm our nerves before assigning us to our dive instructor, a local guy who a found out later had only been learning English the last 12 months, which was hard to believe given his fluency.

We were shown to the stores area and fully kitted out in 10 mins. It was very well organised and everyone was so friendly. My girlfriend’s mask did leak on the first dive so they immediately changed it for a much better one (at no extra cost).

After 2 days of 1-2-1 training I had completed the course and felt as comfortable underwater as I do above. The instructor had a clear, calm and endearing quality both underwater and above, which made the whole experience very enjoyable. I can see why the DownBelow centre run so many IDC courses.

After 3 days of diving we had to say goodbye and we were both genuinely sad to leave the team. We’re already planning a repeat visit next year where I can do my advanced PADI, and see Richard and the team again.

As a professional organisation responsible for a technical sport such as diving I can see why PADI needs to ensure their dive centres and associated organisations are maintained at a very high standard, and given my experience at DownBelow I can say that they are doing just that.

Best, Phil

Don’t forget your one-of-a-kind adventure in Sabah!

Monday, April 27th, 2015 @ 13:45 Dive Shop, News

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Invest in a good quality camera, so you don’t forget your one-of-a-kind adventure in Sabah!

Walk-in guests at our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop are always curious about our range of GoPro cameras, of which our Supervisor Karen offers the very best, value-for-money, suggestion for which model suits what adventure activity.

For example, the GoPro Hero4 Black edition can record footage with minimal light available, such as the last few kilometres climbing Mount Kinabalu from the Laban Rata plateau to the Lows Peak summit in the early hours of the morning! Karen can demonstrate how to set its ‘night mode’ feature so our climbing guests can capture the beautiful stars in the clear night sky. For those climbers who reach the summit early, while waiting for the sunrise a time lapse of the breaking dawn offers spectacular footage – and looks really professional too!

Karen is also really adept at what GoPro accessory suits which activity best also; whether you’re joining river cruises along the Kinabatangan River for a wildlife safari, or learning to scuba dive at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, there’s an accessory to complete your GoPro experience!

Get in touch with Karen for more details on our GoPro range of camera models and accessories, or get more information from your Sabah Travel Centre expert when you discuss a personalised itinerary!

PADI IDC candidates start to arrive in KK!

Friday, April 24th, 2015 @ 08:00 Courses, News, Professional Diving Internships

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The award-winning course won’t be starting until May 26th, but PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) candidates start to arrive in KK already for their Go PRO internship program!

Newly qualified PADI Divemaster Jed is joined by our newest Go PRO intern, Julia from the US. She will be completing professional diver training from the PADI Rescue Diver course to the PADI IDC on our award-winning Go PRO internship program!

Julia’s professional scuba diving internship is personalised specially for her to complete her training within 2 months, and within that time, resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann will be overseeing her progress to ensure she is prepared to successfully certify as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

During her time with us in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, she will explore not only the dive sites around TAR marine park, but also other attractions, such as climbing Mount Kinabalu.

We know that it’s an investment when continuing diver education to Go PRO, so as part of Julia’s internship, she receives a discount for any of our Sabah Travel Centre tours and any product from our KK Dive Shop too!

For more information on the value-for-money benefits our experienced Go PRO advisors can offer in our award-winning Go PRO internship programs, contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ!

Discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 @ 08:00 News, Sightings, University of South Wales

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Great friend, educator and honorary Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures staff, Professor Peter Roy Wiles, enjoys the fact that discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

On an exciting day trip to the Kiulu River, nearby Kota Kinabalu, the professor is joined by Downbelow’s Marketing Director Joanne Swann and admin executive Shirley from our HQ, in search of a watermite!

Professor Wiles’ years of research into watermite species have contributed enormously to the future of scientific studies of the miniscule arthropod, scientific name Hydrachnidiae.

For the first couple of weeks of his visit to Sabah, Professor Wiles accompanied a group of students from the University of South Wales on their 5th annual tropical ecology field trip, which is hosted by our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Marine conservation is, and always will be, an important element to the Downbelow company mission, and it’s a privilege and honour to host groups of school and university students on their unique educational program.

The professor and his helpful assistants do find a watermite unrecognisable to our expert, however we must wait with bated breath for the results on whether it is definitely a newly discovered species, so follow this story to find out more!

For more information on exploring the beautiful and exotic nature of Sabah, contact our experienced Sabah Travel Centre experts, who will be more than happy to create a suitable program for you!

Memorable Kota Kinabalu holiday with Downbelow!

Monday, April 20th, 2015 @ 11:46 Guestbook

downbelow marine and wildlife adventures, padi diving course, kota kinabalu, sabah, tar marine park, sabah travel centre,

Dear Jane,

Thank you very much for your email!

The whole Dive Down Below team is great and this was a huge contributor to us having a very memorable holiday with you.

Thank you for your help all through the trip, and also thank you to Tim who was very professional, patient and made our diving course so enjoyable and successful.

Here is the photo that we took together at the jetty! :)

Have a great weekend.

Dmitry and Helen

Practical experience as a PADI Divemaster!

Saturday, April 18th, 2015 @ 08:00 Divemaster, News, Professional Diving Internships

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Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann attests that practical experience as a PADI Divemaster on our Go PRO internship programs is a favoured learning method for our ‘Work For a Career’ trainees!

Now they have completed their PADI Rescue Diver course, Oliver and Chris have only just begun their journey into the professional scuba diving industry.

Richard shares his experience on the running of a smooth dive operations that prioritises diver safety. They will gain confidence with more knowledge they have, so for their ‘lesson’ recently, Richard briefs them on spotting underwater marine life. It’s a skill that needs practise, which is why many of our island staff team (even those very experienced senior PADI Instructors), go leisure diving during their days off too.

The more they ‘fine-tune’ their eyes to search for certain animals, the quicker they spot it for their diving clients who will be very happy to see it! Richard briefs the boys on how to find a ghost pipefish he spotted on a recent dive, with very precise details of its behaviour – because its behaviour dictates its habitat!

The boys will be getting lots more experience guiding as we have plenty of adventure travel groups, such as Expedition Borneo, arriving at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre to explore TARP!

For more information on the variety of diver experiences our Go PRO internship programs offer, contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ to discuss a suitable itinerary with our experienced and helpful Go PRO advisors!

Promotion: 3D/2N Boutique Wildlife Adventure Program Kinabatangan River!

Friday, April 17th, 2015 @ 11:04 Promotions

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There’s no other way to experience the mysterious Borneo rainforest & Kinabatangan River than on our 3D2N Boutique Wildlife Adventure program, which is currently under promotion by our Sabah Travel Centre for our nature-loving clients!

Spend two nights along the Kinabatangan River lodge, to join the morning and late afternoon river cruises and night walks in the nearby surrounding forest area, to spot rare and endemic wildlife!

Visitors will find the comfortable facilities of the resort accommodation a convenient haven, especially after a three long days of so much outdoor activity!

3D/2N Boutique Wildlife Adventure Program:

RM 935.00 per person

*Rates are valid until 31st March 2016 and subject to 6% Government Goods and Service Tax. Subject to availability at time of booking.

*Based on minimum 2 persons booking.

Package Includes:

• 3Days 2Nights Full Board package

• Boutique resort air-conditioned accommodation along Kinabatangan River in a king / twin room

borneo-mammals-pigmy-elephants-04Return shared road and boat transfers as described in the itinerary

Gomantong Caves & Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre visits

• Entrance Fees (excludes camera / video fees)

• English Speaking Guide

• 1 Morning and 2 Late Afternoon River Cruises

• Free Flow Coffee, Tea and Water

• 2 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches and 2 Dinners

• Trip based on shared – non-private basis

Promotion: 4D/3N Selingan Turtle Island with Boutique Wildlife Adventure Program!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 @ 16:56 Promotions

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Experience the real Borneo rainforest (and more!) on our 4D3N Selingan Turtle Island with our Boutique Wildlife Adventure program for which we are currently holding a promotion!

A river lodge sanctuary is located along the Kinabatangan River, for nature-lovers to stay overnight to rest and relax in between their wildlife safaris for 2 nights.

Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the jungle with convenient basic facilities of your resort accommodation, which becomes a haven for the many wildlife adventure activities of river cruises and jungle treks to experience!

4D/3N Selingan Turtle Island with Boutique Wildlife Adventure Program:

RM 1,655.00 per person

*Rates are valid until 31st March 2016 and subject to 6% Government Goods and Service Tax.

*Based on minimum 2 persons booking.

Package Includes:

• 4 Days 3 Nights Full Board package

• Return (shared) road and boat transfers as described in the itinerary

• 1 Night Accommodation at Turtle Island in a Basic Twin Bedded Room with Private Bathroom

turtle-rocks Turtle Island Visit

• 2 Nights’ Boutique resort air-conditioned accommodation along Kinabatangan River in a king / twin room

Gomantong Caves & Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre visits

• Entrance Fees (excludes camera/video fees)

• English-speaking Guide

• 1 Morning and 2 Late Afternoon River Cruises

• Free-Flow Coffee, Tea and Water

• 3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches and 3 Dinners

• Trip based on shared (non-private) basis

For further details on our 4D/3N Selingan Turtle Island with Boutique Wildlife Adventure Program, visit:

Planting in Sabah for rainforest conservation!

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Before returning to Kota Kinabalu city centre, our Expedition Borneo group receive another practical lesson about tree planting in Sabah for rainforest conservation!

Their itinerary is filled with the very best adventure activities and ecotourism-based attractions found in Sabah, which will offer the young adventurers’ a greater appreciation for the natural environment.

For 30 days, the unique educational programs are conducted under practical experiences, such as planting young sapling trees that are endemic to the Kinabatangan River and Bilit Village area! Eventually, the terrestrial biodiversity will thrive!

One epic challenge, which is probably the toughest in Sabah, is climbing to Mount Kinabalu’s Low’s Peak at an altitude of 4,095m! Before they begin each activity, they will receive a briefing of what to expect in a comprehensive presentation delivered at our Kota Kinabalu HQ, where its location is right next door to our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop. This suits our participants very well, as they may purchase items they may have forgotten to pack.

Contact our Sabah Travel Centre, where our experienced experts will be delighted to assist in creating a personalised itinerary for a travelling group of any size to experience beautiful Sabah, Borneo!