Archive for August, 2015

Flemings at Selingan Island turtle hatchery!

Saturday, August 29th, 2015 @ 08:00 Conservation, News, Sightings

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It was an amazing moment for family of four, the Flemings, at Selingan Island turtle hatchery, as they witness a sea turtle laying her eggs!

The Fleming children especially, were in awe to see a real live turtle in the wild let alone see the animal lay her eggs on the beach of Selingan Island.

On the evening of our Sabah Travel Centre’s 2D1N itinerary is what our guests look forward to most, because the rangers responsible for the turtle hatchery will invite guests to witness any sea turtle activity.

Lucky Fleming family got to witness the whole process of turtle conservation: from data collection of turtle carapace size to the incubation of turtle hatchlings.

Contribute to Sabah’s ecotourism when you choose our programs and witness for yourself the protection of Borneo nature!

GREAT PROMOTION! Tabin Wildlife Reserve Package!

Thursday, August 27th, 2015 @ 10:48 Promotions

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Paradise for wildlife lovers can be found in Tabin Wildlife Reserve…and our Sabah Travel Centre guests have the chance to visit on a value-for-money promotion too!
Ornithologists will find this promotion most hard to resist, as the reserve is not only home to 3 of Sabah’s largest endemic mammals (Borneo pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino and tembadau (wild cattle), but also hundreds of bird species!
This is a great weekend getaway-type package as it is a 3D2N itinerary, to include guided activities, accommodation and meals for visitors’ convenience; our Sabah Travel Centre ‘go the extra mile’ to suggest those flights so guests don’t miss their pick up in Lahad Datu – and guests should also expect special treatment from our travel experts’ courtesy calls throughout their trip!

3D/2N Tabin Wildlife Safari

Twin Share: RM 750.00 per person*
Triple Share: RM 600.00 per person**

*Based on minimum 2 persons booking.
**Based on minimum 3 persons booking.

Extension Night: RM 180.00 per person per night

Rates are valid for travel until 31st December 2015 and inclusive of 6% Government Goods and Service Tax.
Based on minimum 2 persons booking.
Applicable for Malaysian Only.
Child (below 11years old) who stays in the same room with 2 Adults enjoys 50% Discount.

Package Includes:

• 3Days 2Nights Full Board package
• Accommodation based on Standard Room
• Return scheduled & shared road transfers (Lahad Datu/Tabin Wildlife Reserve/Lahad Datu)
• Entrance Permit
• Guided Activities
• Meals as mentioned in itinerary

Package Excludes:

• International & Domestic Flights
• Travel Insurance
• Alcoholic & Carbonated Beverages
• Personal Expenses
• Items not mentioned


Day 1:

You will be picked up in the east coast town of Lahad Datu and transferred by road to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Check into an attractive timber lodge at Tabin Wildlife Resort, which comes complete with private balcony, air conditioner, ceiling fan and hot water shower, a welcome luxury in the forest. Nestled within the rainforest beside the Lipad River, this lovely setting is home to a surprising variety of birds, insects and small mammals, even right beside the buildings of the resort. Discover the rich variety of jungle herbs, some endemic, used for generations by local folks for the treatment of various ailments.
Visit to Trogon Hall gallery for information about the conservation of Tabin Wildlife Reserve and briefing on birds, insects and animals that is found in this area. (For guest check in before 11:00am)
In the afternoon, visit the active Lipad mud volcano, which provides a mineral salt lick for wildlife. After trekking through the rainforest for 20 minutes, arrive at the elevated bare area of the mud volcano, which is frequented by wildlife and birds. Try to identify the multitude of animal footprints here. The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion.
After dinner, enjoy a CD/Slide presentation on Tabin’s natural wonders, followed by a night safari to look out for wildlife and birds. Remember to look up at the clear, dark sky of Tabin, identify the constellations above you and make a wish or two.

Meals: Lunch & Dinner included

Day 2:

Join the early morning bird walk to discover some of Tabin’s rich collection of almost 300 bird species. After breakfast, a drive to the core area for animal’s spotting and for photo session before trekking through the lush green rainforest known for its rich diversity of plants and animal species to visit Lipad Waterfall. Take a dip in the natural pool and enjoy a natural and refreshing shower under the waterfall. Alternatively explore the surrounding vegetation or just relax.
In the evening, a dusk drive to look out for more nocturnal wildlife & birds coming out to look for food during this time of the day.
After dinner, go for a night walk along the trail nearby the resort in search of sleeping birds, frog and nocturnal wildlife.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 3:

After breakfast, free and easy until check out.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch included

Note: Activities are subject to weather condition/departure time, and may be rescheduled to best meet operational situation.

Scheduled transfer:
Lahad Datu – Tabin: 8:00am & 12:00pm
Tabin – Lahad Datu: 1:30pm (Arrive LDU 3:00pm)
Note: Unscheduled transfer will have additional charges RM110.00 per person per way.

Recommended Flights:
BKI-LDU MH3010 / ETD 6:20am /ETA 7:15am
LDU-BKI MH3019 / ETD 4:00pm /ETA 4:55pm

Frogfish choose Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park!

frogfish, marine biology, tunku abdul rahman marine park, sabah travel centre, downbelow marine and wildlife adventures, project aware, padi 5 star idc dive centre, padi professionals, leisure diving program, kota kinabalu, borneo

What is it about Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park that makes frogfish choose it for their home?

Frogfish (Antennariidae) are part of the anglerfish family, characterised for luring their prey, and learning frogfish marine biology has shown us they are masters of camouflage! They can change colour to suit their environment; or they may use other organisms, such as algae, to hide.

Recently, our island staff team have enjoyed visiting a frogfish that has taken up residency on a coral block of a reef in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park where we operate. It’s very special (amongst divers) to find a frogfish because these fish are somewhat particular of their marine environment. So if the frogfish stays, it’s very happy – the best compliment, for Project AWARE supporters like ourselves at Downbelow, to receive!

Contact us at our Sabah Travel Centre to arrange a daily leisure diving program at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre to visit the frogfish with one of our experienced PADI professionals!

Promo: Kinabalu Park and Poring Day Trip

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 @ 13:35 Promotions

Want to visit Sabah’s World Heritage Site Kinabalu National Park, but skip climbing the arduous Mount Kinabalu summit trail?
Downbelow’s Sabah Travel Centre offer a day trip for guests to witness the exotic natural biodiversity of the Crocker Range at Kinabalu National Park, AND it’s a private tour.
The private tour includes return land transfers between KK city centre and the park, as well as a private English-speaking nature guide. Visitors can take their time to enjoy the many attractions, such as the search for a Rafflesia flower in bloom, bathing in the therapeutic Poring Hot Springs, find flora and fauna at the canopy walkway or the Botanical Garden!

Full Day Private Kinabalu Park & Poring Promo Package

RM 515.00 per person (instead of RM 560.00 per person)*

*Rates are valid until 31st December 2015 and subject to 6% Government Goods and Service Tax and based on minimum 2 persons booking.

Package Includes

• Private Return Land Transfers (Kota Kinabalu > Kinabalu Park > Poring > Kota Kinabalu)
• Entrance Fees at Kinabalu Park, Poring, Canopy & Botanical Garden
• Private English Speaking Guide
• Lunch at Local Restaurant

Package Excludes

• Alcoholic or Carbonated beverages and juices
• Personal Expenses
• Camera / Video Camera Fees
• Items not mentioned above

Read our detailed itinerary here -> Kinabalu National Park Day Trip

Fleming family at Selingan Island!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 @ 11:14 Guestbook

Hi Stephanie
Just a quick note to let you know we arrived safely back from Sandakan last night. We had the most incredible time during our stay in Sandakan and on the tour. We could not have asked for anything better. Each of the guides who looked after us (Andre (Turtle Island), Muss (Sepilok & Kinabatangan), Robert (Gomantong) & Peter (driver)) were excellent and a great source of information. Both accommodation locations, although reasonably basic, were very comfortable and clean and the standard of food provided was very good. We all came away feeling like we had a 10/10 holiday. We will definitely be recommending our friends visit Sabah and book their tour through your company.
Thanks again and warm regards,
The Fleming Family.
PS=This photo is of my two kids observing the turtle after she laid eggs!

Go PRO PADI Platinum level of attention!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 @ 08:00 Divemaster, News, Professional Diving Internships

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‘Work For a Career’ PADI Divemaster internship candidates, Chris and Oliver, receive the Go PRO PADI Platinum level of attention!

It’s been an amazing journey for them as they’ve observed the smooth running of Downbelow’s premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre facilities based in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park.

Mentor resident Platinum PADI Course Director, Richard Swann, couldn’t be happier with their development so far. Richard and Downbelow’s Go PRO team are very much looking forward to developing Chris and Oliver even further on our award winning PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) and certify them as PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors (OWSIs)!

Follow the rest of their journey on our many social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, and contact us as soon as you’re ready to Go PRO yourself!

Quite simply magnificent!

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 @ 10:40 Guestbook

selingan turtle island, review, kinabatangan river, sandakan, nature guide, exceptional customer service, sabah travel centre, downbelow marine and wildlife adventures,

Hi Stephanie,
I just wanted to write an email to provide feedback on our recent package with divedownbelow and, in particular our guide, Elot:

    • The trip was excellent; perfect balance between activity/site seeing and relaxation, everything was on time, accommodation, food and transport were excellent and good value for money
    • The service (waiters, drivers, night walk guides etc.) were also excellent; informative and friendly
    • Elot was exceptional:
    • Shared his great knowledge of local wildlife, history, geography and cultures
    • Constantly reminded us of the itinerary and advised us on how to get the best out of the trip
    • Was fun throughout – encouraged integration with the other guests
    • Made my wife and I feel very special on our honeymoon:
    • Organised towel art/rose petal displays on our beds
    • Organised special table displays (roes petals, flowers, special table décor) each night
    • Provided waiter service for our meals
    • Provided a cake with a special wedding message
    • Presented us with a gift; mug with customised message and photos of our trip which he had taken – this really was above and beyond and made us feel very special indeed

Please do pass this feedback on to the drivers/accommodation staff and Elot; he is quite simply magnificent at what he does – you are lucky to have him.
Ps – Please ask Elot if he is able to email us some of the pictures he took of our trip (no problem if he no longer has them).

End of summer with Camps International!

Thursday, August 20th, 2015 @ 08:00 Camps International, Groups & Schools, News, Open Water Course

camps international, summer, school group travel, downbelow marine and wildlife adventure, padi open water diver, padi 5 star idc dive centre, sabah travel centre, borneo

Time has flown by so quick – finally it’s the end of summer with Camps International!

Downbelow’s island staff team always prefer the lively atmosphere travelling groups, like schools and universities, create at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre. Its also great for our independent  travellers who still experience excellent customer service yet feel the great vibe of summer fun!

A total of 12 groups (ranging between 20-49 participants each group) learnt more about Sabah, about why and how we contribute to protect the beautiful nature in Sabah through the opportunity to qualify as a PADI Open Water Diver!

We’re already looking forward to the next summer, when the groups will grow, which means there’s a good chance our Downbelow operations will grow too!

Contact us, so our Sabah Travel Centre experts can create a program for your adventure travel group to explore Sabah, Borneo.

An extra unique wildlife safari!

Monday, August 17th, 2015 @ 08:00 News

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It was an extra unique wildlife safari for our clients Anthony and Alyse, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary on our 4D3N Selingan ‘Turtle’ Island and Kinabatangan River wildlife package!

On the last day of their program, after witnessing the conservation efforts to protect and preserve sea turtles at Selingan Island and spotting rare and endemic animals along the Kinabatangan River, the couple were surprised with a gift from their private nature guide – a mug printed with photos of their time in Sandakan!

They were already so touched by the extra effort from the staff at their Kinabatangan River lodge in making their experience really special to commemorate their wedding anniversary. The warmth and hospitality of Sabah’s people is what leaves a beautiful and lasting impression on visitors to return!

Contact us to get more details on wildlife adventure programs and other tours our Sabah Travel Centre can arrange for a unique Borneo experience!

Mount Kinabalu: New limits tested after earthquake.

Friday, August 14th, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, News

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On Saturday 8th August, Mount Kinabalu’s new limits are tested after the June 5th earthquake by a group of 88 climbers, who are mostly Sabah Park’s staff, rangers, mountain guides and some members of the media too.

It’s been 2 months since the 5.9-magnitude earthquake, and the climbing group will be testing out the challenges of the new trail after the extensive repairs, with the aim of reaching the Laban Rata plateau at 3,333m altitude.

Sabah’s state Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun, reports: “We have repaired the damaged routes and built new paths…This may not be the final trail but whatever we end up with will likely be more challenging [than] the previous route.”

Masidi also went on to disclose the alternative route will be half the capacity of the previous summit trail, which means the number of climbers would be limited to less than 100 a day.

Dr Jamili Nais, Director of Sabah Parks’, commented this alternative route will only be a day climb with a ‘cut-off’ time of 2PM. Climbing to the summit is closed and still under review because there are still extensive safety measures that need to be met. Recommendations of the worlds’ mountain experts from Canada, Italy, Spain and Japan, concerning the ascent from Laban Rata to the summit, are being given great consideration for the necessary action.

Contact us for more information about climbing to the Laban Rata plateau come September, and follow our Facebook and Twitter for the next update on Mount Kinabalu.