University tourism students experience SCUBA in Kota Kinabalu!

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Rather than having any rest on a Sunday, our Downbelow team would rather welcome our University tourism students to experience SCUBA in Kota Kinabalu!

A total of 20 visited our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in the TAR marine park, and one of the group members is ex-Downbelow staff Awang, who now attends the University of Malaysia (UMS) to further his studies of tourism – one of the largest industries in Malaysia (and the world!)

Awang’s peers are also studying similar subjects within the tourism industry field, and for their first time witnessing the underwater world, it really inspired the students to actively support its protection for the benefit of our marine tourism future.

Many visitors to Sabah are amazed at the natural biodiversity that can only be found in Sabah, and Kota Kinabalu is a popular destination because of its accessibility to the very best attractions – both the spectacular underwater world, as well as the terrestrial jungle environment!

One of the most popular activities is one of the most challenging: climbing Mount Kinabalu! Kinabalu National Park is a UNESCO designated site that offers a variety of education for the public to appreciate the importance of preserving the biologically diverse Crocker Range mountains!

Contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ Sabah Travel Centre to discuss any group travel to explore exciting adventures within Sabah, and at the same time receive an educational perspective of our natural environment in Borneo!

Downbelow teach SCUBA to the future of Sabah’s tourism industry!

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Our Downbelow premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre operations were honoured to host a whole day for our 30 friends visiting from Politeknik Sandakan!

The students will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Project AWARE mission through their experience of the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program and Snorkel Safari. Nothing beats experiencing the reality of scuba diving, and inspiring others to become Project AWARE supporters themselves!

It seemed to be kismet when a whale shark was spotted swimming within the confines of the TAR marine park, and several of the students (who were snorkelling, as a matter of fact) were lucky enough to see it up close from one of our dive boats!

We only wish for the students of Politeknik Sandakan to continue visiting us on the regular basis that they are doing to always remember how important the contribution to our marine environment is for the future of Sabah’s tourism industry.

Sabah Travel Centre experts at our Kota Kinabalu HQ are experienced in creating itineraries to suit the educational mission. Get in touch if your group would like our experts to create terrestrial-based programs – such as jungle trekking the Salt Trails or climbing Mount Kinabalu!

Downbelow trains USW students: our future of scientific diving!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015 @ 08:00 Groups & Schools, News, University of South Wales


Downbelow is always honoured to receive groups of eager students from USW, and train our future of scientific diving!

This is the fourth field study trip to Sabah, for students of University of South Wales (USW) to conduct their annual tropical ecology studies.

For a week at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in TAR marine park, students reading for their BSc International Wildlife Biology and Natural History degrees, will be led by our experienced team of PADI professionals for training in scientific diving.

Underwater visual census (UVC) surveys to collect data on fish and benthic communities, line intercept transects and coral reef surveys includes a few of the specialized skills and techniques the group will be learning.

To enhance their diving skills, our team will be introducing a new element to their training. To support the students in their surveys, we are offering video surveys, which will develop their survey techniques when analysing and comparing data. We have designed this additional training with the students’ benefit in mind, as scientific diving and underwater research requires good diving skills.

Past groups of USW students have witnessed the beautiful Whale Sharks when snorkeling with the worlds’ largest fish species in our TAR marine park playground, and this group have a very good chance too – so here’s hoping!

Get in touch with our Sabah Travel Centre for a personalised itinerary for your group looking to receive a unique marine education program at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu!

A Downbelow adventure is a unique education of marine and wildlife!

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In support of World Wildlife Day, our 20-strong adventure group from Denmark take a mass selfie to raise awareness that they are ‘Serious About Wildlife Crime’, as they gain a unique education on marine and wildlife during their Downbelow adventure!

Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann encourages our newly qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors, Azhar and Kerry, to share their own experiences in marine conservation. The two have many experiences, from beach clean-ups to ‘Ghost Net’ removals, which they can draw from to relate the AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty presentation for their student divers’ knowledge development!

Newly qualified PADI Open Water Divers, such as our Danish adventurers’, are equally passionate as the PADI professionals of our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, and our Go PRO internship candidates assist for their own experience of contributing to the marine environment!

‘Expedition Borneo’, is a 30-day program we personalised for our adventure groups of young travellers from Denmark, which offers a unique educational approach through various activities at choice ecotourism operations.

For more information on holidays that help to make a positive difference, get in touch with our Sabah Travel Centre in Kota Kinabalu, where our experienced and helpful will create a program catered to you and your adventure group to explore Kota Kinabalu and Sabah!

Go PRO underwater in Sabah…and on Mount Kinabalu!

Friday, March 13th, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, News, Professional Diving Internships

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Abdullah, is a recent graduate of our Go PRO internship programs, who happened to pull it off! He managed to Go PRO underwater in Sabah…and on Mount Kinabalu!

In a 2-month professional scuba diving internship program our Go PRO advisors personalised for Abdullah, he completed the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) to begin his Sabah adventure!

Once he received his qualification as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor after the Kota Kinabalu PADI Instructor Examination (IE), he wanted to experience another adventure before leaving. Our Go PRO advisors suggested climbing Mount Kinabalu in a convenient 2D1N program, and the chance to participate on the Guinness World Records’ highest via Ferrata from Low’s Peak summit at 3,776m!

To record the incredible journey he’s had over the last couple of months (in which time he learnt so much about Borneo culture) Abdullah invested in a GoPro HERO4 camera. It was very easy to use with the POV pole and a great companion to have during the climb for him re-live the challenge and achievement of reaching the peak, as well as descending via Ferrata!

Get more information when you contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ, where one of our Sabah Travel Centre experts will create a detailed itinerary just for you to experience Sabah adventures to suit you!

No place like Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, to study marine biology!

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 @ 08:00 Courses, Diving Kota Kinabalu, News, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

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Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann will attest that there’s no place like Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, to study marine biology, which is why our Fish Identification Specialty course is so popular amongst clients visiting our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre!

Our Sabah Travel Centre experts Sarah Jane and Joey want to learn how to identify fish species to increase their marine biology knowledge and new inspiration for their passion in scuba diving. Sarah has been an experienced diver for a few years now, whereas Joey has recently qualified as entry-level PADI Open Water Diver, but they both have a fascination with marine biology in common.

The PADI Fish Identification Specialty Instructor course is also a very popular course that Richard conducts for PADI Instructor candidates completing their dive training to gain the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) rating.

Our Instructors themselves have a deep interest in fish identification, whether they are certified to teach the course or not, and really enjoy imparting their knowledge of our local environment. Our Instructor team get to showcase their expertise to regular groups of university students visiting our beach house in TAR marine park, as they spend their time with us conducting surveys of fish counting, coral species. It’s incredibly rewarding to assist the students and fascinating too, as their research indicates the health of our local marine environment.

Get in touch with our Sabah Travel Centre (you can get a firsthand account from Sarah Jane and Joey on their experience!) and create a program that suits you, and/or your group to learn and appreciate the natural biodiversity found in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!

Adventure group learns to SCUBA while camping in paradise!

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Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (specifically, Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park) offers our adventure group the opportunity to learn SCUBA while camping in paradise!

An endless list of adventure activities can be found in Sabah, and our adventurers’ have just started their 30-day ‘Expedition Borneo’ program that we designed for them. This makes their experience in Sabah a unique one, in which they get to experience the very best of beautiful Kota Kinabalu and Sabah!

Within the first 48 hours of their arrival in KK, the group of 20 participants transfer to our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in TAR marine park to begin their first adventure. They will be staying at our beach house in a very spacious camping tent for 6 days and 5 nights, which is the perfect platform for them to acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of our local natural environment.

Our PADI Instructor team will guide them through their dive education, and whether their goal is: to qualify in the entry-level PADI Open Water Diver course, or continue their diver education to certify as PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or in PADI Specialties, our team will conduct all activities with their safety in mind always!

After they depart, the adventure continues to see more of Sabah, such as jungle trekking the historic Salt Trails, climbing Mount Kinabalu’s Low’s Peak summit trail and other once-in-a-lifetime activities!

Contact one of our Sabah Travel Centre staff to create a detailed itinerary that is personalised to you and your group travelling Kota Kinabalu and Sabah!

Proboscis and fireflies in Kota Kinabalu? ‘Good ol’ family fun’!

Friday, March 6th, 2015 @ 08:00 News

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Wildlife spotting is ‘good ol’ family fun’ because it’s a very relaxing, yet educational day trip, with the chance to see proboscis monkeys in the wild as well as enjoy the stunning show of fireflies at night!

It’s such a convenient itinerary because the location is very close to Kota Kinabalu, but our licensed minivan drivers will transfer both ways (to and from) our guests’ city centre accommodation. Joey assists her colleague Stephanie with any translation needed between her and a family of four who have decided on one of our wildlife adventure packages!

There are lots of activities for families to experience together in and around Kota Kinabalu, such as climbing Mount Kinabalu. There is a lot of choices when visiting Kinabalu National Park – they don’t necessarily have to climb all the way to the Low’s Peak summit or do any via Ferrata activity. The surrounding Crocker Range offers such attractions as, Desa Dairy Farm with Freisian cattle, or Kundasang War Memorial park with its colourful and meaningful gardens!

Contact Steph or Joey or any of our Sabah Travel experts on our travel packages to explore Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah: Dream destination for adventure group travel!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 @ 08:00 Danish Adventure Group, Groups & Schools, News

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Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is one of those dream destinations for adventure group travel, and combined with our exceptional Downbelow customer service, groups of young travellers from Denmark visit every year to experience our 30-day ‘Expedition Borneo’ program!

This years’ first group have 20 participants, who have signed themselves up for so much ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ activities – they may never want to leave Borneo!

Within 24 hours of their arrival in Kota Kinabalu, the group have completed a day of island-hopping to see more of the natural beauty that can be found so close to Kota Kinabalu city centre in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park!

Marketing Director Joanne and Sabah Travel Centre Manager Alice will brief the adventurers’ at our HQ’s multimedia classroom facilities before each activity of their 30-day program to give advice, answer questions for their preparation! Their first activity is learning to scuba dive, with the possibility of earning a PADI Open Water Diver course, all the while camping at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre for 6 days and 5 nights!

Each activity, which range from climbing Mount Kinabalu to jungle trekking the historical Salt Trails, is filled with a unique education of Sabah’s culture and traditions to broaden any travellers’ life experiences!

For more information on our ‘Expedition Borneo’ program (that can be catered with less or more activities; less or more than 30 days!), contact our Kota Kinabalu Sabah Travel Centre, where one of our helpful and experienced travel experts will create one to suit your adventure group!

Downbelow guests ‘game enough’ for Walk the Torq via Ferrata!

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, Diving Kota Kinabalu, News

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From America, Downbelow guests Sarah and John are ‘game enough’ for the Walk the Torq via Ferrata descent from Mount Kinabalu’s Low’s Peak!

In a 2D1N standard climbing package, our Sabah Travel Centre personalised their itinerary to include the exhilirating challenge as part of their summit trail climb. Instead of continuing their descent with climbers on the summit trail to the Laban Rata Plateau, Sarah and John were diverted by their experienced via Ferrata Trainer to the starting point of their mountain climbing activity: Walk the Torq circuit at 3, 520 metres above sea level!

It was an amazing experience that they should be proud of themselves for completing, and they were also very fortunate to have attempted their climb Mount Kinabalu challenge during exceptional weather! When the skies are clear of clouds, the sunshine lights up the incredible vista of the Crocker Range all around!

They’re planning some leisure diving in a few days at our premier PADI 5 Star Dive Centre, but if they were really ‘game’, Sarah and John would have no problem to dive the next day after their climb if they so wished. However, their dedicated travel expert based at our Sabah Travel Centre advised the couple to have a day of rest between their activities – usually climbers have some stiffness in their leg muscles as the body recuperates from such endurance!

Our customer service approach is thorough, so our guests climbing Mount Kinabalu’s summit trail are thoroughly prepared and have a great chance of achieving their goals! Get in touch with one of our travel experts to arrange an itinerary catered to you!

Learn to Dive with PADI Scuba diving courses for divers visiting Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Borneo.
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved By Downbelow. Unless otherwise stated all text, web & graphic design and photography is by Richard and Joanne

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