Kota Kinabalu Dive Sites Details about our locations and the name of Kota Kinabalu dive sites we go everyday in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Diving in Kota Kinabalu at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP) is just ten minutes fast boat ride from the Jesselton Point jetty. TARP encompasses five islands of Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Mamutik, and Sulug. There is more than 25 dive sites in the park all offering 30°C waters and a normal 10-15 meters visibility while being in underwater.

When can you dive the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park? All year round. Our best months are from April through until November, but the whale shark season is from December to March at certain dive sites only. The water temperature drops slightly in these months to a chilled 28°C and the deeper you go will reach 25°C. You do not need your dry-suit!

Being in Kota Kinabalu it is very hard to predict the weather which is the general question. It is hot every day of the year, and you do need sun block even when it rains for an hour.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park opens daily from 7:30 am to 5 pm. This beautiful marine park is accessible in 15 to 20 minutes from Jesselton Point Terminal jetty in Kota Kinabalu city next to the Malaysian Royal Custom Department office. Daily boat transportation is available to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park every day starting from 7.30am until 5.00pm.

Diving at Tuku Abdul Rahman Marine Park Kota Kinabalu

However, with Diverse Borneo, you don’t have to worry about the transportation because we got our own boats for us to go there!

For a location so close to Kota Kinabalu city central, the Kota Kinabalu Dive Sites within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park still have surprisingly good coral cover and a high biodiversity, with an estimated 364 different fish species living within the marine park boundaries at our dive sites. One of the reason for this high biodiversity is that the park encompasses a wide range of habitats – you can be ‘muck’ diving with a Blue ringed octopus on your first dive of the day, exploring colourful reefs with passing Black-tip Reef Sharks on the second and interacting with turtles and cuttlefish on one of the island’s house reef on the final dive.

From November to February, plankton blooms attracting both krill and any passing Whale Sharks. An underwater encounter with one of these colossal animals, particular when they suddenly emerge out of the gloom created by such dense clouds of krill, is simply an unforgettable experience.


The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park was established in 1974 and was named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman. TARP first included just Gaya and Sapi Islands but in 1979 expanded to include the other three islands which makes up TARP now.

The park was extensively fished and bombed since the 1970’s and with outcry from the diving operators since the 1990’s, TARP decided to impose a RM53.00 diving permit for scuba divers to dive the local dive sites so they can patrol the islands and stop the fisherman. Since, the start of 2002, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park reefs has become bigger, colourful and now the marine life is growing.

Scuba diving can be a year-round affair at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, although November through to February experiences wet and windy conditions due to the northeast monsoon. Visibility throughout the year ranges from 10 to 15 metres but it can drop to 5 to 8 meters from November to February. Kota Kinabalu Dive Sites around the park are generally no deeper than 18 to 23 metres.

Although there are not many currents to speak of, the occasional thermocline can make diving a ‘chilling’ experience. The calm and shallow conditions that prevail throughout the park’s islands are ideal training ground for novice divers.

Diverse macro life forms including the rare dragonet, juvenile ghost pipefish, coral shrimps, gobies and blennies are favourites with ‘muck divers’ while pods of bottle nose dolphins and the seasonal sightings of whale sharks when the water teems with krill make for exciting encounters for all.


Police Reef

  • Depth: 5 – 30 meters
  • Average: 18 meters
  • TARP Rating: 8/10
  • Unique Features: Sea Fans, Whip Coral, Frog Fish, Barracuda’s, Turtles, Fusiliers, Tuna, Scorpion Fish.

Agill’s Reef

  • Depth: 12 – 24 meters
  • Average: 14 meters
  • TARP Rating: 7/10
  • Unique Features: Sea Fans, Plate Corals, sponges, nudibranchs, lobster, tuna, morays, fusiliers, and recent sightings of grey reef shark as of December 2010.

Base Camp

  • Depth: 3 – 12 meters
  • Average: 7 meters
  • TARP Rating: 4/10
  • Unique Features: The home of sea walking and the head quarters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Bat fish, parrot fish, anemone fish, nudibranchs, porcupine fish are most common.

Bulijong Reef

  • Depth: 10 – 25 meters
  • Average: 15 meters
  • TARP Rating: 7/10
  • Unique Features: Table Corals cover the shallow reef, small wall around 20-25 meters, Giant Clams, Lion Fish, Snappers, Groupers, Puffer and Porcupine Fish.

Eel Garden

  • Depth: 5 – 18 meters
  • Average: 10 meters
  • TARP Rating: 5/10
  • Unique Features: Garden Eels around 13 – 18 meters on sandy bottom, gobies, pipe fish, crustaceans.
  • The reef also known for the mass of car / truck tyres deeper than the garden eels starting from 25 meters depth and heading out for almost 50 meters. Watch our for stone fish and barracuda’s. Good for PADI Adventure Deep Dive 🙂


Clement Reef

  • Depth: 8 – 23 meters
  • Average: 18 meters
  • TARP Rating: 8/10
  • Unique Features: Plate, whip, Brain corals, sponges with a variety of reef fish including, fusiliers, parrot fish, anemone fish, Jacks, Tuna, crocodile fish and Cuttlefish.
  • Clement reef also has an extension, where the reef goes to 30 meters with lots of soft corals.

Coral Garden

  • Depth: 2 – 14 meters
  • Average: 7 meters
  • TARP Rating: 9/10
  • Unique Features: A reef full of staghorn corals and sponges. Common sightings of the sea turtle, frog fish, ghost pipe fish, anemone fish, and stone fish.

Ron Reef

  • Depth: 8 – 20 meters
  • Average: 14 meters
  • TARP Rating: 6/10
  • Unique Features: Sea Fans and plate corals make up this reef which if you kick fast enough you will make one round as it in a circular form. Stone, scorpion, lion fish are widely seen, with blue spotted sting rays and nudibranchs.

Sapi House Reef

  • Depth: 1 – 20 meters
  • Average: 8 meters
  • TARP Rating: 6/10
  • Unique Features: The training site with artificial reef balls together with tyres, trash and more trash. dragon nets, garden eels, blue spotted sting rays, stone fish, leaf fish, barracuda’s and lots of reef fish.


West Ridge

  • Depth: 7 – 23 meters
  • Average: 16 meters
  • TARP Rating: 7/10
    Unique Features: Black Coral, brain coral, sea fans, marble rays, sting rays, Jack fish, lion fish, nudibranchs.

Mid Reef

  • Depth: 5 – 22 meters
  • Average: 13 meters
  • TARP Rating: 7/10
  • Unique Features: A small wooden wreck lays at the bottom of the reef, sea horse, frog fish, sea turtles, nudibranchs, fusiliers and most common reef fish.


Mamutik Island

  • Average: 7 meters
  • TARP Rating: 6/10
  • Unique Features: The training site with artificial reef with coral re-planting – courtesy of Borneo Diver’s. Leaf fish, pipe fish, lion fish, and home to the giant statue of the Sea Horse :).


  • Depth: 6 – 17 meters
  • Average: 12 meters
  • TARP Rating: 7/10
  • Unique Features: A pyramid shaped reef which gets you spinning in circle’s. Morays, sea snakes, anemones fish, parrot fish, fusiliers, shrimps and crabs.


Sulman Reef

  • Depth: 8 – 26 meters
  • Average: 20 meters
  • TARP Rating: 9/10
  • Unique Features: The reef starts from Sulug, heads to manukan and back to Sulug. A healthy reef with lots of coral life, and lots of reef fish, frog fish, crocodile fish, nudibranchs, puffer fish and pipe fish.

Drop Off

  • Depth: 5 – 30 meters
  • Average: 15 meters
  • TARP Rating: 8/10
  • Unique Features: The name arrives from its steep sloping reef that drops down to 30 meters. Although the best parts of the reef is much shallower, sea snakes, turtles, frog fish, scorpion fish, pipe fish and morays.


Edgell Patches

  • Depth: 12 – 30 meters
  • Average: 15 meters
  • TARP Rating: 10/10
  • Unique Features: Two reefs which are often known as Edgell South and Edgell North, the south being the smaller of the two, but we have seen everything here from a whale shark to a blue ring octopus. Teaming with hard and soft corals and a host of marine life. Sometimes currents appear and should only dive here if experienced.
    10 minutes from SAPI Island

Leopard Reef

  • Depth: 14 – 30 metres
  • Average: 20 metres
  • TARP Rating: 10/10
  • Unique Features: A few reefs attached together in the middle of the ocean 30 minutes by boat from any land. Big boulders packed with Sea
  • Urchins and lots of colourful soft corals together with Bamboo, Nurse and the occasional Leopard Shark. There are mild currents and minimum level of Advanced is requested. Founded by our PADI Course Director.
    40 minutes from Jesselton Point