DIVE DESTINATIONS

tar-park

Dive TAR Park

“A stunning tropical marine paradise right on the doorstep of Kota Kinabalu.”

A cluster of five pristine islands, Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, home to some of the best diving and snorkeling around Kota Kinabalu. A mere 20 minute boat ride from the capital city of Sabah, stunning white sandy beaches, clear shallow waters rich in marine life, and sumptuous coral gardens await day-trippers and diving enthusiasts.

Pulau Gaya, the largest island, offers possibly the best beaches and corals, while the littlest island, Pulau Mamutik, is an internationally-renowned macro dive site, ideal for novice divers with its shallow waters and gentle current.

Visitors to TAR Park will enjoy encounters with barracuda, snappers, blue-spotted rays, cuttlefish, puffer fish, lionfish, reef sharks, moray eels, the occasional green or hawksbill turtle, and even the colossal Whale Shark, the world’s largest fish which visits from February to April to feast on krill.

Macro diving enthusiasts will also have a fine time with nudibranchs, mantis shrimps, harlequin ghost pipefish, scorpion fish, and mandarin fish all calling this place home.

Good for: Large marine life, small marine life, macro diving, accessibility
Experience level: Beginner – advanced
Depth: 5 – 30 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Currents: Gentle
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 25 – 30°C
Number of dive sites: > 20

BOOK NOW

Pulau Mamutik

Pulau Mamutik, the smallest island, offers the best snorkeling and macro diving in TAR Park. The living corals are home to an astounding diversity of large and small marine life including the rare Frog fish, Lion Fish, Leaf Fish, banded sea krait and Olive Ridley while easy trails crisscross the forested island interior, good for a 20-minute nature stroll.

Mamutik’s shallow waters are highly recommended for novice or first-time divers. Borneo Divers operates a full service dive center on Pulau Mamutik, offering PADI courses from Discover Scuba Diving to Instructor courses. Popular dive sites include The Rock, Pyramid Reef and Mamutik House Reef.

Depth: 10 – 15 metres
Visibility:
Dive Type: Wall, Reef, Macro
Location: Southeastern TAR Park
Requirements: Advanced Open Water / Open Water

Pulau Gaya

Largest of the five islands, Pulau Gaya offers year-round diving and snorkeling in warm tropical waters, with sheltered reefs home to an abundance of diverse marine life. With a mixture of shallow macro dive sites and sloping reef walls, a dive in Pulau Gaya promises exciting encounters with large and macro marine creatures including Frog Fish, Scorpion Fish, Lion Fish, Seahorses, Nudibranchs, Turtles, Barracuda, Tuna and even Reef Sharks. Popular dive sites include Padang Point, HQ, Rubber Reef, Hanging Garden, Agil’s Reef, Bulijong and Hornbill beach.

Most of the island is covered in dense virgin rainforest, with over 20km of excellent walking trails meandering across the island including a boardwalk across a mangrove swamp. A local stilt village sits along the eastern shore nearest to the city, with a view of Mount Kinabalu in the distance.

Agil’s Reef

A gentle slope and strong currents attract large marine life including barracudas, rays and reef sharks as well as fusiliers, snappers and other reef fish. Lots of excellent hard and soft corals, barrel sponges and massive sea fans. Suitable only for experienced divers. A good captain or GPS is necessary to locate this site.

Depth: 7 – 26 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef, Drift
Location: Northeastern TAR Park
Requirements: Advanced Open Water

Pulau Sulug

Unspoiled Sulug Island offers some of the best diving in TAR Park. A long sand spit facing east drops sharply to an extensive coral reef, with common sightings of sea snakes, turtles, rays, frog fish, morays, lots of nudibranchs, and pristine live corals. This divers haven is nature at its best.

Depth: 7 – 25 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Dive Type:  Reef
Location: Southeastern TAR Park
Requirements: Open Water

The Gallery

The depth and diversity of The Gallery makes it an excellent site for underwater photography and videography. Sightings of lobsters, stingrays and giant clams are virtually guaranteed while over 30 species of soft and hard coral are easily found. Suitable for experienced divers due to strong currents.

Depth: 2 – 10 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef, Drift
Location: Northwest of Sulug Island
Requirements: Advanced Open Water

Keramat Reef

One of the most popular dive sites in TAR Park. Frequent sightings of turtles and barracudas and an abundance of coral make this an easy and beautiful dive. Observant divers may spot lionfish and the secretive octopus. Also excellent for night dives. Occasional strong currents.

Depth: 6 – 25 metres
Visibility: 10 – 20 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef, Night
Location: Southeast of Sulug Island
Requirements: Open Water

The Tyres

An easy shore dive that takes in the site of a reef-building project from a few years ago. Comprises ten sets of tyres which is home to stonefish, octopus, electric eels, moray eels, groupers, bandit shrimp, giant clams and lionfish, amongst others. Occasional strong currents.

Depth: 6 – 12 metres
Visibility: 6 – 12 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef
Location: Northeast of Pulau Sulug
Requirements: Open Water

Pulau Manukan

The second largest island, Pulau Manukan, is also the most developed with extensive tourist and recreational facilities. The island’s highlight is a long sprawling white sandy beach along the entire southern coast, and healthy coral reefs offering excellent diving, swimming and snorkeling.

The island’s well-forested interior is combed with nature trails for those who wish to explore on foot.

Mid Reef

A sloping reef near Manukan Island offering good hard corals, schools of yellow-finned barracudas and juvenile leopard sharks. A small wooden wreck teems with unusual marine critters such as shrimp, cuttlefish, frog fish and moray eels. Below 15 metres, a rare black coral garden can be seen.

Depth: 5 – 30 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef, Wreck, Night
Location: Southwestern TAR Park
Requirements: Advanced Open Water / Open Water

Pulau Sapi

This beautiful island offers pristine white sandy beaches and some of the best swimming and picnic spots in TAR Park. Divers will enjoy the coral garden at the southeastern tip of the island where Stingrays, Fusiliers, Crocodile Fish, Cuttlefish, Stone Fish, Anemone Fish, Octopus, Moray Eels and lots of nudibranchs abound.

Popular dive site at Sapi Island include Clement’s Reef, Ron’s Reef, Ram’s Reef, House Reef and Coral Garden. At low tide, one can walk from Pulau Sapi to Pulau Gaya on a connecting sand-bar.

Clement Reef

A sloping reef close to Sapi Island with a jutting finger at 25 metres deep. Abundant sea fans, sponges, soft coral and reef fish are the major attraction, as are the migrating whale sharks from February to April.

Depth: 8 – 25 metres
Visibility: 10 – 15 metres
Dive Type:  Wall, Reef
Location: Southwest of Pulau Gaya
Requirements: Advanced Open Water / Open Water