Kota Kinibalu (KK) would definitely not be on the Bucket List. The city itself is primarily a gateway for people climbing the famous Mt Kinibalu, heading out in search of the local wildlife or diving the Marine Park which sits just offshore.

We were in Malaysia to see the orangutans, however KK has several excellent budget options for completing dive qualifications. The offshore marine park is pleasant but not spectacular, but if you’re in the area and want to add to your dive skills then a couple of days diving is a pretty good option.

By the end of the visit here we were both PADI advanced open water divers with specialities in underwater photography. We did our courses with DiveDownBelow, who were largely very good, with the exception of some very ambiguous website copy which caused confusion.

On reflection we probably would have been better paying a little extra and heading over to Sipadan to do the courses. From everything we saw and heard the diving there is nothing short of spectacular. Whereas in KK the reefs were struggling for life.

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