Where We Are Staying

Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah, a state in Malaysian Borneo. We will be staying at Down Below Lodge, which is in KK Times Square, just south of the city waterfront. You can have laundry done and you can rent towels at the lodge (this is not included in the trip costs).  There is a 7-Eleven downstairs from the lodge where you can buy snacks and soft drinks (not included in the trip costs).

There is an area in the hostel for charging your electronics. We will ask you to leave your electronics in the hostel each day. You will have plenty of time to Snapchat and call parents in the mornings and evenings.

The lodge is around the corner from a large mall, which has a money changer if you need to get Ringgit, which is the local currency. The money changer exchanges dollars and Chinese yuan.

Gaya Island

Each day, we will be travelling to Gaya Island, which is a short boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. We will stay on the island all day, and we will be based at the Down Below Dive Centre. We will dive two or three times a day. We will return to the dive centre between dives, so you can bring a day bag each day, with anything you want. You’ll have time to relax between dives, and water, snacks and lunch are provided at the dive centre each day.  There are cold-water showers where you can rinse off after diving if you wish.

You will be getting wet during the day and there are cold water showers at the dive centre to rinse off the salt water post-dive. You’ll need to bring a towel with you each day.

The Weather

The average temperature in Kota Kinabalu is between 24°C and 33°C. The sun rises at about 6:30 a.m. and sets around 6:30 p.m. It’s tropical, so it is usually really, really hot, but  it can rain. You should bring a light rain jacket. You won’t need heavy clothes, but will require sun cream, a hat, and light long-sleeved clothes to protect yourself from the sun.

We will spend at least one day walking in the rainforest, so bring closed shoes with good grips.


Packing List

Here are the things you’ll need for the trip:

  • Passport (must have at least six months remaining, you need to check visa requirements)
  • Day pack
  • PADI Manual
  • Caring for Coral 2018 rash vest
  • Laptop
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts
  • Towel
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun cream. Try to get a coral-safe brand. We can sell you a tube if you need it.
  • Hat
  • Swimwear
  • Power Adapter (China to UK)
  • Extension cables/power strips if you have multiple devices you want to charge.
  • Flip flops for the beach and city.
  • Closed shoes/trainers with good grips for the forest
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, tampons, etc.)
  • Epi-pens and any medication you require. Make sure you tell us about this before you travel.
  • Binoculars if you have them. We might see some cool creatures in the rainforest. It’s always good to get a close-up.