Bigfin Divers
Bigfin Divers
5
About
We are the first dive centre in Kota Belud with daily Fun Dives and a full range of PADI dive courses for Introductory to Experienced divers. Based in Kota Belud, Sabah, we offer a close by alternative to the crowded KK marine park. We are in world class dive territory with stunning reefs, wrecks and islands all situated within the coral triangle famous for outstanding marine diversity. Enjoy learning to dive directly off our white sand beach, take a short boat trip to local reefs, submerged pinnacles and picture perfect off shore islands… plus watch out for the seasonal giants that visit annually! We are a small personal dive centre. We dive in small groups lead by experienced qualified instructors to create a safe professional learning experience in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We dive sites in Kota Belud and Mantanai Island. To book diving please contact us in advance. We are open all year however our dive season runs from February through to September
Kota Belud, Malaysia
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(8 reviews)
(36 reviews)
(10 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles74 reviews
Excellent
68
Very good
4
Average
1
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0

Laura Jane
17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Solo
I did my PADI Open Water and spent 6 nights at this family run resort at the end of a 3 week trip around Sabah. It was the perfect way to end a glorious holiday. You arrive on a small boat to white sandy beaches and are welcomed by home cooked food. The place feels like a warm community which has invited you in, rather than just a resort. You can help yourself to free tea and coffee and you can take other drinks, including beer, from the fridge on a tab basis. The accommodation is perfect. Spotlessly clean, meticulously kept little bungalows with views from your hammock of Mount Kinabalu. The sunrise over the mountain as you open the curtains in the morning is magnificent. I love that they’ve taken great care not to harm the local environment and keep the resort eco-friendly.

The diving instructors are excellent. Fun when they need to be ( ask Maman to sing for you!) and utterly professional In the water. We took my 10 year old niece and 13 year old nephew on a Discover Scuba Dive trip and a day trip to Mantanani island where we saw turtles. The instructors, Steph and Maman, were amazing with them and now both can’t wait to get back under the water. I also noticed that they picked up rubbish from the sea floor. They care about the area. Only tip I would give is to book your dives in early as it does get busy.

I loved doing my PADI Open Water with Maman and he was very patient with me when I made mistakes.

January is out of season for the dive sites and the visibility can be a bit sketchy at that time, but I could see the potential of the sites and would love to go back to see them in all their glory. I still had a lot of fun and we saw lion fish, barracuda, cuttlefish and lots more. In between dives you can simply unwind, read your book on a hammock or watch as the sun sets over the beach.

You can also rent kayaks, paddle boards and snorkels to play in the water.

If you’re looking for somewhere to escape, dive a bit and simply sit back and enjoy life away from busy bustling resorts bursting with tourists, this place is for you.
Written 1 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Omar A
United Kingdom2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Solo
Rony is a brilliant instructor and a great guy. Loved doing the advanced open water course here as well as fun dives.

The whole team & community at Big Fin & Aminah Holidays make the stay very homely & authentic. Great atmosphere, fresh cooked tasty food, and good vibes all day.

Can’t recommend this place enough!!
Written 14 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jaime K
Puchong, Malaysia119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Couples
Just came back from a 4d/3n stay here. What we do love this place was it feels like home, the stay was comfortable, clean rooms and very quiet apart from being bitten by mosquitoes lol & the weather can be really hot & humid.

Nonetheless, we were very happy with this place as the owner and staff was very helpful and friendly too. They are so accommodating and we feel so relax. Diving is fun as there were so many dive sites that we still not yet explored... will come back soon.

Highly recommended dive centre.
Written 19 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Al Rashid Zulkefli
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Friends
Been there twice! Apek & Ela is a well experienced Instructor. No doubt on their ability and knowledge. Came to visit as closed friend now. ;)
Written 12 December 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Looking forward to trip number 3! thanks for the review!
Written 28 January 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

wasy141
Edmonton, Canada2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015
Apeh runs a great dive shop out of Manana resort! He takes you to dive spots that few other people go to, meaning you are the only ones exploring the reefs. Very kind guy and the equipment is all new and in good condition! Would go again.
Written 15 December 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Terimakasih come back soon!
Written 28 January 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Douglas W
Miri, Malaysia4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Couples
Excellent kit, great location and facilities. Proffessional and friendly staff. Great boat..rigid inflatable, powerful, well able for sea conditions. Good briefing with overview of conditions, visibility, sealife, currents. Staff created safe diving environment. Good viz. And plenty of sea life during dive. Great outfit and really good value for money
Written 14 December 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thankyou very much for taking the time to review us Douglas
Written 28 January 2016
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Vikcil
Singapore133 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020 • Friends
2020 is a wonderful experience even though Covid hit us hard. After a long and hard research,
by luck, I managed to come across this gem 1hr plus journey away from KK. Wonderland for
natural lovers and divers who wish to stay away from busy city life for some peace. We spend
4days (wish is longer) and believe me, time flies here. Below are the Pro and Con of this little
lovely family run resort.
Pro
- For diver, the DM here are superb! Friendly and safety 1
st policy, debrief is to carry up
every dive interval to make sure we are aware of the dive site condition and recap important
hand signs. My nephew was doing his OWD and he totally loved the experience here.
Kudos to DM and Instructor!
- The resort is cool! Located in such a wonderful spot that we are spoiled with our own
private beach and every morning, Mt Kinabalu will greet you in front of your doorstep! So
magical feeling.
- Room and bed is comfortable, spacious, clean and you will be surprised if some 5 star
hotel in KK cant match the toilet cleanliness here. Love the hammock! Keep up the good
work!
- Lots of beautiful dive sites nearby. But due to weather/sea conditions, sometime visibility
wont be as good, but that is the beauty of nature.
- Love my organic Chili Padi
- Last but not least, Chief Awie, we love ur FOOD! You will be miss dearly
Con
- Was a bit disappointed on my first dive where we dropped off the wrong dive spot likely due
to GPS.
- Some equipment likely has to make a routine check. Got an issue on my regulator, but
nothing serious though. No issue with other equipment throughout the dive.
- Did 2 dive at Mantanani, didn’t actually enjoy the site (luckily I spot a sea turtle). But I cant
said all dive site are bad there because its only base on my 2 dive experience, visibility is
not as good that day. The Island is as per most review online, a rubbish collection island, full
of plastic! Such a shame that nothing is done here, zero effort for the environment.
Written 17 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Iris Bootlurn
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
My family and a few family friends decided to come here for holiday after climbing Mount Kinabalu. We were all sore and exhausted after those harcore 2 days, and this was the perfect place to go. At first, it looks a bit sketchy, as you take a boat from a rundown shack to a small island off the coast fo kota Belud. But the 'manager' of the place took us in to introduce us to the place. The hospitality was unmatched to anything I had ever expereinced. All the food was cooked by the gentleman, and you could ask for whatever you want, adjusting the menu to whatever your diet permits. The beach was extremely relaxing, the rooms were very small, but so cosy, with just a bedroom, a porch & a bathroom. It was quite a climb to get there, but the view from the hill is amazing.
The diving here was unmatched, it is so untouched that the coral is so alive. It looked like a scene out of the little mermaid, with pufferfish sleeping in purple coral 'cups', and octopi swimming around with no worry.
Paddleboards & kayaks are available, as is a snorkelling trip.
There is also a secret little area on the right of the beach, where you climb across the rocks for a few 100 metres for the most amazing sunset. Woul 100% reccomend, it was the best holiday I've ever been on, hands down.
Only negative is a few dogs who can get a bit energetic, so if you're not too keen on dogs, that may effect your decision.
Written 7 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for the wonderful review! We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us :)
Written 15 October 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Grace Y
Kuala Lumpur63 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019 • Friends
Finished off our trip to KK to climb Mount Kinabalu with a diving trip. Chanced upon Bigfin Divers, a true hidden gem nestled amidst nature.

I fell in love the moment I set foot on the beach. It was secluded and quiet, jazz playing on the stereo. Rooms were very clean. And I mean CLEAN. Spotless. Though basic, everything you need is available. Storage space, hangers for clothes, soap, shampoo. It is all very well thought of. I love the eco friendly concept as well. No airconds, just fans. But its cooling in the evenings. Lie on the hammocks and while the afternoons away!

Food was amazing. Homecooked, mostly Iocal dishes. I find it hard to forget that lovely banana pancake we had for breakfast. Beer and soft drinks are available for sale and on an honesty basis. Take a can, write it down. You can also help yourself to coffee and tea available in the kitchen. It’s like a community!!

Do not expect major entertainment as there is nothing on the beach. Bring a book, unwind, relax.

LOVED LOVED LOVED IT
Written 7 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Neil M
Passy, France12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Family
We spent 3 days at Big Fin Divers at the end of a 2 week trip around Borneo, and we felt very privileged to have found this paradise. 5 star luxury it is not (thankfully) so if you need a-c, wifi, TV & macchiatos then steer clear. These guys have created a place where the impact on the planet is minimal.
To get there you need to find a taxi driver who knows where to find the village where a small boat takes you across a bay to the white sand beach next to the Big Fin dive school. Behind the dive school, through a tropical garden, is the guest house with a few minimalist cabins where guests stay. The bedroom has a double bed with mosquito net and fan, a bathroom and a balcony with hammocks and view across the emerald bay, islands and jungle. You’re woken up by birdsong & jungle sounds and sometimes Rocky the dog who comes by for a pat. Then tough decisions - banana pancakes or porridge for breakfast, then snorkel / dive / kayak / finish that book and in which order. You can also look forward to mealtimes, predominantly Malaysian, with plenty of veggie options, and usually fruit to finish.
Due to the remote location, it’s not on the grid or mains water supply, so you’re encouraged to be conscious of the resources you’re using, ie water and electricity. Solar panels combined with a generator provide power, but yes there are occasional power cuts, phone signal is sporadic (bring cash to cover your extra costs rather than rely on the credit card machine).
To us, the appreciation of the planet’s natural beauty, alongside the hospitality of the team running Big Fin Divers overwhelmingly overshadowed any minor inconvenience. On the contrary, it was an excellent opportunity to explain to our kids about consumption and conservation of resources.
We WILL be back... in the meantime, please don’t change a thing!
Written 27 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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