Following our brief and cloudy Kota Kinabalu City tour on our first day, we thank God for a sunnier Saturday morning as we headed for some island hopping adventure in Palau Sapi and Palau Manukan plus exciting water activities at the new Borneo Reef World.
After a filling buffet breakfast in Pacific Sutera hotel, everyone was ready with their sunnies, sunblock creams and swim suits.
My heart thumped faster realizing what lies ahead for the whole day. Basically, I’m not a water-person besides the fact that I can’t swim; water activities makes me cringe to a certain extent.
But the excitement of experiencing what the Borneo Reef World has to offer somehow encourages me that I can do this as I am still in the process of accepting and conquering my fear of the ocean. 😛
Kota Kinabalu Island Hopping Tour: Palau Sapi & Palau Manukan
Both pleasant beaches of Kota Kinabalu was populated by quite number of visitors that day. With clear waters, restaurants, and resorts, both islands are ideal destination for a relaxing stay.
Borneo Reef World
Following the brief Kota Kinabalu island tour in Palau Sapi and Palau Manukan, we are ready to see the Borneo Reef World, the largest Reef Activity Pontoon in Asia.
After the standard briefing, each guest was provided a blue basket to place our important belongings.
My eyes immediately caught this door. I thought it was the entrance for the Seawalking activity, which I’ve been thinking since I woke up this morning.
It turned out to be an underwater air-conditioned observatory. The gigantic observatory offered a fantastic underwater view of sea creatures without having to swim or getting wet in the proceess.
Here comes my first personal challenge: snorkeling. Although still afraid of the water, I set aside my fears and pursued going down to try it.
I’m glad I did it and found it enjoyable. I wouldn’t say I did it without any problems but I think this is a good first step. 🙂
After which, the much awaited Sea Walking / Helmet Diving activity followed. ‘Sea Walking’ is literally how the activity name describes it – walking on the sea floor, albeit with a giant helmet so even non swimmers could take this opportunity to simulate diving and going down to the lower levels of the ocean. You might experience some pressure in your ears but the visual rewards of seeing the fishes and the underwater reefs is rewarding enough. Just make sure though that you don’t have pressure-related health issues.
Thanks to my dear friend Iris of PinayAds and her underwater camera, I got a souvenir photo!
After a whole day of swimming, snorkeling, sea walking, and even scuba diving, get to enjoy coffee and snacks while waiting for the the lunch buffet set with fresh seafood dishes, vegetables, and fruits.
I could say that the Borneo Reef World was a wonderful experience which led me to a breakthrough first step of conquering my fear of the ocean; aside from the awesome water adventure, of course.
We left the pontoon via a luxury ship headed back to Jesselton Point in Kota Kinabalu.
Here’s a list of things to do in Borneo Reef World:
- Introductory scuba diving
- Scuba diving for Certified divers
- Underwater Observatory
- Sea Walking or Ocean Walker/ Helmet Diving
- Underwater Photography
- Simply enjoy the heat of the sun, sun bathing while relaxing at the double deck pontoon
- Enjoy good food. They serve seafood, vegetables and fruits
- Earn a friend or two. Meet people from different parts of the world.
Upon landing, the group was divided in two – one went to shop in Sabah Suria while others went straight to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for a night of tour and cultural awareness Mari Mari Cultural Village (read more of Mari Mari Cultural Village at www.livingmarjorney.com).
*Photos and Story by Marjorie Pineda-Uy
Props goes to Zest Air, Sabah Tourism Board in partnership with Air Asia, and the friendly crew of Borneo Reef World in Kota Kinabalu!
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