Malaysia is a country of diverse and captivating attractions, with towering skyscrapers, lively markets, delicious cuisine, unspoiled beaches, and abundant rainforests. Its position in the coral triangle also makes it one of the most magnificent and fulfilling dive sites on the globe. Underwater exploration in Malaysia provides you with an opportunity to unravel the secrets of the vibrant marine world thriving beneath its waters. With two primary diving regions, peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo, it offers breathtaking diving spots frequented by diving enthusiasts from around the world. Let’s delve deeper into the hidden treasures of this beautiful nation to uncover the best diving locations in Malaysia.
Why Scuba Diving in Malaysia Is an Excellent Idea?
With plenty of shallow dive sites, learning top-notch scuba diving in Malaysia is a fantastic choice if you’ve decided to take the plunge. Easily accessible shore dives with depths starting from 3 meters are comfortable for beginners. The awe-inspiring biodiversity of underwater flora and fauna, along with exceptional diving sites, ensures that your diving experience in Malaysia will leave you wanting more.
10 Destinations for Scuba Diving in Malaysia
Here are the 10 most renowned islands for diving in Malaysia to explore the depths of the sea:
- Sipadan Island – For Coral Gardens
- Mabul & Kapalai Islands – Observe Macro Species
- Lankayan Island – Scuba Diving Hub
- Layang-Layang Island – Abundant Marine Life
- Mataking Island – Ideal for Diving Resorts
- Redang Island – For a PADI Certification
- Tenggol Island – Explore Untouched Corals
- Perhentian Islands – Perfect for Learners
- Tioman Island – Diverse Diving Spots
- Lang Tengah – Nighttime Scuba Dive
1. Sipadan Island – For Coral Gardens
This stunning island takes the coveted position for the best underwater exploration in Malaysia, boasting perfect diving conditions and an unparalleled variety of marine species to discover. Sipadan Island is an exceptional diving destination with top sites like Barracuda Point, Coral Garden, Hanging Garden, etc., all teeming with an incredible array of underwater life. Scuba diving in Malaysia’s Sipadan allows you to witness turtles, reef sharks, gray sharks, as well as numerous leaf fishes, frog fishes, and pygmy seahorses.
Optimal time to visit: March to OctoberOptimal time to dive: April to December
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2. Mabul & Kapalai Islands – Detect Microscopic Species
Diving off the coast of Mabul Island in Malaysia grants you the opportunity to encounter one of the finest spots for Mud Diving in the globe. Microscopic species are also abundant and you will be astonished to uncover uncommon species of Sea Slugs, cuttlefish, and the blue-ringed Octopus. You can select from lavish 5-star resorts or a cost-effective backpacker lodge for your accommodation. Kapalai Island, with its shallow dive sites, is a haven for underwater photography as well as night diving.
Optimal time to visit: March to OctoberOptimal time to dive: July and August
3. Lankayan Island – Scuba Diving Hotspot
After Sipadan, this possibly offers the finest diving in Malaysia. With roughly 30 plunge locations nearby, Lankayan offers the unique chance to relish stunning corals, mud diving, and effortless wreck diving at the same destination. With only one luxurious resort, Lankayan is the ideal escape for a serene vacation spent exploring the underwater world and indulging in the delightful resort stay. The wreck diving sites surrounding the island are teeming with vast shoals of fish, as well as barracudas and trevallies.
Optimal time to visit: June and SeptemberOptimal time to dive: June to September
4. Layang-Layang Island – Abundant Marine Life
With over 10 dive sites within a 5-15 minute speedboat journey, Layang Layang is an astounding option for scuba diving in Malaysia. Untouched by human interference, the corals and underwater world at this isolated island remain in impeccable condition, making it one of the finest dive sites in Malaysia. With massive schools of pelagic fish, manta rays, and even whale sharks, diving around Layang Layang is simply spectacular. If you’re visiting the island in April-May, you can also spot the stunning hammerhead sharks that congregate in the depths for mating.
Optimal time to visit: March to AugustRecommended diving season: March to August
5. Mataking Island – For Diving Resorts
Both beginners and seasoned divers will find Mataking Island diving extremely gratifying and fulfilling. The island also boasts stunning luxurious resorts from where you can organize your diving excursions. Divers have the opportunity to observe manta rays, eagle rays, grey reef sharks, and enormous green turtles. Mataking, along with Sibuan, ranks among the finest diving locations in Malaysia for muck diving as well, with prospects of encountering rare marine creatures. Don’t miss out on the extraordinary experience of visiting the world’s first underwater post office through a wreck diving trip near Mataking. Apart from Mataking Island, Pom Island, and Sibuan Island also provide similar scuba diving experiences.
Optimal time to visit: February to NovemberRecommended diving season: March to October
6. Redang Island – For A PADI Certif
Situated on the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, Redang Island forms part of the Terengganu Marine Park and presents exceptional diving opportunities, with crystal clear and tranquil waters adorned with vibrant and exquisite coral reefs. With its perfect conditions for diving and captivating marine treasures, it serves as the ideal destination for underwater exploration in Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur. The 4-day PADI certification course is quite cost-effective here, making it an excellent choice for learning scuba diving in Malaysia.
Optimal time to visit: April to OctoberRecommended diving season: NA
7. Tenggol Island – Uncover Untouched Corals
Another remarkable dive site in peninsular Malaysia, Tenggol Island is predominantly recommended for experienced divers as the currents can be quite strong. With an array of fantastic resorts and pristine coral reefs to explore, this exquisite island, just a 45-minute speedboat ride away, is counted among the premier diving destinations in Malaysia. Get ready to delve into a vibrant marine world at over 20 breathtaking dive spots featuring unforgettable underwater landscapes.
Optimal time to visit: October to FebruaryPrime time to go scuba diving: March to October
8. Perhentian Islands – Ideal For Beginners
One of the top destinations to learn finest scuba diving in Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands provides excellent diving conditions and numerous diving spots for novices. Additionally, being part of the Terengganu Marine Park, there are roughly 20 dive sites scattered across the archipelago with transparent water and shallow reefs filled with breathtaking marine species. Sugar Wreck is an outstanding wreck diving site near the island that presents marvelous opportunities for underwater photography. The Perhentian Islands also boast the most affordable prices for scuba diving lessons in Malaysia.
Best time to visit: March to NovemberBest time to dive: April to October
9. Tioman Island – Varied Diving Locations
Similar to other diving sites in peninsular Malaysia, Tioman Island is ideal for both novices and experienced divers, featuring over 25 thrilling dive sites, including the astonishing Tiger Reef, which makes it one of the finest destinations for scuba diving in Malaysia in February. As you explore the captivating landscape of granite boulders, caves, and canyons, you enter a magical realm teeming with vibrant fish, reef sharks, turtles, manta rays, and even whale sharks. Beginners in search of the best scuba diving sites in Malaysia will be delighted with the Salang Jetty and ABC House Reef on this island.
Best time to visit: March to OctoberBest time to dive: February to November
10. Lang Tengah – Nocturnal Scuba Diving
The eagle in the middle – a pristine island for diving in West Malaysia
Literally known as ‘The eagle in the middle’, this unspoiled island situated between Redang and Perhentian Islands boasts some of the finest diving and snorkeling sites in West Malaysia. Deep-sea diving enthusiasts will be rewarded with abundant schools of rabbitfish, snappers, and fusiliers, while the shallow bays are teeming with crustaceans and critters. The island is also an idyllic location for night scuba diving in Malaysia.
Optimal time to visit: March to October
Best time to dive: Not applicable
Cost of Scuba Diving in Malaysia
A typical one-day excursion usually falls within the range of INR 6000 – INR 7000, which includes:
- Three guided boat dives
- Jetty and marine park fees
- Rental of dive equipment
- Pick-up and drop-off from the hotel/resort
- Lunch and refreshments
There are several exceptional and trustworthy scuba diving schools in Malaysia located at all the prime diving spots, offering comprehensive packages that include accommodation and dive plans. Most diving schools provide PADI certificate courses and authentic scuba diving licenses in Malaysia. Diving spots like Perhentian and Tioman Islands typically offer the most affordable scuba diving license costs in Malaysia and are highly recommended for beginners.
Further Reading: Sarawak Gawai Festival: Witness The Enthusiasm And Energy Of This Local Malaysian Event
Already captivated by these scuba diving spots in Malaysia? Well, we understand. It is an adventure that is worth your time and money. So, don’t hesitate and start planning your trip to Malaysia with Fred and Fuzzys right away!
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Commonly Asked Questions About Scuba Diving In Malaysia
Is Malaysia suitable for diving?
Malaysia offers calm waters and protected reefs, making it an ideal destination for scuba diving for all skill levels. Scuba diving in Malaysia is not only an incredible experience, where you can explore a breathtaking array of marine life, but it is also soothing for the soul.
What activities are there to do in Malaysia?
The most incredible activities to experience in Malaysia for an amazing vacation are: 1. Engage in Skydiving 2. Embark on an Awana Skyway tour 3. Attempt Bunjee Jumping 4. Explore the Taman Negara National Park 5. Enjoy a Mangrove Boat Safari.
What is the price of scuba diving in Malaysia?
A one-day scuba diving excursion in Malaysia will fall within the price range of Rs. 6000 to Rs. 7000.
Where can I go diving in Malaysia?
Some of the finest locations for scuba diving in Malaysia include Sipadan Island, Mataking Island, Tioman Island, Redang Island, and more.
How risky is diving?
Diving is one of the most daring sports. Engaging in underwater dives and experiencing marine life up close naturally involves some degree of danger. Nevertheless, with proper guidance and instructions, this thrilling activity can be conducted with ease.
How can I reach the Perhentian Islands?
The Perhentian Islands are easily accessible from Malaysia through airways, roadways, and waterways. One can choose to take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bahru, or opt for a bus, train, or ferry to reach the islands.
Is scuba diving challenging?
On the contrary, scuba diving is one of the simplest activities to learn. This sport combines the fundamental skills of floating, kicking, and breathing, making it easier to grasp.
Can individuals who do not know how to swim participate in scuba diving?
Certainly, even non-swimmers can partake in scuba diving as it primarily focuses on gliding and floating underwater. However, certain restrictions are in place for non-swimmers.