Your Next Scuba Diving Vacation in Malaysia

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Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Sipadan Kapalai Mabul Scuba Diving

These three islands probably contain the best dive sites in the whole of Malaysia. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions. Kapalai is a small sand bank, not that great for diving, but here you can find a very exclusive resort built on stilts. Actually both Sipadan and Mabul earn their own spot in this list, but since you can’t visit one (Sipadan) without the other (Mabul) we just listed the whole cluster as one entry.

SCUBA DIVING IN MALAYSIA

Located in the Indo-Pacific Basin, Malaysia is a truly blessed country. Imagine crystal clear waters surrounding beautiful islands with pure, white beaches. Picture coconut palms swaying in balmy, tropical breezes, all set against a backdrop of lush, green rainforest. And, especially important to divers, Malaysia’s biodiversity is nothing short of stunning.

Malaysia is a modern Asian country where English is widely spoken. Separated by the waters of the South China Sea, the country is divided into two regions. Positioned immediately north of the equator between Thailand and Singapore is Peninsular Malaysia and the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Borneo (or East Malaysia), which consists of the states of Sabah and Sarawak, is on the northern edges of Borneo, the world’s third largest island.

Around the hundreds of tropical islands, you’ll find an incredible choice of dive sites and undiscovered beaches. It’s not surprising that Malaysia is regarded one of the world’s top dive destinations. Pick from an variety of underwater landscapes – including sloping reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens – for your deep, drift, wreck, cave and wall dives. Get ready to meet an amazing array of brilliant, exotic marine life beneath these pristine waters – some of which are rarely experienced anywhere else on earth. Some world renowned dive sites await you off of Borneo’s Sipadan and Mabul Islands. Off of the Malay Peninsula, Perhentian, Redang and Tioman Islands all offer their own unique charm.

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Famous for its wall diving and coral overhangs, Sipadan Island is Malaysia’s only oceanic island. Rising 600 metres/2000 feet from the bottom of the Celebes Sea, this small island was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone. Although small in size, it is big in biodiversity, with more than 3000 species of marine life.

Great Sipadan dive sites include Barracuda Point, Coral Garden, Hanging Gardens, Mid Reef, South Point, Turtle Patch and White Tip Avenue. Experienced cave divers can also pay a visit to the famous Turtle Tomb, a 200 metre/650 foot cave system. With many PADI Dive Resorts on the neighboring islands, you’ll find all of your dive needs catered to.

In contrast to Sipadan’s large pelagics, Mabul Island – which is just 15 minutes away by boat – is known for the peculiar, minute and exotic. Its reputation as one of the best macro diving sites in the world is built on its fairly regular sightings of critters like mandarinfish, Devil scorpionfish, ghost pipefish, stonefish, frogfish, crocodilefish, mantis shrimp, snake eels, seahorses and vivid nudibranchs.

About 20 minutes from Sipadan, Kapalai Island boasts a shallow reef that is easy to dive and quite spectacular. The more than 20 dives sites are home to the weird and wonderful cuttlefish, invisible frogfish and an incredible number of rare and strikingly colorful creatures that reside on the sandy bottom.

An ideal location for both novice divers and anyone continuing their dive education, the balmy and tropical Perhentian Islands are 21 kilometres/13 miles northeast of the Malaysian peninsula. Here you will find powdery, white sand beaches, crystal clear water and, of course, superb diving and snorkelling. Take your pick of towering pinnacles, unique shipwrecks and more than 20 fringing reefs. There are at least 20 different dive sites, including the giant pinnacle of Tokong Laut, aptly named Temple of the Sea, which buzzes with aquatic life and is home to a significant sea turtle nesting population.

The Redang Archipelago is a spread of nine islands in the South China Sea. Off Redang Island, are numerous dive sites – including beach, shallow and deep dives – to suit all skill levels. There are beautiful hard and soft corals in what some consider the world’s most developed coral gardens, as well as sandy bottom sites offering quality muck dives. Redang has vast stretches of white beaches where sea turtles, along with thousands of tropical fish species, play in the shallow shoreline waters. Protected by the Palau Redang Marine Parks, the marine environment here is rich and healthy.

Tioman Island, 67 kilometres/41 miles off of the peninsula’s east coast, is a relatively undiscovered, world class dive destination. With seemingly endless white sand beaches and waving palm trees, it’s a great place to learn to dive. Plus, the nearby deep water and many wrecks mean that technical divers won’t be disappointed.

Tioman and the surrounding smaller islands were formed by large granite boulders, which means many of the dive sites interesting underwater formations. The boulders are covered with a dense growth of both hard and soft corals, which provide the perfect habitat for an abundance of marine life. One highlight of Tioman is Tiger Reef, which is a submersed pinnacle with an average depth of 16 metres/52 feet. Here, you’ll marvel at the coral formations, crinoids, sea whips and sea fans. Due to the stronger currents, however, it is recommended only for advanced divers.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia
Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Sipadan Kapalai Mabul Scuba Diving

These three islands probably contain the best dive sites in the whole of Malaysia. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions. Kapalai is a small sand bank, not that great for diving, but here you can find a very exclusive resort built on stilts. Actually both Sipadan and Mabul earn their own spot in this list, but since you can’t visit one (Sipadan) without the other (Mabul) we just listed the whole cluster as one entry.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Lankayan Island Scuba Diving

A small island located north of the city of Sandakan in eastern Sabah. Lankayan only has one (luxurious) resort and it’s all about diving and relaxing. Accommodation might be quite expensive for non-divers, they might be better off at numerous other islands. After Sipadan, Lankayan probably offers the best dive spots and diving conditions in Malaysia.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Layang Layang Island Scuba Diving

Layang-Layang is not a tropical island per se. It is a concrete landing strip with one resort and a marine base, located on a big sand bank located just below sea level. Layang-Layang is located in a remote area, where the underwater world has not been affected by human beings. Corals are in pristine conditions. Layang-Layang is a place to see big species and big schools of fish (not so much smaller stuff).

Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, green turtle, ornate ghost pipefish, mandarin fish, flamboyant cuttlefish,  bumphead parrotfish, whitetip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, blacktip reef shark

Ideal for viewing: green turtle, giant jawfish, common cuttlefish, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard shark

Ideal for viewing : Large animals, wall diving, reef life and health and visibility

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Mataking Island Scuba Diving

Mataking Island is a honeymooners paradise located right on the Malaysian/Phillipine border. Mataking is a picture-perfect deserted island–so much so that the creators of the television show Survivor decided to film the first season here! With white-sand beaches that stretch the full length of the island, palm tress that house coconut crabs, and dive sites that will suite both macro and pelagic lovers alike, Mataking has it all!

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Pom Pom Island Scuba Diving

The marine biodiversity of Pom Pom Island is amazing with many rare and uncommon species. The region is part of the coral triangle which has 500 plus coral species. A recent study by UMS, WWF, Sabah Parks and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands in the nearby Tun Sakaran Marine Park found a world record of 43 species of mushroom corals and suggested that the region may have the worlds highest marine biodiversity.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park  Scuba Diving

Right opposite of the city of Kota Kinabalu in western Sabah (Borneo) lies the wonderful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TAR Marine Park). This area contains numerous dive sites that are definitely worth a visit. Dive schools mainly operate from out of Kota Kinabalu, though there are also a few that are located on the islands. Similar to Perhentian Island this is a great place to start diving by doing a 4 day PADI course as the dive conditions are optimal for beginners.

WEST MALAYSIA

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Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Sipadan Kapalai Mabul Scuba Diving

These three islands probably contain the best dive sites in the whole of Malaysia. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions. Kapalai is a small sand bank, not that great for diving, but here you can find a very exclusive resort built on stilts. Actually both Sipadan and Mabul earn their own spot in this list, but since you can’t visit one (Sipadan) without the other (Mabul) we just listed the whole cluster as one entry.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Lankayan Island Scuba Diving

A small island located north of the city of Sandakan in eastern Sabah. Lankayan only has one (luxurious) resort and it’s all about diving and relaxing. Accommodation might be quite expensive for non-divers, they might be better off at numerous other islands. After Sipadan, Lankayan probably offers the best dive spots and diving conditions in Malaysia.

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

Layang Layang Island Scuba Diving

Layang-Layang is not a tropical island per se. It is a concrete landing strip with one resort and a marine base, located on a big sand bank located just below sea level. Layang-Layang is located in a remote area, where the underwater world has not been affected by human beings. Corals are in pristine conditions. Layang-Layang is a place to see big species and big schools of fish (not so much smaller stuff).

Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, green turtle, ornate ghost pipefish, mandarin fish, flamboyant cuttlefish,  bumphead parrotfish, whitetip reef shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, blacktip reef shark

Ideal for viewing: green turtle, giant jawfish, common cuttlefish, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard shark

Ideal for viewing : Large animals, wall diving, reef life and health and visibility

Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia
Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia
Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia
Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysiaScuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia Scuba Dive Malaysia | scuba diving in malaysia

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