Malaysia has lots of Scuba diving spots, a lot. That is because we are situated on a continental shelf where 🌞sunlight can easily reach the sea bed, resulting in abundant coral reefs and other marine life. We have come across the 7 most beautiful scuba diving spots in Malaysia that you have to experience! Check them out now!👇
Sipadan is a household name for diving in Sabah. It is also a 🌎world-renowned diving spot and has one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world! What sets Sipadan different from many other diving spots in Malaysia is the 600 metres wall that goes straight to the seafloor with many living corals growing on it. There are over 400 species of fishes and hundreds of beautiful corals in the bio-diverse habitat.
One of the must-go spots at this diving spot is the Barracuda point. It is an otherworldly experience as you get lost in a school of Barracuda that looks like an enormous tornado that will engulf you anytime from far. Besides that, you also get to witness schools of bumphead parrotfish, hammerhead sharks, jackfish and much more swimming around. Macro marine life, like porcelain crabs, anemone shrimp and bubble coral shrimp can also be easily found by divers. Then, if you go to the 600 metres drop-off wall, you will see the Turtle Cave, a giant cavern that goes through the island where skeletal remains of turtles can be found in it (R.I.P💀).
Visitors are required to have a permit to dive in Sipadan Island Park. There is no accommodation on the Sipadan Island but visitors can stay in Semporna town (which is cheaper but further) or Mabul or Kapalai Islands (which are pricier but nearer). Some spots are okay for beginners who just took an open water diving course to dive. However, it is recommended for divers to complete the advanced course as some of the spots have pretty strong currents and require some skills to manoeuvre.
Mabul, Sipadan and Kapalai form the golden triangle of diving spots in East Malaysia. However, Kapalai is not an island like many people think. It is a sandbar! It is also one of the best macro dive sites in the world! Diving in Kapalai is generally easy with shallow reefs. Some of the recommended diving sites are Spotted Ray Channel, The jetty, Mandarin valley and Mid reef.
Be ready for some surprises as you encounter strange and rare creatures swimming, creeping and roaming at the bottom of the sea. Sightings of marine life in fluorescent colours or flamboyant tentacles are common. The sandy bottom is where all these rare sea creatures flourish, making it a perfect studio for photographers.
Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park is a protected area of coral reefs in Sarawak. It is also one of the most beautiful diving spots in Malaysia! Just like many other diving spots around Borneo, late March to November is the best time to dive. This is when the water temperature reaches 29º to 30ºC with an average visibility of 10 to 30 metres. At the start of the season, the water temperature is around 26º to 27ºC but can go as low as 23ºC as you dive deeper.
It has about 9 diving spots which include a cargo shipwreck, an artificial reef, a vertical drop off, a barracuda point and other coral reef sites. With depths ranging from 7 to 50 metres, some of the species of corals that you can find here include leather corals, bubble corals, staghorn corals, Dendronephthya and Gorgonia sea fans. On top of that, fishes like clownfish, butterflyfish, lizardfish, batfish, jackfish, Napoleon wrasse and sharks are also common in Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park.
The name of the island is Lang Tengah, but it is in no way close to the Langkawi island. It is a small island that sits between the Perhentians and Redang Islands. The island is reachable via a 30-minute boat ride from Merang jetty. The average water temperature is around 27°C to 31°C (Hey! Pretty warm!) with an average visibility of 10m to 20m.
There are 11 dive sites that can rival even that of Maldives! The marine creatures that live here include whale sharks, wrasses, rabbitfish and turtles. If you dive at Karang Nibong Laut (one of the dive sites), you can see some moray eels hiding between the saucer-like leather corals. Bamboo sharks and nudibranchs are commonly sighted too!
Because this island is lesser-known, there are fewer visitors; making it a quieter and less crowded place compared to other nearby islands. The diving experience here is pretty chill with a calm current hence suitable for beginners a.k.a newbie divers.
At the north of Sandakan, lies Lankayan Island. It is a Marine Protected Area and a perfect macro diving site for divers. Small marine lives like fishes, clown anemonefishes, nudibranchs, prawn gobies and rarer sea creatures such as jawfish, ornate ghost pipefish and frogfish can be spotted along the reefs.
The island boasts up to 30 dive sites, and all are accessible by a short boat ride. Some of the best dive sites that you must go to include the Jawfish Lair, Jetty Wreck, Lankayan Wreck, and Mosquito Wreck. Lankayan Island is also the home to 4 wreck sites where a rich array of corals can be spotted growing on the sunken illegal fishing boats.
The current here is generally light, with the water temperature being around 29°C. If you want to see the Whale Shark, you can strike a better chance between March to May.
Approximately 300km northwest of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah is the Layang-Layang Island, also known as "The Jewel of the Borneo Banks". The Layang Layang Island is an atoll of 13 linked coral reefs that measures 14 sq km. It has a shallow lagoon on the inside and a 2000 metres deep drop-off on the outside. Divers are advised to go around March to May when there will be greater sightings of marine lives. November to February is the monsoon season, and the resort will be closed during this period, so don’t go there then.
With the visibility of 10-40 metres, you can see a lot of beautiful marine life, such as scalloped hammerhead (which can be easily found in April-May during their 💏love-making mating season), barracudas, big-eye trevally and hawksbill turtles. If you are lucky, you might have a rare encounter with some thresher sharks, whale sharks, melon-headed whales, orcas and manta rays.
Coral lovers must drop by the Wrasse Strip. It is one of the over 20 dive sites in Layang Layang Island with plenty of beautiful corals and of course, Wrasse. Other notable coral gardens in Layang Layang include Navigator's Lane and Crack Reef.
Tioman Island is another famous diving spot in Malaysia. It is also a duty-free zone where you can get tobacco, alcohol and chocolates at cheaper prices than on the mainland! The best time to dive at this island is somewhere around Mid March till May and September till Mid October. This period is when the water temperatures range from 27°- 29°c with a visibility of 15m to 30m.
Diving spots around Tioman Island are filled with sponges, sea corals and shipwrecks. Plus, there are over 25 diving sites which can easily leave you spoiled with choices. From macro diving sites to wreck sites, you name it, they have it. Some of the best diving sites on Tioman Island are Tiger Reef, Sawadee Wrecks, Labas and Reggis.
You will also have the chance to see sea creatures like gorgonian fans at Chebeh and visit the anemone garden at Bahara Rock. With some luck, you will be able to spot nudibranchs, lionfishes, shrimps, turtles, stingrays, reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish and moray eels!
Do you have a diving licence? (diving not driving ya...) If you don’t, then hurry up and get one! This is because, May to August is the best time to dive where water visibility is at its best and sea creatures are more extroverted. If you have no idea where to begin, check out these 7 most beautiful scuba diving spots in Malaysia and start with one of them.