17 Diving Spots In Malaysia Because Under The Sea Is Much Better... Bloop Bloop

Being in the ocean opens your eyes to a whole different world.

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If you have a diving licence or you've always wanted one, now's the best time to get it checked off your bucket list

Image via GIPHY

The pandemic has changed a lot of things for many people. Staying home, not being able to travel or do things we've always wanted to do may have left some of us feeling a little down in the dumps. 

But as travelling slowly picks up again and people start to explore outside their four walls, diving could be the next hobby to pursue!

Here are 17 diving spots in Malaysia to tick off your list or for those who don't have a licence yet, hopefully these places will inspire you to get one:

1. Kapalai Island, Sabah

Just a few minutes boat ride from Sipadan and Mabul Islands is a stunning diving haven with crystal blue waters and picturesque views. Kapalai Island is said to be less of an island and more a sandbank between the two popular islands.

Scuba diving in Kapalai is said to be pretty easy as there are quite a few shallow areas, with an average depth of around 15m. There are some deeper areas, where you might spot pygmy seahorses, as well as small shipwrecks with barracudas and school of jack and potato groupers hiding inside.

2. Tenggol Island, Terengganu

Off the coast of Terengganu is a diver's gem known as Tenggol Island. Its pristine, clear waters, and beautiful reefs teeming with marine life, including sharks and manta rays.

It's a less commercialised island, making it a peaceful place to escape the holiday crowd. Some review that on almost every dive, you're bound to spot turtles, and have a high chance of seeing whale sharks too!

3. Mabul Island, Sabah

Mabul Island is a popular spot among divers who flock here to enjoy its diverse marine life. The island offers approximately 2km of reef, with over 10 dive sites for scuba divers to explore.

Most divers visit the island for its unique and seldom seen critters, such as snake eels, juvenile batfish, lots of pelagic reef fishes, and the occasional cuttlefish.

4. Lang Tengah Island, Terengganu

This island in Terengganu has dive sites that are up to 30m in depth. Some of the diving features include a shipwreck, blue corals, a fish garden, and more. There are said to be 12 dive sites around the island with big shoals of snappers, fusiliers, and rabbit fish!

5. Mantanani Islands, Sabah

Dubbed as the 'Maldives of Malaysia', Matanani Islands form a small group of three islands in Sabah. With clear, blue waters and white sandy beaches, you'll never want to leave this sliver of paradise.

Aside from diving, there are other activities, such as kayaking, snorkelling, kite flying, and riding ATVs.

6. Layang Layang Island, Sabah

Layang Layang is a remote island in Sabah that's said to be an exceptional diving spot, especially for pelagic and macro diving.

Some say that the island attracts divers who come here in hopes of spotting enormous schools of hammerhead sharks! Other creatures that have been spotted here include manta rays, thresher sharks, whale sharks, melon-headed whales, and even orcas.

7. Tioman Island, Pahang

As one of the more popular holiday destinations in Malaysia, Tioman is also a well-known diving spot offering more than 25 dive sites, from macro diving to wreck explorations! The island is home to extensive coral reefs with a wide variety of tropical fish, sea sponges, and other small critters.

8. Langkayan Island, Sabah

About a one-and-a-half-hour boat ride from Sandakan is this tiny jewel-shaped island that is part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area.

Langkayan Island
offers over 20 dive sites, including several shipwrecks and plenty of creatures, from nudibranchs to whale sharks. 

9. Pom Pom Island, Sabah

Image via Agoda

One of the main activities on Pom Pom Island is diving, so it's no surprise that many flock here to enjoy this peaceful paradise in Sabah.

The island is especially popular for those who enjoy muck diving, with around 20 dive sites in the area that are all easily reachable via speedboats within 15 to 25 minutes. 

10. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sulug, and Sapi Islands), Sabah

Image via befreetour
Image via befreetour

Making up five islands, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah is home to many creatures, including frogfish, scorpion fish, lion fish, seahorses, and nudibranchs. Larger marine species like turtles, barracudas, tuna, and even reef sharks, can also be found at some of the islands' dive sites.

11. Sibuan Island, Sabah

Sibuan Island's crystal clear waters and silvery sand will make you feel like you've stepped into a postcard. As part of Semporna, this island is popular among divers, snorkellers, as well as holiday-goers who just need a break from life.

There are eight dive sites that are home to macro life, such as pygmy seahorses, mandarin fish, frogfish, porcelain crabs, and nudibranchs. The island also offers wall diving with a depth of up to 40m.

12. Perhentian Island, Terengganu

There are roughly 20 dive sites around Perhentian Island, including several wreckage sites. Scuba divers often spot turtles, reef sharks, pelagic fishes, and if you're lucky, some say that you might even encounter manta rays and whale sharks.

Aside from diving, the island also now encourages new and regular surfers during its monsoon seasons!

13. Timba-Timba, Sabah

Timba-Timba is one of Sabah's famous diving locations offering perfect visibility and various types of marine life. There are 10 dive sites around the island with creatures, such as frogfish, moray eels, barracudas, and nurse sharks that are said to be commonly encountered here.

The island is also known for its efforts in turtle conservation, so you might frequently spot turtles in the area that treat the island as a safe space to lay their eggs.

14. Redang Island, Terengganu

Redang has over 20 dive sites, with a couple of shipwreck sites to explore. Some of the diving spots reach as deep as 30m, with colourful reefs and other marine life, including blacktip reef sharks, turtles, tuna, barracudas, groupers, and manta rays.

If you're not exploring the open ocean, some of the sites feature a mix of steep slopes, tunnels, and small caves, where you might spot rare critters.

15. Pandanan Island, Sabah

Not to be confused with the island in the Philippines that has a similar name, Pandanan Island is sandwiched between Pom Pom Island and Mataking Island.

It boasts a sloping reef where divers can drift along a multi-level wall and encounter plenty of marine life, such as nurse sharks and cuttlefish.

16. Rawa Island, Johor

Home to colourful clownfish, Rawa Island is said to have one of the highest concentrations of sea anemones in the world! As a popular spot for diving, there are a host of other fish including, batfish, butterflyfish, and pufferfish. If it's your lucky day, you might spot turtles, sea snakes, or blacktip reef sharks as well.

17. Mataking Island, Sabah

Image via Mataking

Attracting both amateur and experienced divers each year, Mataking is a picture-perfect island with vertical wall dives, crystal clear waters, and diverse marine life. Divers might encounter grey reef sharks, hammerheads, manta rays, eagle rays, and even a whale shark!

On the south side of the island, frogfish, octopus, lion fish, stone fish, and ribbon eels are commonly found. There's also a shipwreck which is said to attract giant moray eels and stingrays.

Didn't spot your favourite diving spot in this list? Share with us!

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