Diving In Malaysia

Malaysia – Fabulous Biodiversity In The Coral Triangle

Overview of diving in Malaysia

Malaysia has some incredible diving, with islands such as Sipadan being ranked as one of the top dive locations in the world. From encounters with big pelagic species, to healthy coral reefs dives and lots of muck diving opportunities, Malaysia has something that every diver will enjoy.

Sunset in Malaysia after a days diving

Sunset in Malaysia after a days diving

Malaysia is split into two main regions, the Sabah province on Borneo and the Malaysian Peninsular south of Thailand.

The Malaysian Peninsular has many beautiful islands just off the main landmass. Islands such as the Perhentians Islands, Redang Island, Tioman Island and Langkawi Island are popular tourist destinations. These islands are known for their white sandy beaches, thriving coral reefs and green tropical jungles.

Meanwhile Borneo Malaysia has some islands known for their incredible diving just off it’s coastline. Sipadan and Layang Layang are some of the best places in the world to encounter big fish species, while islands such as Mabul and Kapalai have great muck diving.

Best dive sites in Malaysia

  • Sipadan Island
    The best location for diving in Malaysia, Sipadan Island has numerous wall dive sites covered in stunning coral reefs. A huge abundance and diversity of marine life lives around the island, including schools of jackfish, barracuda and bumphead parrotfish. Reef sharks and turtles can be seen on almost every dive. Looking out into the blue is where you can see something special though, including hammerhead schools, whale sharks, leopard sharks and manta rays.

  • Layang Layang
    An island located in the Borneo Banks chain, Layang Layang has numerous great dive sites where turtles, barracuda, tuna and sharks can be seen. During April and May, schools of hammerhead sharks can be spotted which come here to mate.

  • Perhentian Islands
    A range of great dive sites can be found here including wrecks, caves and pinnacle dives.

  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu
    Some nice diving can be found close to Sabah’s captial. Macro life is abundant in the marine park, while rays and turtles also make regular appearances. During February to April, whalesharks frequent the area so be sure to keep an eye out overhead.

  • Mabul Island
    One of the best places for muck diving in Malaysia and also the best place to be based to dive Sipadan Island. Numerous wonderful macro sized species can be found around the island including nudibranchs, frogfish, ribbon eels, flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic octopus, ghost pipefish and much more.

Dive reports from Malaysia

Dive site reports and useful information from our scuba diving and freediving trip to Malaysia.

Diving In Sipadan

Sipadan is nothing short of a divers paradise. A huge diversity and abundance of marine life can be found in the waters around this tiny island. Massive schools of jackfish and barracuda hang out at the world famous Barracuda Point, while reef sharks and turtles are common sightings on every dive.

How to get to Malaysia

Kuala Lumpa has the largest international airport in Malaysia and is the main hub for domestic flights. International flights arrive from all over Asia, as well as the Middle East. There are also direct flights from South Africa. American travelers will require at least one stop to get to Malaysia.th

The airports of Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang have international connections with other Asian countries.

The Peninsular of Malaysia shares land border with Thailand and Singapore which is possible to cross by road. Likewise on the island of Borneo Malaysia and Indonesia share a border which can be crossed by road also.

  • Capital City International Airport Kuala Lumpa International Airport (KUL)

Best time to dive Malaysia

Malaysia can be dived all year round, however the best visibility is during the dry season between March and October.

The water temperature is always warm at atleast 26°C to up to 30°C in the wet season when the temperatures are warmer. Divers can wear a rash vest to dive, or a 3mm wetsuit is recommended for those who get cold easily.

  • Water Temperature 26° to 30°C

  • Visibility 10m to 30m+

Useful information when traveling to Malaysia

  • Time Zone UTC + 8 hours

  • Currency Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

  • Electricity 240 V

  • Plug Socket C, G, M

  • Language Malay. English is also spoken by most people in the tourist industry.

  • Calling Code +60

Our dive trip to Malaysia

We spent ten days diving in Malaysia in November 2019. Based on the island of Mabul, this allowed us a permit to dive at Sipadan Island on four days with four dives on offer per day. The more days you spend on Mabul, the more days you can get diving at Sipadan. On the days we weren’t diving at Sipadan, we dived the local dive sites around Mabul Island and Kapalai Island.

The diving at Sipadan Island is incredible with hugely diverse coral reefs colonizing the steep wall dive sites. Huge schools of barracuda, jackfish and bumphead parrotfish can form, while reef sharks and turtles can be seen on every dive. The cherry on top is the chance to see pelagic species such as hammerhead sharks or whale sharks cruising by in the blue. Unfortunately during our trip we were unlucky and didn’t see anything.

Mabul and Kapalai island have a mixture of sloping reef dives and sandy muck dives. This allows you to spot small macro species such as nudibranchs, frogfish and ribbon eels which you miss while diving at Sipadan.

You can read more about diving at Sipadan and Mabul in our dive reports.

Back to diving in Asia 

By |2020-08-12T09:10:56+00:00May 3rd, 2020|Comments Off on Diving In Malaysia