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Top 8 Diving Spots In Malaysia

Malaysia’s waters are host to a diverse species of marine life and corals making it home to multiple world-class dive sites suitable for divers of all experience levels. With so many diverse dive sites in Malaysia filled with vibrant coral reefs, crystal clear waters and marvellous marine life, where should you go?

Here are our Top 8 Diving Spots in Malaysia! 

Sipadan Island

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Sipadan Island was voted as “The Top Dive Destination in the World” in Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List. Sipadan is one of the best-preserved diving locations in the world and has uncountable species of marine life and coral in its ecosystem. Marine life common in these areas are sharks, schools of jackfish, and barracudas but should the odds be in your favour, you may come by some sharks. This lavish ecosystem is also the congregation spot for green and hawksbill turtles that mate and nest there. One has to dive Sipadan to know what a diving haven is.

Best time to dive: April to December

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Mabul Island

Mabul Island is a flat sandbar surrounded by a shallow coral reef system where the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to a depth of 25 metres to 30 metres. The island is one of the richest single destinations in the world for small exotic marine life such as the rare Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, bobtail squids, orange frogfish or mimic octopus which is great for underwater macro photography. It is also one of the best places in the world for muck and critter diving complete with wrecks to explore. 

Best time to dive: July and August

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Mataking Island

Mataking Island is another great site for muck diving and is a place both amateurs and seasoned divers will appreciate. The island is equipped with luxury resorts for the best overall diving experience. Besides being one of the best diving spots in Semporna to view rare critters, you can also visit the first underwater post-office in Malaysia on a wreck dive site close by. 

Best time to dive: March to October 

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Layang-Layang Island

With the nearest city (Kota Kinabalu) over 300 kilometres away, Layang-Layang's waters are unspoiled and unpolluted! The corals are in pristine condition and there is rich, biodiverse marine life waiting to be discovered. Diving in Layang-Layang is scuba diving at its best and a must-go destination for diving enthusiasts who may have already explored the world-famous Sipadan Island. Layang-Layagng is an oceanic atoll located in waters up to 2,000 metres deep. The wall is classified as a deep dive and the 20 metres deep lagoon is great for macro diving. Top marine life to look out for include schools of hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, pygmy seahorses, barracuda, turtles and other large pelagic fish species such as tuna. Stingrays are regular visitors including manta rays, marbled rays and eagled rays. If luck is on your side, there are rare sightings of whale sharks, orcas and melon headed whales. 

Best time to dive: April to May 

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Tioman Island

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On the Peninsular side of Malaysia, Tioman is great for both beginners and experienced divers with more than 25 exciting dive sites to choose from. The dive sites offer generally calm conditions for easy and relaxing dives. A famous dive spot to visit is Tiger Reef which is a kaleidoscope of colours with clusters of marine life such as large schools of rainbow runners, jacks, mackerel and barracudas as you drift over the reef. Take time to explore the canyons too – lionfish, scorpionfish, spotted stingrays and moray eels are all common sightings. 

Best time to dive: February to November 

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Redang Island

Redang Island, located off the coast of Terengganu, is one of West Malaysia’s most popular island getaways. The island forms part of the Terengganu Marine Park, a protected area of sea with great diving sites and diving conditions. There are over 20 dive sites that are suitable for divers at all levels. The dive sites can be found all around the island and are easily accessible via speedboats. Divers can find a variety of diving from beach dives to challenging deep dives which include a mix of coral gardens, wall dives and sandy bottom diving which makes for great macro photography.  

Best time to dive: February to November 

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Perhentian Islands

Also located in Terengganu Marine Park are the Perhentian Islands. Made up of two islands, Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil, these islands have a collection of 10 dive sites with a maximum depth of 24 metres and two shipwrecks - the Vietnamese Wreck and the Sugar Wreck. The diverse marine life divers may encounter are turtles, blacktip reef sharks, triggerfish, tiny yellow boxfish, huge puffer fish, razorfish, octopus, schools of barracuda, jacks, fusiliers and trevallies. Perhentian Islands is a slice of tropical haven at an affordable price and is most popular with backpacker travellers. 

Best time to dive: April to October 

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Tenggol Island

Tenggol Island may not be as famous as its neighbours Redang Island and the Perhentian Islands but this lesser-known paradise offers a quieter and more exclusive diving experience for visitors. There are a total of 20 dive sites around the island though some are only accessible to more advanced divers. The top three most popular dive spots in Tenggol are Tokong Laut, Batu Chanang and Coral Garden. The island offers good visibility and a variety of marine life. If you are lucky, you may even spot a whale shark and the best time for it is between the months of August to October. For those interested in getting certified, the dive centre offers both PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International) courses. For total beginners who would want to explore diving, there are scuba diving trials you can sign up for whereby you can experience diving safely with the guidance of an instructor. 

Best time to dive: August to October 

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Start checking off the list of your dive destinations by heading to the first on the list! Visit our Last Minute Travel Deals page for amazing deals now!