Not only is Malaysia blessed with amazing mountains and rainforests, but it also has large island groups, making it geographically diverse too. Malaysia’s unique geography also makes it one of the favourites among Scuba Divers. There are so many splendid Diving Spots in Malaysia that you must visit at least once in your lifetime.
If you are interested in scuba diving, snorkelling and want to partake in various other underwater adventures, here is a comprehensive list of all the best diving spots in Malaysia. Enjoy the amazing views and make the best of your vacation with this complete guide on each of the diving sites along with the best time to dive, how to get there, diving cost estimate and cool facts.
1. Perhentian Island
One of the best spots to go diving on the west coast of Malaysia is Perhentian Island. It consists of two Island-Pulau Besar and Pulau Kecil. Both these islands are famous for different reasons.
If you are looking for a romantic destination to take your partner for a fantastic getaway, Pulau Besar is the place to go. Pulau Kecil is more popular among budget divers and backpackers because it is budget-friendly with a gorgeous reef and a wide variety of marine life.
What is the best time to go scuba diving in Perhentian Island, Malaysia?
The best time to visit Perhentian Island for diving is the months of July and August. However, they are also the peak months so, if you want to visit when there are fewer people around, make your visit between April to June. Perhentian Island is closed from November to Early March due to the Monsoon season. So, don’t make any plans for this island during this time.
How to reach Perhentian Island?
Due to its proximity to Kuala Lumpur, Perhentian Island is one of the best diving sites near Kuala Lumpur. It is fairly easy to reach Perhentian Island.
First, you have to get to a small town called Kuala Besut, Terengganu via Bus or you can even catch a flight from cities like Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu and then to Besut From there you can grab a speedboat to reach your destination of lovely Perhentian Island.
Alternatively, you can get private transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut jetty with local travel agency.
Why should you visit Perhentian Island for scuba diving?
You would be surprised to know that Perhentian Island is home to a significant population of turtles. In fact, there are various awareness campaigns run by locals and Volunteer campaign projects in which you can also take part to protect sea turtles. You can also come and see the turtles lay their eggs which they come ashore at night!
But you have to make plans to visit Perhentian Island and dive here because you never know if you get lucky and spot something rare like a Guitar shark!
Location: Perhentian Islan, Terengganu
2. Tioman Island
Just like Perhentian island, Tioman island is also located off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia and a really good destination to go diving on the west coast of Malaysia. It is really popular among all kinds of divers, whether they are budget divers or travellers who like to indulge in their favourite hobby at a luxurious place. Tioman Island is blessed with dense Rainforest, clear water, gorgeous coral reefs and abundant marine life.
What is the best time to go scuba diving in Tioman Island, Malaysia?
The ideal time to go scuba diving on Tioman Island is between the months of March to October. You get to enjoy the tropical weather of hot temperatures and low humidity. If you are vacationing on a budget, try to avoid the peak season when the accommodation and other prices also rise. Another thing you should avoid is making plans during the monsoon season.
Not only does it get dangerous to be on the waters during this time, but you could also get stuck during a storm here. If you are a surfer, then it’s a different story but be sure to weigh the pros and cons beforehand.
How to reach Tioman Island for diving season, Malaysia?
You have two modes of transportation to reach Tioman Island. One is to catch a flight from a township 17 km downtown of Kuala Lumpur named Subang to the Tioman Airport. Your other option is to get on a ferry from the coastal towns of Mersing, located in the state of Johor and Tanjung Gemok, located in the state of Pahang. There is private transfer between Kuala Lumpur to Mersing available from local travel agency you may choose.
Legend of Tioman Island
There is a popular local legend of Tioman Island according to which, this Island is the resting place of a beautiful Dragon princess who provides a safe harbour to passing travellers.
You have to come to visit this Island at least once to experience the magnificent underwater caves and canyons. Tioman island is the perfect scuba diving site in Malaysia with a total of 25 dive spots where you can discover beautiful sea creatures like reef sharks, moray eels and even manta rays!
Location: Mersing, Pahang, Malaysia
3. Pulau Payar
Pulau Payar is a popular diving spot, especially in northern part of peninsula, Malaysia. It is part of a marine group, providing its marine life additional protection. Another thing that makes this island exceptional is that Pulau Payar has a special diving spot called Coral Garden which is an area that’s covered with kaleidoscopic, dapple-soft corals!
What is the best time to go diving on Pulau Payar, Malaysia?
Although you can go diving on Pulau Payar at any time of the year, the best time for you to scuba dive on Pulau Payar is from November to April. The water has more visibility during these months here.
How to reach Pulau Payar?
To reach Payar Island, you have two options. The simpler way to reach here is to take a bus from Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Kota Sarang Semut and from there to Pulau Payar via boat.
The fastest way to reach Pulau Payar is to catch a flight from either Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang to Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Alor Setar. From here, you have to reach Kuala Kedah by bus and from there, a ferry to Payar Island.
Why go diving on Pulau Payar?
On Payar Island, you get to swim with baby sharks which inhabit the shore. Honestly, what other reason could your adventurer soul need?
4. Segantang Island
Segantang Island is one of the most remote and the furthest island from the mainland in Langkawi. This Island is a popular diving destination among tourists who want to spend quality time with their loved ones in a peaceful atmosphere. At the edge of the beach on this island, the boulders look like they were arranged neatly consciously.
The water is super clean with amazing temperature for swimming, snorkelling and diving and the sand is clean white. Segantang Island is true tropical heaven where you should go with your family to make unforgettable memories!
What is the best time to go diving on Segantang Island, Malaysia?
Segantang Island enjoys an excellent tropical climate throughout the year with temperatures hovering 29-30 degrees Celsius. So, you can go diving on Segantnag Island all year round. Though, the temperature drops during the monsoon season which comes around the end months of the year.
How to reach Segantang Island?
To reach Segantang Island in the shortest time, you can catch a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang. From here, you have to fly to Langkawi International Airport, Kedah.
You can also travel by bus. For this, you have to first take a bus from Kuala LumpurLumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Kota Sarang Semut. From there you can head to Pulau Segantang. To reach the island from the mainland, you have to get on a ferry.
Why go diving on Segantang Island?
While diving on Segantang Island, there is always a chance that you will come across fishes like the nurse shark, jack, clownfish, barracuda, lionfish, fusilier, butterflyfish, moray eel, nudibranch, stonefish, etc. With peaceful and clear water, diving is a super amazing experience on Segantang Island.
5. Sipadan Island
Sipadan Island is one of the best and most popular National Marine parks in the world. This island was shut down in 2002 to protect its ecology. It is very restricted. Of course, you can enjoy Sipadan diving but you have to acquire a permit first. It is all worth it. You also cannot stay on the island but have to arrange accommodation at the neighbouring islands like Mabul Island and Kapalai Island.
Sipadan diving is the dream place for all hard-core divers because the scuba diving experiences here are unparalleled. You will see ginormous barracuda, manta rays, eagle rays, Bumphead parrotfish, whale sharks and many more underwater creatures in one dive. It is also home to green and Hawksbill turtles who are known to nest and mate there.
What is the best time to go diving in Sipadan Island, Malaysia?
The best time to go diving in Sipadan Island is between March to October. Also, Sipadan Island is closed in the month of December, so don’t end up making a plan to go Sipadan diving during this time.
Sabah Park provides 176 permits to 27 resorts and dive centres in the vicinity. These permits are not given to individuals directly. You have to arrange it with the resort you choose who will help you with the application process.
How to reach Sipadan Island?
To reach Sipadan Island, firstly, you have to reach Tawau Airport. Flights are readily available to this location from major cities like Kuala Lumpur. From Tawau airport, you have to go to the ports of Semporna. At Semporna ports you can catch a ferry to the nearest Island to Sipadan Island you have decided to stay in.
Make sure you visit Sipadan Island because Sipadan diving will not disappoint you!
Location: Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
6. Mabul Island
Located on the east coast of Borneo Malaysia, Mabul Island is a small and remote island near the border of Indonesia. If you love photography and want some amazing shots underwater in one of the best diving sites in Malaysia, Put Mabul Island on your list.
It is well known for its reef dives, ideal conditions for muck diving and critter diving. This place is home to numerous macro species. You can also explore underwater for rare marine life species such as blue-ringed octopus and Nudibranch.
What is the best time to go scuba diving in Mabul Island, Malaysia?
The best time to visit the lovely Mabul Island starts from the month of March up to October. After October, the Monsoon season starts here which makes the waters a bit dangerous.
How to reach Mabul Island?
Due to its remote location, it is a tad bit difficult to reach Mabul Island. Firstly, you have to get a flight to Tawau Airport from cities like Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. From Tawau Airport, you can either take a bus or a taxi to reach Semporna ports.
From Semporna, you can get on a ferry to reach Mabul Island in about 45 minutes. If you book a resort, they will also provide pickup services. Different resorts have different pickup locations to get you to the island.
Location: Sabah, Malaysia
7. Pulau Layang Layang (Swallow Reef)
If you are more interested in a remote scuba diving location, Pulau Layang Layang is the perfect place for you. Not only are you promised beautiful beaches with clear water, beautiful reefs and with a fantastic view of the South China Sea. Here, you get to enjoy great underwater visibility and pleasant water conditions for your diving adventures.
What is the best time to go diving on Pulau Layang Layang, Malaysia?
The best and only time you can go diving on Pulau Layang Layang is from March to August. The other months of the year are filled with heavy monsoon rains, leading to the closing of the island entirely.
How to reach Layang Layang Island for the Diving Season, Malaysia?
To reach Pulau Layang Layang, you have to first reach the city of Kota Kinabalu. From here, you can catch a flight to the resort. The ticket booking has to be made with the diving resort directly and the diving charges are included in the flight ticket too.
Why go scuba diving on Pulau Layang Layang?
Being one the best diving spots in Malaysia, on Pulau Layang Layang, you get to dive with big species like devil rays, schooling reef fishes, hawksbill turtles, hammerhead sharks etc. With an abundance of coral, Pulau Layang Layang is also popularly known as the “Jewel of the Borneo Banks”.
Location: South China Sea, Sabah
8. Redang Island
Redang island diving is something that every scuba diving enthusiast should experience at least once. One of the best for diving on the west coast of Malaysia, Redang Island is part of Terengganu Marine Park with perfect diving conditions.
If you find running currents here, you will get the chance to see large pelagic species like barracuda, manta rays and sometimes whales too.
What is the best time to go diving on Redang Island, Malaysia?
The best time for you to experience Redang island diving is in the months of June, July and August. The island is closed off from October and reopens depending upon the weather condition in March or early April. Try to avoid peak months if you are a budget traveller as prices rise during peak season.
How to reach Redang Island?
To reach Redang island, you can easily take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu. You also have the option to take a bus. From Terengganu Island, you have to take a boat to Pulau Redang. The travel time from Terengganu Island to Redang Island is approx 45 minutes.
Why go diving on Redang Island?
Redang Island is not only one of the best diving sites near Kuala Lumpur, but It is also famous for its vibrant beach and nightlife. Being part of the protected Island, there is abundant marine life waiting for you to explore it.
Location: Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Along with diving in the gorgeous reefs of Malaysian Island, you must explore the following shipwrecks. They have a fascinating history about how that ship shanked and how it has become home to various marine life creatures.
9. Katori Maru and Hiyoshi Maru Wrecks (Kuching)
One of the most popular diving sites in Malaysia consists of the wrecks of World War II- Katori Maru and Hiyoshi Maru. Katori Maru used to be a Japanese steam ocean liner which was sunk by a Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine.
It has now become an artificial reef with coral colonies and home to various other sea creatures such as moray eels, barracuda, yellowtail snapper and sharks.
10. Kenyalang Rig Wreck (Miri)
Located in the waters of Miri Island, Kenyalong Rig Wreck is an artificial wreck made by the Malaysian Fisheries Department. It is basically a redundant oil rig converted into a diving pot.
Also popularly known as Tyre Wreck, you must put Kenyalang/Tyre Wreck if you want to experience it if you find yourself making plans for scuba diving and snorkelling in Miri Island’s waters.
11. Sugar Wreck (Perhentian)
Located in the waters of Perhentian Island, you must go and dive in the Sugar Wreck. It used to be a cargo ship which transported Sugar, hence the name. It sank in 2000 and has since adapted to the reef. Make sure that you put this site in your list to visit during the diving Season in Malaysia.
If you are an experienced diver, you can also go into the wheel cabin, engine room and the cabins. You can easily spot fishes like blue spotted stingrays, snappers, trevally, scorpion fish, jacks, and bamboo sharks.
12. Atago Maru Wreck (Miri)
Located about 1.6 miles off the shore from north Miri, the Atago Maru wreck is a well-known diving site in Malaysia. Atago Maru used to be a glorious Japanese merchant ship which later converted into an oil tanker.
It was bombed by US Army Airforce in 1944 while it was anchored off Borneo. It lies upright in the water. Initially, its mast was still visible above the surface. However, in the 1980s, with time and monsoon, its superstructure was destroyed and now it has settled in the mud, making a home to marine life.
With peaceful waters and a wide choice among some of the most beautiful Islands in the World, Malaysia is among the top best places to start your scuba diving journey. If you have decided to get certified, here is a complete guide on the entire process of getting your PAD diving licence in Malaysia.
PAD is a diving certificate course that will include you learning everything about safe diving. It is recognised worldwide and There are different courses for all kinds of learners. For example, there is a popular course for beginners known as the ‘PADI Open Water Diver Course.’
Here is a list of a few simple requirements to be qualified to get a diving licence in Malaysia:
- Age Limit: You have to be 10 years or older.
- Medical: You have to be medically fit for diving. You will be given a scuba medical questionnaire which you have to fill out before starting your course.
- Basic Swimming Skills: You will be tested for your swimming skills. Basically, you do not have to be a pro at swimming, but some basic swimming skills are a must.
The entire diving course finishes in four days but this time period is flexible and totally depends upon your performance. There are three main stages in the PADI Open Water Diver Course.
- Knowledge Gaining: You will be taught basic principles of scuba diving and your progress will also be tested. The classes can be taken online or in a classroom.
- Physical Learning: During this stage, you will practice your diving skills in controlled water places like a pool or a calm beach and such.
- Practice in Open waters: Now, you get to practise both the theoretical and physical knowledge that you learned in the previous two stages. You will do four open water dives in total.
The scuba diving courses in Malaysia cost around RM 1000 to RM 2000, depending upon which course you are taking. Usually, this cost will include course material and diving sessions fee too. Some courses provide accommodations and meals too!
The most popular choice among diving enthusiasts to get their scuba diving licence is to finish the first two stages of theoretical learning and safe water diving in Kuala Lumpur. After this, you can head to your choice of location to finish the final step of open water diving.
Of course, there are also some really beautiful islands where you can finish your entire ding course, for example.
- Pulau Rawa, Johar
- Tioman Island
- Perhentian Island
- Kota Kinabalu
But despite where you decide to begin your scuba diving journey, it is a given that your experience of diving through the mysterious deep waters, full of just as mysterious creatures, is going to be the best part of your life!
Suffice it to say that Malaysia has some of the best diving sites in the world and should be on your bucket list if you want to have an unparalleled underwater adventure. All the best diving spots in Malaysia give you amazing reefs and a chance to explore the deep blue ocean for some of its rarest creatures.
Malaysia is the perfect diving place for budget travellers. Also, you get to enjoy beautiful beaches and have unforgettable adventures and the best diving near Kuala Lumpur on these spectacular Malaysian Islands.
Don’t you just want to go dive into this whole other world under the blue water and find some really fascinating creatures?
If you are looking for more travel inspiration under budget, make sure to check out our other blogs- You might not know when you find your calling! Do leave a comment down below and share your story with us.
1. What are the diving spots in KL?
There are actually no diving spots in Kuala Lumpur city. However, being the federal capital and one of the most popular cities in Malaysia, KL is well-connected to the places where you can go scuba diving. The best diving near Kuala Lumpur is done on the Tioman Island, Redang Island and Payar, as well as the Langkawi and Segantang islands.
You can really easily catch a flight to any of these destinations from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. All of these diving destinations have an abundance of marine life with a variety of corals for you to explore.
2. How much does it cost for diving in Malaysia?
Depending on your requirements, the price of your diving package could vary. It can cost you around RM 100 per Pax for a single dive if you are using your own equipment. However, if you are planning to travel light and rent scuba diving equipment on location, it would cost you around RM 200 per Pax, the fee including the diving essentials like Scuba tanks with full air refills and weight systems.
3. How to learn scuba diving in Malaysia?
There are many beginner courses and instructors present at diving sites in Malaysia to guide the tourists and help t