Take a trip to one of these amazing diving destinations close to home for a glimpse of the stunning underwater world
As we celebrate the great ocean this month—what with World Ocean Day on every 8th June (check out this diving video we did with La Mer and Reef Check Malaysia) followed by Coral Triangle Day every 9th June—we take a look at the best way to know it better: Diving. The world beneath the waters are teeming with colourful marine life and is just breathtaking. And the scene serves as a good reminder of why we need to protect the ocean and the life within it. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced diver, these diving destinations in Malaysia are sure to impress.
1. Sipadan Island
When asked where is the best diving spot in Malaysia, the first answer is usually Sipadan. With its clear waters and vibrant marine life ranging from sea turtles to barracudas and sometimes manta rays. Diving rules are more strict here, however, and as the current is rather strong, it's more suitable for experienced divers.
Best time to visit: April - December
Must-visit dive site: Barracuda Point
2. Layang Layang
Corals here are in pristine condition and it's a great place to spot big schools of fish and bigger fish, in general. There have been accounts where you might even be able to see hammerhead sharks! Most of the dives there are wall diving and it's possible to pass Open Water Advanced on the island.
Best time to visit: March - May
Must-visit dive site: Gorgonian Forest
While the previous two are more suitable for experienced divers—although Layang Layang does have some easy dive sites—Lankayan is generally a people pleaser. It's not as high-profile but it's great for muck diving, easy wreck diving and macro diving, especially for beginners.
Best time to visit:
April - May (higher chances of encounters with whale sharks),
June - September (to witness turtle hatchlings being released into the sea)
Must-visit dive site: Lost Reef
4. Tioman Island
Great for all divers and a popular place for diving lessons, Tioman Island is brimming with marine life such as schools of fishes, turtles, rays and even reef sharks. The corals here are also very colourful and in a healthy condition with a variety of both hard and soft types.
Best time to visit: March - May, September - November
Must-visit dive site: Tiger Reef
5. Perhentian Islands
It's another suitable destination for beginners with easy and shallow waters that make for great underwater photography opportunities. You can also do wreck diving here at Perhentian Islands with several sites such as the Sugar Wreck and an upside down Vietnamese wreck (also known as Pasir Tani wreck).
Best time to visit: April - October
Must-visit dive site: Tokong Laut
If you love wreck diving, you should really consider this place. Listed even in PADI's recommended places for great dives in Malaysia, there are three out of five Japanese ship wrecks (Katori Maru, Hiyoshi Maru and Sagiri) off the coast of Kuching serving as an underwater home to a wide variety of pelagic fish species. You'll also be able to spot lobsters, stingrays, turtles and more.