|1. Aur Island Johor
||2. Sibu Island, Johor
||3. Tioman Island Pahang
|4. Kapas Island, Terengganu
||5. Lang Tengah Island, Terengganu
||6.Redang Island, Terengganu
|7. Tenggol Island, Terengganu
||8. Layang-Layang, Sabah
||9. Mantanani Island, Sabah
|10. Pulau Sipadan, Sabah
||11. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Island, Sabah
|13. Labuan Island, Sabah
||14. Lankayan Island, Sabah
||15.Mabul Island, Sabah
|16. Mataking Island, Sabah
||17.Pulau Tiga, Sabah
||18.Pulau Payar, Kedah
|19. Miri, Sarawak
What to bring
- Snorkelling gear - mask, snorkel, fins, booties, life jacket (prescriptive mask if required)
- Diving equipment- mask, snorkel, fins, booties, regulator and octopus, BCD, dive table, dive logs, marine life ready reckoner, dive computers, knife, lycra or 3mm skin suits, gloves, underwater torches, dive watch - it's advisable to bring your own kit as rental can be expensive. If you require dive equipment best to inform the operators upon booking of package. Equipment rental is charged separately.
- Dive card
- Life jackets especially for children
- Waterproof pouches, torch
- Clothing - shorts, t-shirts, sarong, towel , light dress
- Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturiser, after-tan lotion, shampoo, soap, women's sanitary products, shaving foam and shaver, comb
- Sun block, mosquito repellent, mosquito netting, hammock
- Travel journal, reading material
- Prescriptive medicine, motion sickness tablets
- Some resorts require you to bring your own blankets and bath towels
Tenggol Island, Terengganu
Teluk Ayer Tawar
Dept : 20 - 100 feet
Level : Open Water and above.
This is a well-sheltered bay and the waters is generally calm. Considered the house reef of the resorts which is about 200 metres from shore, its slopes from 10 to 40 feet with sand bottom covers with hard and soft corals. Other marine life includes garden eels, our resident turtle, moray eel, box fist and even lionfish. There are two wrecks located in this bay at 60 feet and the other is at 90 feet. Doing a dawn dive here is like visiting Raffles Place MRT station during the morning peak hours. Jump into our house reef right in front of your chalet and enjoy a close encounter with one of the resident turtles and a chance upon a herd of grazing humphead parrotfish as shallow as a few feet of the bay water. Night dive here are gratifying with exquisite black and white spotted baby barramundi cod and our favourite little resident baby torpedo ray, a mere 15 cm long.
Batu Chachang to Tanjung Gemuk
Dept : 60 - 100 feet
Level : Open Water Diver and above
A high concentration of fish life - jacks, trevilies, fusiliers, barracudas, tunas, humpheads and eagle rays. The bottom of this area houses an interesting collection of rock outcrops covered with soft and hard corals, sea anemonies and sponges. One diver voted as his favourite site. Why? "Lots of fish, good coral life, and all at only 40 feet!"
Dept : 20 - 60 feet
Level : Open Water and above
The gradients of the bays are gentle with sandy bottoms, rock outcrops and many coral heads. A favourite spot for coral lovers. At an average dept of 40 feet, the area has soft and hard corals, Christmas tree worms, sponges, sea anemones etc. A one-foot length Christmas tree worm can be found in this site.
Dept : 40 - 90 feet
Level : Open Water and above
Depending on the time of the dive, divers may encounter surface swell in the area. Suitable for open water divers, it is characterised by a big boulder, this site comprises mainly soft corals and sea whip fields. The sloping reef go down to over 60 ft here, and is well-covered with a variety of pretty soft and hard corals and sea whips. This place rains fish down upon the diver, with endless busily swimming schools of bannerfish, fusiliers, angelfish, and humphead parrotfish. Also frequently seen are lizardfish that rests on coral or rock heads as well as banana fish. Surface swell can be rough depending on the weather and time during the dive. Some of the fish sighted here include bumphead parrotfish, batfish, banana fish and lizardfish.
Batu Tokong Laut
Dept : 70 - 100 feet
Level : Advance Open Water and above
A favourite among regular divers, this site is also known as "The Highway" as schools of pelagics can found plying along this "highway". Divers may experience strong currents in this area. The terrain is generally rocky with huge boulders forming walls, tunnels and swim throughs. A photographers' haven as there are interesting coral formations to be found on the walls of these boulders and there are also a few interesting variety of the smaller creatures too.
Tokong Kamudi to Tokong Burung Laut
Dept : 80 - 100 feet
Level : Advance Open Water and above
It is possible to do a drift-dive at 80 feet from Tokong Kamudi to Tokong Burong. The condition is generally calm, with surface and deep water currents. The surface can get choppy after bad weather. Schools of barracudas, jacks, fusiliers, snappers and tunas sighted. This site are also a nudibranch havens.
Batu Tokong Kamudi
Dept : 50 - 100 feet
Level : Open Water and above
A wall extends down to 100 feet. There is a good covering of soft, encrusting and stony corals, sponges and christmas tree worms. In deeper waters, you will find soft tree corals, sea anemones and nudibranchs. Fish here include angelfish, butterfly fish, surgeonfish, wrasses, snappers etc. Most of the fish sighted are mainly small corals fish. This appear to be a nudibranch haven too.
The Cement Wreck
Type: Cargo (Cement)
Dept: 45m/148 ft.
Highest Point Bridge Wing at 120 Ft.
The ship lies on its starboard with its bow facing NE (Note: UK hydrographic survey states that it is lying on the port side). The wreck is known locally as the "Indonesian Cement Wreck". It is about 235 feet in length and was built in 1955 by the Japanese. The exact date of its sinking is unknown. But it was suspected before 1965 (most likely between 1963 and 1965). The Malaysian flag taken from the wreck showed 14 strips, it was the flag used when Singapore was still part of the Federation.
The Aqua Sport Diving Centre attached to Kapas Island Resort provides scuba gear and boat. www.kapasislandresort.com.A WWII japanese shipwreck located 5 nautical miles north of the island is the key attraction to divers
Pulau Lang Tengah
Pro Diver’s World
Watercolours at www.watercoloursworld.com
Flora Bay Divers at www.florabaydivers.com
Perhentian Sunny Dive Centre 019-395 1463
Coral Sky Scuba Diving Centre at www.coralskydiver.com
Spice Divers at www.spicedivers.com
Diving is available for all levels of mastery. One of the most interesting for diving purposes are Pulau Chebeh, Pulau Tulai and Pulau Labas. There are shipwreks. see http://www.tioman.com.my/
Dive sites are at
Pulau Layang Layang, Sabah
See www.layanglayang.com for the dive details
Pulau Tiga National Park, Sabah
Located just 45km south of Kota Kinabalu, Pulau Tiga means ‘Three Islands’ and was created out of volcanic eruptions in 1897. Covering a total area of 15,864ha., this park was gazetted in 1978 to protect its pristine natural environment. The main Island, Pulau Tiga, is a 15sq km island with some fine sandy beaches and good snorkelling. The marine park Dive Sites are :-
1) Dunlop Shoal
3) Light House
Located just 45km south of Kota Kinabalu. To reach Pulau Tiga, one has to take a 30-minute boat ride from Kuala Penyu, a small settlement located at the tip of the Klias Peninsula, about 2 hour’s drive from Kota Kinabalu. From KK you can also take minivans to Kuala Penyu from behind Centre Point. Other ways of getting there is by chartering a speedboat from Kota Kinabalu and cruise to Pulau Tiga or fly to Labuan Island and charter a boat from there. Both journeys take about 90 minutes.
Place to stay
Pulau Tiga Resort Sdn Bhd
Mailbox A236, A1103, 11th Floor, Wisma Merdeka, Jalan Tun Razak
88000 Kota Kinabalu,Sabah, Tel: +6088-240584
Labuan Island, Labuan
The Federal Territory of Labuan offers some of the best wreck diving. Four shipwrecks have been discovered off Labuan. The American Wreck is the USS Salute, a minesweeper located 33m at the bottom was built in the late 1943, and sunk by a mine in 1945. The Australian Wreck was a freighter built in Rotterdam, which fell into the hands of the Japanese. It was sunk by the Australian Air Force in 1945. The Cement Wreck is the MV Tung Hwang, a freighter that hit a sandbank in 1980 and sunk. It was carrying cement for the sultan of Brunei’s new palace. This is the easiest to dive and often used for wreckdive training. The Blue Water Wreck is the MV Mabini Padre, a Philipine trawler that sank in 1981. Borneo Divers, a dive operator, have an office in the Waterfront Labuan Hotel to arrange dives. www.borneodivers.info
Pulau Lankayan (Lankayan Island), Sabah
Lankayan Island is a virtually uninhabited island located in the Sulu Sea, just off the northeastern coast of Sandakan, Sabah. This tiny island is covered by thick tropical jungle surrounded by smooth and white sand. It has the only dive resort in Malaysia's Sulu Sea called the Lankayan Island Dive Resort and is one of the best spots for whale shark sighting. The location of the whale shark is usually indicated by flocks of seabirds screeching high above the placid surface. With luck, divers and snorkellers may get close to this gentle giant, although it may decide to swim away after a few minutes.
During the day you can witness black-tip sharks swimming about by the beach. At night, hawksbill and green turtles may be spotted coming to shore. Lankayan Island is indeed a true macroworld paradise. Large stretches of beautiful hard and soft corals belonging to numerous genera are preserved, including colourful juvenile fishes. It is possible that some of the species found here are as yet unidentified. Pelagics also abound here, from large schools of scads to yellowtail barracudas and jacks. The many schools of medium to large humphead parrotfish are always exciting to encounter. Sometimes, the diver is lucky enough to meet large rays, guitarfish and even manatees. For those more inclined towards the smaller denizens of the reefs, there are numerous juvenile fishes, clown anemone fishes, decorator and spider crabs, coral shrimps, nudibranchs and prawn gobies. Among the 40 dive sites is Lankayan Wreck, the remains of an ocean-going boat that was used in illegal fishing here. This wreck now hosts many different species of fish from small glassfish, harlequin ghost pipefish, painted frogfish to giant grouper and marbled stingrays. Despite the remoteness, the island has all the amenities of a tropical resort. Visitors stay in bungalows, made out of local wooden materials to blend into the natural surroundings. Indeed, Lankayan is not only for discerning divers but for anyone who appreciates the tranquility of a paradise island that offers beautiful sunrise, spectacular sunsets and magnificent seascapes. Book with Pulau Sipadan Resort & Tours. www.sipadan-resort.com.
Lankayan Island is about one and a half hour's boat ride from Sandakan.
The island of Sipadan is voted the top ten best diving sites in the world. It is perched on the summit of a steep underwater mountain that rises almost vertically from an abyss of 700 meters. This small island is fringed by a beautiful white sand beach which takes only half an hour to walk around. More than 3,000 species of fish have been classified here. If you do not know how to dive, you can take a course here. The best way to scuba dive is down the near vertical wall located 25m of the eastern side of the island, called Hanging Gardens. Other popular dive spots include Barracuda Point, Coral Gardens, Whitetip Avenue, Turtle Patch, South Point and Staghorn Crest. Snorkelling can be done near the jetty and around the shallow water around the island. It is easy to spot the variaty of fishes and turtles. There are no accomodations on the island. In April 2000, terrorist group Abu Sayyaff kidnapped 20 hostages from the island, including a number of tourist. Since then, security has increased on this island and the surrounding waters. Diving packages and arrangements can be made with tour operators.
Sipadan Water Village Resort, Tel 089-752996, www.sipadan-village.com.my
Pulau Sipadan Resort & Tours, Tel 089-761899, www.sipadan-resort.com
North Borneo Dive & Sea Sports, Tel 089-769950; www.fortunecity.com/marina/paradise/132
Borneo Jungel River Island Tours, Tel, Uncle Chang, 019-8030988
Boat trip for Semporna to Pulau Sipadan is included in diving packages. Hiring a fishing boat for the 45 minute trip to the island cost RM250.
Mabul Island is reputed to be one of the best places for underwater macrophotography in the world. Located in the clear waters of the Celebes Sea off the mainland of Sabah, it is surrounded by gentle sloping reefs two to 40m deep. Covering some 21 ha., it is considerably larger than the nearby Sipadan Island and is home to the Bajau Laut tribe, one of many ethnic groups in Sabah. Diving is the main activity on this island, and it can be done all year round. Marine life that can be seen here includes sea horses, exotic starfish, fire gobies, crocodile fish, pipefish and snake eels. There are over eight popular dive spots, each with its own speciality. Three resorts cater to scuba divers -- two are on the island itself while one is on a converted oil rig platform about 500m offshore. All of the resorts provide day trips for their guests to the nearby Pulau Sipadan and Kapalai Island.
To reach Mabul Island, it is a 30-minute boat ride from Semporna and 20 minutes from Sipadan Island.
Suit up and explore the 30 or so dive sites in and around Mataking and the surrounding islands of Pandanan, Bohayan and Buhai Dulang. Swim along with the barracuda, rainbow runner, turtles, trevallys, tuna, goby, frog fish, mandarin fish and other rare species of fish. Be awestruck by the varied species of nudibranch and other macro that have made the western reef their home. Head over to the Alice Channel on the eastern shore which stretches across to Sipadan Island, offering just as much exhilarating sea creatures. The D'wall, Nudibranch Heaven, Barracuda Point and Picturesque Reef are some of the diving sites that should be on every diver’s list. If you would rather stay nearer to shore, grab your snorkeling mask and swim with the fishes there. The marine life close to shore is just as magnificent as those found in the deep end.
As the name suggests, this is one of the prettiest reefs in the area. The shallow part starts starts at 2m, ideal for dive training. Welcomed distractions include large shoals of anchovies. The reef descends down to about 45m, passing beautiful growths of Gorgonian corals at about 30m, creating an interesting exoloration for more experienced divers.
Eel Garden slopes range between 5 to 35m in depth. Divers may notice the presence of rays that dwell on the sandy bottom, including bue-spotted rays and the Black Blotch Fan Tail ray. This reef is also frequented by green and hawksbill turtles. Look closer and you will find a variety of nudibranch species among the hard corals.
Said to be the best dive spot on Mataking, Barracuda Point is a steep reef that starts at 6m and goes down to about 37m to a sandy bottom. Blue-spotted rays are frequently seen here, as are the Yellow Tail barracuda one of the main residents here. You can also see a number of hard corals including Plate and Staghorn corals here, that teem with reef fishes.
This gently sloping reef that sits at a depth of between 5 to 40m, is certainly a beautiful underwater garden, covered with an abundance of soft corals in a range of hues.
The profile of this dive spot is similar to that of Stingray Wall. As its name suggests, this dive site is the place to go for macro species lovers. Seaslugs and nudibranch thrive here in all shapes and colours. One can also spot the occasional frog fish here.
A relatively shallow reef, Lobster Lair run at a dept of between 5 to 10m. The site is inhabited by a range of crustaceans including lobsters.
Between Sipadan and Mabul Island lays a sandbar that sits on the reef known as the Ligitan Reefs. The reef, a very extensive stretch bordering the deep and vast Celebes Sea, is the foundation of a best-kept secret dive destination called the Kapalai Island.
With all the wonderful muck diving opportunities available in the South Pacific region, Kapalai is not just another place to do it. It is where discerning divers come face to face with amazing marine creatures and skills at spotting minute and cleverly camouflaged oddities are well rewarded. Rare subjects such as cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, sea moths and mating mandarinfish are seen on a regular basis. Other frequently sighted creatures are the crocodilefish, lionfish and scorpionfish. Giant frogfish, ribbon eels, harlequin ghost pipefish and crab-eye gobies are seen on many of the dive sites. The jetty dive itself has plenty to offer including leaf scorpionfish, pink-eye gobies, ambonian shrimps and the comical antics of the mantis shrimp.
The sole resort occupying the island is the Sipadan-Kapalai Resort. Protruding above the water, it is elegantly built in a traditional water village style. At one end of the resort boasts a rather long sandbar of blindingly white sand where one can sunbathe in total recluse during low-tides.
The resort serves great food at the open terrace and offers twin-sharing wooden chalets with en-suite baths. Guests are also able to observe the antics of squids and needlefish swimming below from the roomy balconies.
Although Kapalai is just a few minutes away by boat from Sipadan, one can expect a completely contrastable dive. Diving in Kapalai can be considered ideal for the beginners, yet diversely exciting to satisfy the most experienced diver.
Getting to the islands
Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia provide flights departing from Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru to Kota Kinabalu. From Kota Kinabalu you fly with Malaysia Airlines in 50 minutes to Tawau.
At the new Tawau airport you are picked up by an aircondition minivan and transferred in 1,5 hours to the fishing village Semporna. If you arrive there in the afternoon it is better to stay there one night and sally to the islands on the next day.
From Semporna all operators bring their guests by speedboat to the islands.
Semporna - Mabul 30 Min.
Semporna - Kapalai 45 Min.
Semporna - Sipadan 60 Min
Pulau Sangalaki, Indonesia
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