Malaysia is one of the world’s most popular destinations for epic diving sites, featuring opportunities to swim with the manta rays, observe shipwrecks, and discover colorful marine life.
With so many island adventures to choose from, we’ve listed 5 of the best and most well known diving locations in Malaysia. These diving destinations offer some of the most beautiful and serene waters that make it ideal for diving – perfect for scuba enthusiasts all over the world.
Tenggol Island offers 20 spectacular dive sites for both beginner and advanced divers. The most popular sites are Batu Chanang, Tokong Laut, Tokong Burung, and Coral Garden where you can encounter shipwrecks and, if you’re lucky, a whale shark.
Location: Southwest region of Terrengganu Marine Park
How To Get There: Take a 1 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Kuala Terengganu, then a public bus or taxi to Kuala Dungun where you can arrange a 50-minute boat ride to Tenggol Island.
Where To Stay: Tenggol Resort, Tenggol Island Beach Resort, Tenggol Aqua Resort. As there are no restaurants on Tenggol Island, visitors have their meals at the resorts.
The island of Sipadan is known as one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world… and also one of the most exclusive. In 2005, Sabah National Park introduced strict diving permits to limit the amount of tourism in an effort to preserve the island’s natural environment.
Although the process of diving at Sipadan takes some effort, it is incredibly worth it as you’ll come across some of the best dive spots in the world that is truly an experience of a lifetime.
Location: East of Sabah, Malaysia
How To Get There: Take a 2 hour and 50 minute flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau. From there, it is a 1 hour drive by taxi to the town of Semporna where you can arrange a 1 hour boat ride to Sipadan.
Where To Stay: There are no accommodations on Sipadan Island, however there are plenty of resorts to stay on some of the nearby islands like Pulau Sipadan and Semporna.
The largest out of a group of 64 islands, Tioman Island is a duty-free location featuring plenty of diving adventures, snorkelling, jungle treks, stunning waterfalls, and immaculate beaches.
As one of the more established islands best for diving, Tioman offers a variety of restaurant options, night life, and luxurious resorts to relax in. This gorgeous island attracts all types of travellers from young individuals to families from all over the world.
Location: East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia
How To Get There: There are 2 ways to get to Tioman Island. The cheapest way is to take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to the village of Mersing. Travel time is about 5 hours. From there, take a ferry to Tioman. If you’re travelling from Singapore, take a 3.5 hour bus ride to Mersing and then the ferry to Tioman.
Where To Stay: Tioman offers plenty of beautiful resorts – both expensive luxury as well as affordable accommodations. JapaMala Resort is rated as one of the best in the world, though at a steep cost. One of the most popular places to stay is Bagus Place Retreat, which experiences fully booked accommodations at least a year in advance.
If you’re looking for a cheaper resort to stay in, we recommend Bersatu Nipah Chalet or the popular Melina Beach Resort.
The island of Redang is part of Terranganu Marine Park and is surrounded by crystal clear water, making for the perfect diving and snorkelling conditions. The island is well known for amazing coral reefs and a bountiful of marine life to discover.
One of the nicest things about Redang is that the beaches are not too busy while still offering plenty of convenient amenities. Redang island attracts visitors who are looking for a more luxurious vacation, 5-star dining, and a bit of a nightlife.
Location: East side of Peninsular Malaysia in the South Chinese Sea
How To Get There: For the quickest option, take a 1 hour direct flight from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore straight to Redang Island.
For a cheaper option, take a flight to Kuala Terengganu, a taxi to Tanjung Merang and a quick 40 minute boat ride to Redang.
Where To Stay: Redang features some of the most beautiful luxury resorts including Sari Pacifica Resort & Spa, Redang Island Resort, Redang De’Rimba, Laguna Redang Island Resort, The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort.
Layang-Layang once used to be an active marine base and only just recently opened up to the public. This beautiful diver’s paradise is a must for every scuba enthusiast for its pristine waters and ideal conditions. With no tropical beaches or activities other than diving, the island of Layang-Layang is a true diver’s destination!
Location: 300km Northwest of Kota Kinabalu
How To Get There: Take a domestic flight from any city in Malaysia to Kota Kinabalu, then a direct flight to Layang-Layang.
Where To Stay: There is only one resort on this small island – the Layang Layang Island Resort.
For any diving experience, you must have your PADI certification to ensure safe diving and to make the most out of your trip. Book your certification with a licensed and professional school like Big Ocean Dives to truly get a taste of life under the sea!