Tiny Tenggol has a big reputation. And once you’ve visited this secluded island off Malaysia’s east coast, you’ll be singing its praises too.
Tenggol boasts over twenty dive sites, offering something for every scuba diver. From shallow reefs to shipwrecks, macro photography to massive marine life such as giant trevallies and whale sharks, beginners and technical divers alike should have Tenggol near the top of their trip list.
In fact, the scuba diving community widely considers Tenggol to be the best diving spot in Peninsular Malaysia. Serene and pristine, it has remained relatively untouched by mass tourism. The east coast state of Terengganu is known for its postcard-perfect scenery – all white sandy beaches and turquoise water – and Tenggol is no exception.
Conditions are perfect beneath the waves, too. Tenggol sits comfortably in the warm crystal waters of the South China sea, in a good location for great visibility. And you’ll want to see as much as possible. From sloping reefs to rocky outcrops and steep drop-offs, there are many different underwater worlds to explore.
But besides the rare turtles, whale sharks, and stunning natural scenery from the sky to the sea, there is one major reason why Tenggol is one of our favourite trips at Big Ocean Dive.
You can easily do six dives over the weekend without missing a day of work or school.
Tenggol is less than a four-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. We check in to Dungun Escapade Resort on a Friday night and leave late on Sunday afternoon, so you don’t have to take any time off.
photo of Dungun Escapade Resort.
The dive resort is on the mainland, so we don’t waste time with island transfers either. Tenggol is an easy 30-minute boat ride from Dungun, so we set out for three daily dives and lunch on the boat, to maximise time on the water and under the sea!
Still, two days isn’t enough to see all twenty dive sites around Tenggol, so here are a few of our favourites:
Beginners will love Turtle Point. The shallow reef is sheltered by the bay, so conditions are calm and clear. Besides the resident turtles, you’re also likely to spot stingrays and angel fish.
The Lost World is a stunning dive site featuring fascinating rock formations completely covered in all kinds of coral from sea sponges to anemones and sea whips. It’s great for snorkelling, too – and you may catch a glimpse of baby blacktip reef sharks.
More experienced Open Water divers will enjoy Tanjung Api, located at Tenggol’s most western point. Strong currents flow around this part of the coast to create perfect conditions for drift diving. It’s a rugged dive site with deep rock formations and immense giant boulders. Let the current take you and enjoy the view! There is lots of coral and micro and macro sea life to observe, including nudibranches, moray eels and big bumphead parrotfish. You might even spot a manta ray drifting in the current nearby!
The Edge – so-called because of the steep drop down into the deep ocean from 17m – is another fun drift dive site. Located off the south of Pulau Tenggol, you can spot larger pelagic fish or simply stare into the big blue yonder as the current carries you along.
It’s not only coral gardens and currents; Tenggol also has some great wreck diving. The Malaysian Marine Park department has deliberately sunk several boats to create artificial reefs, which attracts both dive tourism and marine life in a “win-win” for scuba! Fisherman’s Wreck can be explored upwards of 18m, which is perfect for Open Water divers and anyone on their first wreck dive. It’s also one of the most popular night dive sites around Tenggol. Sawadee Wreck, Deep Wreck and Five Sisters Wreck are more suitable for experienced or technical divers.
And of course, Tokong Timur – the most famous dive site in Tenggol. It’s a great location year-round, but really comes to life between August-October, when the plankton-rich currents arrive to attract whale sharks to feed. These strong currents combine with a strong undertow to make conditions around Tokong Timur more suitable for divers with at least intermediate experience. It’s still worth a visit outside whale shark season, from giant barracuda to schools of batfish.
Dungun Escapade Resort is a comfortable, purpose-built dive resort with all the facilities to make a weekend getaway as convenient as possible. Clean and spacious rooms, excellent service from the friendly staff, and an experienced resident dive crew tick all the boxes for a stress-free trip.
Tenggol has so many sites to explore, with so much to offer year-round, that it’s a reliable option to return to for great diving over and over again.
And with our convenient, full-service weekend trips from Kuala Lumpur running regularly – it’s very easy to keep coming back.
Our next trip to Villa Alba is 2-4th September 2022. Read the itinerary and secure your spot here.