Scuba Diving in Malaysia

Malaysia offers a world of possibilities for divers: Rich marine biodiversity. Dive sites catering to every skill level. Warm waters all year long. And of course, incredible beaches and islands to explore when you’re above the water.

Planning a diving yacht charter in Malaysia? Learn when to go, conditions to expect, and the best places for scuba diving in Malaysia in this short guide.

Scuba Diving Regions in Malaysia

Malaysia is split into two distinctive areas: Peninsular Malaysia, which juts out of the Asian continent, and East Malaysia, which is part of the island of Borneo. These two regions provide different dive experiences, and therefore, when planning a trip, it’s best to learn what you can expect from each region.

  • Peninsular Malaysia – This region consists of the islands off the country’s east coast, as well as islands like Langkawi along the northwest coast. Typically, the dive sites in the peninsular region are perfect for beginners, as there are fewer currents and they tend to be in shallower water. Notable spots include Tioman and Redang islands in the east, and Pulau Payar Marine Park in the west.
  • East Malaysia – The smaller islands off of Borneo offer some of the best diving in the world. From the massive fish found off of Sipadan Island, to the rich corals of Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park, the dives in East Malaysia are exciting, but tend to be best suited for experienced divers.

underwater world in Malaysia

When to Go

Located near the equator, Malaysia enjoys warm temperatures year-round. Typically, temperatures range from 70 to 90 degrees throughout the year, with water temperatures in the mid-80s. Thanks to these conditions, divers typically wear 3mm wetsuits.

In most parts of the country, diving is great throughout the year. In East Malaysia, water conditions are great year-round, although diving is best during the dry season in March through October. Visibility is highest this time of year. In parts of Peninsular Malaysia, especially along the west coast, dive season is December through May.

What to Expect on a Malaysian Dive Trip

Malaysia’s coral reefs are abundant in marine wildlife. And thanks to the country’s location in the Coral Triangle, you’ll find amazing biodiversity. Nearly 40% of the world’s reef fish, as well as 75% of the world’s coral species can be found here. You’ll also find a variety of dive types, including muck diving, drift diving and wreck diving.

Some of the top species include hammerhead shark, which are found in significant numbers near Sipadan Island, as well as six of the seven species of sea turtle. Other species include ghost pipefish, sea snake, clownfish, angelfish, barracuda and moray eel.

Top Best Dive Sites

Malaysia offers divers a wide variety of ecosystems to explore, from wrecks to drift dives in the deep waters. Some must-see dive sites include:

  • Sipadan Island – You’ll find Sipadan off the northeast coast of Borneo, and this island is hands-down Malaysia’s most revered diving destination. There are numerous sites around Sipadan. But one of the best is the Drop Off, a coral wall that plunges to the sea floor below. Here, you’ll see numerous species, including clown triggerfish, moray eel, sea fans and much more.
  • Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park – Another popular dive site in East Malaysia, the National Park offers dives in 7 to 50 meters of water. The park is home to a number of sites like Anemone Garden and the Atago Maru Wreck, a World War II commercial ship that sits in about 40 feet of water. The park’s reefs are abundant in a range of corals including staghorns, soft corals and sea whips.
  • Payar Marine Park – This is one of the best dive sites on Malaysia’s western coast, and it’s located in the Langkawi archipelago. Payar is perfect for beginners, as there aren’t rip currents, and the park is home to a number of protected reefs. The best spot here is the Coral Garden, a protected area known for its bright, rainbow-hued corals. Many divers also stop at the artificial Kaca Sunken Wrecks site, which features a dozen fishing boats that were sunk to create a marine habitat.
  • Pulau Segantang – Another west coast site, Segantang is located near Payar. The site features two limestone karsts that drop 20 meters to the seafloor. The rocks are covered in hard corals and sea fans, and it’s known for its resident population of nurse sharks and barracudas.
  • Redang Island – Located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Rendang sits in the middle of Terengganu Marine Park. There are numerous dive locations here. A few of the best include the Big Mount, where whale sharks, manta rays and tuna tend to hang out. And Tanjung Tokong, a site near Turtle Bay, is another great spot for seeing sea turtles.
  • Tioman Island – This east coast destination is a favorite spot, not just for diving, but also for kayaking and paddleboarding. That’s due to the calm waters that are found here. Around the island, there are several healthy coral reefs, as well as more than a dozen wrecks. The Coral Garden is a notable site, that features an abundance of hard and soft corals.

Plan a dive trip in Malaysia aboard a luxury charter yacht. Contact a broker with Worldwide Boat to learn more about our luxury yacht charters in the region.