Scuba Diving in Malaysia

Malaysia is the jewel of our planed that is divided in two by the South China Sea. It attracts with its authentic culture and pristine wilderness. The underwater diversity is impressive. A diver can meet anglers, hammerhead sharks, barracudas and other exotic underwater dwellers. Malaysia is one of the leaders in the rating of the best countries for diving. There is the Redang archipelago, which includes ten islands, and Payar Island with its marine reserve, as well as a number of other, just as picturesque places. When diving at the Redang archipelago, you will see an extraordinary coral formation shaped like a mushroom. Payar is a Malaysian marine park. There, you can meet groupers, kitefin sharks and rockfish.

Reasons to Visit

Where to go
in Malaysia?
Payar is a coral park with stony and soft corals. They form beautiful gardens with plankton and various fish, such as moray eels, stingrays and sharks. Here, you will meet fusiliers, groupers, rockfish, kitefin sharks and barracudas. Also, the island is rich in sites with sunken fishing trawlers from different periods. The seabed here is covered with sea urchins.
There are zones of marine disasters in the Malaysian waters. One of them is located near the Andaman Islands. Here lies the wreck of the Seven Skies giant tanker, drowned in 1969. Its rusty walls house large fish, and the ship's parts, which fell off during the crash, are scattered around on the seabed. British battlecruiser HMS Repulse, which was drowned by a Japanese torpedo in 1941, rests 50 miles away from the island of Tioman.
On the island of Sipadan there are many green turtles, shoals of barracudas and humphead parrotfish, as well as reef sharks. This is probably the best location for macro photography and having exploring colorful corals around you. A dive at the Turtle Cavern site will send you to a place where the sea bottom is covered with skeletons of those poor reptiles that couldn't find their way up to the surface. The island has many diving sites with cliffs going down to 500 meters.
The Layang Layang oceanic atoll, which consists of 12 reefs, is one of the local attractions. The place is famous for thousands of hammerhead sharks and great white sharks that live here all year round. Also, Layang Layang has natural coral gardens with their unique dwellers- dwarf seahorses, colorful surgeonfish and blue and yellow eels. Cave diving fans will certainly love underwater caves and fissures. You can go night diving at the atoll's diving sites.
One of the most popular diving sites here is the Whitetip Avenue reef. It goes down to 600 meters. The reef attracts divers with a huge number of terraces, cliffs and fissures covered with bright sponges and black corals. Here, you can meet sharks, stingrays, and turtles, as well as a variety of tiny and rare fish species.

Diving Destinations in Malaysia

Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. Diving near its shores will take you to a completely different world with dive sites which are known all over the world. One of them is a limestone cave called Turtle Tomb. The island's highlight is a steep wall of the coral reef that goes down 860 meters. At the Barracuda Reef, you will see these marine predators hunting for fish. And you should not overlook the picturesque Hanging Gardens, formed by soft corals.
The island of Mabul is another beautiful diving site. The place is home to great white sharks and hawksbill marine turtles. Besides that, there are mystical caves and tunnels which you can explore.

Memo Notes
Currency MYR - Malaysian Ringgit
Languages Malay, Chinese, Tamil, English
Timezone UTC +8
Phone code 60
Emergency Help 999

Type A - 240 V, 50 Hz

Type C - 240 V, 50 Hz

Type G - 240 V, 50 Hz

Type M - 240 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in Malaysia

The biggest part of dive shops are located in the cities of Kuala Lumpur (Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur) and Langkawi on the island of Borneo. They offer various services, such as arranging dive tours, wreck diving, diving with sharks, cave and wall diving, as well as trips to other diving sites of Malaysia. All the shops are certified and have the right to train newbies and would-be instructors.

Сlimate & Seasonality

In September, the rains stop in the northeast and the tourist season starts. The air and water warm up to +33 °С and +30 °С, respectively. Rain comes to the west coast starting from April.


Summer is the ideal season for diving in Malaysia. There is no rainfall or strong winds at this time of year. June is the driest month of the year, and the air temperature in July is a steady 31 °С. The water warms up to 30 °С.


The tourist season is still open on the west coast in September and October. November brings with it the first rain. This is the rainiest month of the year. The water temperature doesn't go below 30 °С, and water becomes a couple of degrees colder.


The air temperature doesn't go below +23 °С during the Malaysian winter, and air humidity reaches 80%. Monsoons blow in the northeast. It often rains. The water temperature is +20… 23 °С.

high season
middle season
low season

The Best Dive Sites

Near Layang Layang island, you can find the Gorgonian Forest with "blossoming" black and ribbon corals, colorful Dendronephthya and sponges. The location is inhabitated by parrotfish, butterflyfish, angelsharks, turtles, moray eels and manta rays.
Near the Sharks' Cave, divers will surely meet zebra sharks that are often seen here. And baby sharks live at the back of the cave.

Health & Safety

Malaysia has one of the best healthcare systems in Asia. State and private hospitals offer medical help of any complexity. It is recommended that you get a vaccination against tetanus, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A and typhoid fever. Malaysia is know for being one of the safest countries in South-East Asia because serious crimes are rare here. However, it is better to remain vigilant and avoid going out alone at night. Local Police are often negligent in their duties. In case of emergency, you will have to come to a police station on your own.

Dangerous Marine Life

The coastal waters of Malaysia are full of dangerous dwellers. Among jellyfish, be careful of Portuguese man o' war and box jellyfish. Dangerous gastropods are represented by venomous cone snails. The rocky bottom is covered with venomous sea urchins, starfish and devilfish disguised as rocks, and killer sharks live in the depths.

Eat & Drinks

The Malaysian cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Portuguese recipes. Rice is the main ingredient here. Other foods go under the name of "Lauk", which translates as "addition to rice".
Nasi lemak is a rice dish cooked with coconut milk. It can be served with hard boiled eggs, anchovies and cucumbers. Roti canai is a flatbread with cucumber. It can have various fillings — meat, vegetables or fruit. The traditional beverages are tea and coffee. Tap water is not really drinkable, so it is better to boil it first.