Imagine crystal clear waters surrounding beautiful islands with pure, white beaches. Imagine palm trees swaying in balmy, tropical breezes, all set against a backdrop of lush, green rainforest – this is Malaysia. For scuba divers, Malaysia's biodiversity is nothing short of stunning. The country is divided into two parts – Peninsular Malaysia, which shares a border with the southern end of Thailand, and Malaysian Borneo, which encompasses the northern quarter of the world’s third-largest island. The dive opportunities here are rivaled only by the nation's cultural diversity. 

    Around the hundreds of tropical islands, you’ll find an incredible choice of dive sites and undiscovered beaches. Pick from a variety of underwater landscapes including sloping reefs, pinnacles and coral gardens for your deep, drift, wreck, cavern and wall dives. World-renowned wall diving, featuring more than 3000 species of marine creatures, awaits you off of Borneo's Sipadan Island and some of the best macro diving sites in the world off Mabul Island. From Peninsular Malaysia, you can get to the Perhentian Islands with towering pinnacles, and Redang Island with some of the world’s most developed coral gardens. Tioman Island, off of the peninsula's east coast, has amazing coral formations and nearby deep water home to many wrecks for technical divers.

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    Great Dives

    • Hanging Gardens, Sipadan – This site on the west side of Sipadan plunges straight down and even when the visibility reaches 40 metres/130 feet, you cannot see the bottom, but you may spy grey reef sharks and hammerheads down deep. The wall is covered with colorful soft corals, seafans and barrel sponges and is buzzing with reef fish. You may also spot turtles and schools of bumphead parrotfish.
    • Coral Garden, Sipadan – This site is a sheer wall that drops into the depths and is covered with multiple coral species. Turtles like to hang out here to feed and rest. You’ll see lots of reef fish and may catch a glimpse of large schools of jacks or barracuda.
    • Froggie's Lair, Mabul – This dive site is all about looking for frogfish and other small, elusive creatures. A gradual reef slopes down to sand at about 14 metres/45 feet. Look for the resident frogfish, nudibranchs, leaf scorpionfish, stargazers, banded-pipefish and crocodile fish.
    • Sugar Wreck, Perhentian Islands – This large sugar hauler sank during a monsoon in 2000 and now lies on its side in 30 metres/100 feet of water. Quickly being overtaken by coral and marine life, it's now home to reef fish, barracuda and bamboo sharks that hide in the wreck. Big schools of snapper, jack and trevally circle the hull.
    • Pulau Lima, Redang – A submerged sea mount off Pulau Lima has amazing boulder formations that drops down to around 30 metres/100 feet. The current here sometimes brings in large pelagics, like manta rays and whales. Look for tuna, barracudas, groupers and black-tip sharks. Hard and soft corals, gorgonians, sea anemones and whip coral gardens abound.
    • Tiger Reef, Tioman – This submersed pinnacle with an average depth of 15 metres/50 feet has beautiful coral formations, crinoids, sea whips and sea fans. Strong currents bring in large schools of jack, mackerel, barracuda and rainbow runner on almost every dive. Zoom in and out of the canyons checking out the reef fish, stingrays, moray eels and lionfish.

    Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth® for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

    Dive Summary

    Visibility – Depending on the area and time of year, visibility ranges from 10-40 metres/30-130 feet.

    Water Temperature – Being close to the equator, you can count on water temperatures from 26-30°C/80-85°F year-round.

    Weather – The weather throughout Malaysia is tropical with air temperatures ranging from 21-32 ºC/ 70-90º F. The wet season runs from November to March, which can effect dive conditions, but diving is available all year. 

    Featured Creatures – You'll see turtles and more turtles just about everywhere. Reef sharks, schooling barracuda, trevallies, bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, rainbow runners, emperors, groupers, batfish, mackerel, stingrays, boxfish, lionfish, garden eels and moray eels are all likely to be seen. Common sightings also include angelfish, butterfly fish, snapper, triggerfish, pufferfish, shrimp, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, mandarinfish and seahorses.

    Recommended Courses – Take the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy and PADI Deep Diver courses to help you hover effortlessly along Sipadan’s walls. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course is a must to capture the beauty of the place. Malaysia is becoming a technical diving destination, so look into PADI TecRec courses, including the PADI Rebreather Diver course, if interested.

    Travel Info

    Language – Bahasa Malaysia is the national language but English is also widely spoken. Various Chinese dialects and Hindi are also common.

    Currency – Malaysian Ringgit. Credit cards are accepted in cities and many larger hotels, restaurants and shops.

    Major Airports – There are also international airports at Penang (Penang International Airport), Johor Bahru (Senai International Airport), Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu International Airport ), Kuching (Kuching International Airport) and Langkawi (Langkawi International Airport).

    Electricity and Internet – 240 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in cities and most resort areas.

    Topside Attractions – Visit the world’s tallest towers in Kuala Lumpur. Go to Sabah’s state parks and climb Mount Kinabalu, see Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary near Sandakan, go caving in Gunung Mulu National Park, experience ancient cultures in jungle villages, tour the many monkey ridden temples around the country and ride an elephant in the jungles of Borneo.Topside Attractions – Visit the world’s tallest towers in Kuala Lumpur. Go to Sabah’s state parks and climb Mount Kinabalu. See Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary near Sandakan. Go caving in Gunung Mulu National Park. Experience ancient cultures in jungle villages and tour the many monkey ridden temples around the country. Ride an elephant in the jungles of Borneo.

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    Locate a PADI Dive Shop in Malaysia