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Rafflesia

Rafflesia

Rafflesia is a genus of flowering plants that is made up of of 16 known species. The best known of these species is Rafflesia arnoldii, which has the distinction of being the world's largest flower, reaching a diameter of about three feet. The Rafflesia flowers have been found only in Indonesia - on the islands of Sumatra and Java - and Malaysia, in particular in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. All of the known species of Rafflesia are threatened or endangered.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. This goes for the Chinese population in Malaysia too where the day itself is declared a public holiday. For Chinese locals the new year means a new start where they can make new money and attract new businesses. At numerous locations in Malaysia people light fireworks during the celebrations. Chinese New Year is the only day in the year most of the shops are closed for business.

Airport Taxi at KLIA

Airport Taxi at KLIA

Though using the KLIA Express is a quicker way to reach Kuala Lumpur city center, using the airport taxi is a much easier way to reach your destination within Kuala Lumpur. KLIA Express only brings you to KL Sentral while the airport taxi drops you off right in front of your hotel. If you are traveling alone it might be too expensive compared to other options as you pay RM74.30 for a ticket. You can buy tickets for a fixed price at one of the taxi counters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Food in Malaysia

Food in Malaysia

If shopping is the national pastime in Malaysia, then food is the national obsession. It is not uncommon to be greeted by the phrase 'Sudah makan?' (Have you eaten already?). Everything in Malaysia revolves around great food. Pleasant social get-togethers are always combined with having a nice meal. In Malaysia, more people blog about food than about anything else. Locals usually never eat at home; unless it is with family. Everybody eats outdoors every night; Malaysia is all about food!

Multi cultural Malaysia

Multi cultural Malaysia

Three main populations live in Malaysia; Malays, Chinese and Indians. All populations live together in harmony, though of course there are tensions every now and then but tourists will usually not notice that much of this. Over half of the population is of Malay descent; the Chinese form almost a quarter of the total population. Malaysians of Indian descent form approximately 7% of the population; while all indigenous people combined form about 11% of the total population in Malaysia.

10 best dive locations in Malaysia

Where can I find the best dive spots in Malaysia?

Malaysia has numerous great dive locations. The best dive sites in Malaysia can be found in the southeastern region of Sabah (on the island of Borneo). Easiest to reach are the dive sites at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, but this region is prone to the yearly monsoon season between October and March. Below our top10, based on the dive conditions, bio-diversity and attractiveness.

1. Sipadan Island, Mabul Island and Kapalai Island

Diving at Sipadan Island in Malaysia

These three islands probably contain the best dive sites in the whole of Malaysia. Sipadan is by far the best place to enjoy scuba diving; it is also not that easy to actually dive at because of the restricting rules that are in place (daily permit). Mabul is known worldwide for its amazing muck diving conditions. Kapalai is a small sand bank, not that great for diving, but here you can find a very exclusive resort built on stilts. Actually both Sipadan and Mabul earn their own spot in this list, but since you can’t visit one (Sipadan) without the other (Mabul) we just listed the whole cluster as one entry.

2. Lankayan Island

Whale shark sighting at Lankayan Island in Malaysia

A small island located north of the city of Sandakan in eastern Sabah. Lankayan only has one (luxurious) resort and it’s all about diving and relaxing. Accommodation might be quite expensive for non-divers, they might be better off at numerous other islands. After Sipadan, Lankayan probably offers the best dive spots and diving conditions in Malaysia.

3. Layang-Layang Island

Diving at Layang-Layang Island in Malaysia

Layang-Layang is not a tropical island per se. It is a concrete landing strip with one resort and a marine base, located on a big sand bank located just below sea level. Layang-Layang is located in a remote area, where the underwater world has not been affected by human beings. Corals are in pristine conditions. Layang-Layang is a place to see big species and big schools of fish (not so much smaller stuff).

4. Mataking Island, Pom Island and Sibuan Island

Diving at Sibuan Island in Malaysia

Though not as great as diving conditions at the nearby islands of Sipadan and Mabul, the area surrounding Mataking, Pom and Sibuan still offers quite a few amazing dive sites (especially Sibuan is known for great muck diving). Mataking is a wonderful place to stay. There is a very luxurious resort from where you can enjoy dive trips in the area.

5. Redang Island

Diving at Redang Island in Malaysia

Redang is the first island in our list that is not located in Borneo. Redang Island lies within the Terengganu Marine Park, nearby the city of Kuala Terengganu at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Redang offers great dive sites and perfect dive conditions. It is a great place to start with your diving adventure, as prices of a 4 day PADI course are very affordable. Redang cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

6. Lang Tengah Island

Diving at Lang Tengah Island in Malaysia

Located between the more popular islands of Redang and Perhentian, the smaller island of Lang Tengah offers great diving opportunities. The island has a few nice resorts, and is also suitable for non-divers. Lang Tenggah cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

7. Tenggol Island

Diving at Tenggol Island in Malaysia

Tenggol Island is located at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It offers splendid diving conditions, but it is perhaps not suitable for beginners due to the currents that often play a big role in dives around the island. There are a few nice resorts on the island. Tenggol cannot be visited between October and March because of the monsoon season.

8. Tioman Island (and the surround islands)

Diving conditions at Tioman are similar to the other popular islands at the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Especially great about Tioman is that besides diving it is also a great place to do snorkeling, sunbathing and kayaking. The island is big enough to do numerous other fun activities. Possible downside might be that is not that easy to reach compared to other islands (unless you are willing to pay dearly for the direct KL -> Tioman flight operated by Berjaya Air).

9. Perhentian Island

Diving at Perhentian Island in Malaysia

Perhentian is the best island in Malaysia to do a diving course. The diving conditions are splendid for beginners, and there are many dive spots available to enjoy immediately after finishing the PADI course. Perhentian has calm waters and an abundance of marine life. Besides diving it is probably one of the best islands for snorkeling, with shallow reefs with pretty nice corals and great marine life (also big fish and many turtles). At Perhentian prices for fun dives and for the diving course are probably the lowest in Malaysia. If you are a beginner, Perhentian Island is definitely the place to be!

10. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park

Diving at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Malaysia

Right opposite of the city of Kota Kinabalu in western Sabah (Borneo) lies the wonderful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TAR Marine Park). This area contains numerous dive sites that are definitely worth a visit. Dive schools mainly operate from out of Kota Kinabalu, though there are also a few that are located on the islands. Similar to Perhentian Island this is a great place to start diving by doing a 4 day PADI course as the dive conditions are optimal for beginners.

Dive locations in Malaysia that almost made it into our top10

Of course there are many other great places to dive in Malaysia, below a few that didn’t make it to our top10, but are still very much worth a visit (especially if you take certain non-dive aspects into consideration):

11. Mantanani Island; a little bit better than TAR Marine Park but also a bit more remote located.

12. Kapas Island; great option, small island, easy to reach from Kuala Terengganu. Many (better) dive sites at nearby islands though.

13. Talang-Talang Island; small island nearby Kuching. Not really a renowned dive spot, but might become one in the future.

14. Tiga Island; popular island nearby Kota Kinabalu. Better dive sites at the east coast of Sabah, but still some very nice sites.

15. Mengalum Island; if you are only staying around Kota Kinabalu.

16. Pulau Payar; your best option if you are only visiting the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

And some turtle islands (for those that do not dive):

17. Selingan Island (Turtle Island near Sandakan); not really a perfect dive spot, but the best place to visit to learn more about turtles.

18. Satang Island (Turtle Island near Kuching); another turtle island in Malaysia.

Read about Malaysia Scuba Diving at Sipadan Island and more at Dive-the-world.com.

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3 comments on 10 best dive locations in Malaysia

  1. Richard Lim
    1 year ago
    July 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I live in Kuching and I can tell you for sure that Satang Island is NOWHERE near any of the top 10. What you will see are silted up almost completely dead reefs, poor visibility and lots of sea urchins. Maybe a turtle or squid or two if you’re VERY lucky. Maybe a few clownfishes nesting in half dead anemones but give Satang a miss. It’s already dead and is constantly visited by the locals who have nowhere better to go within that range.

    Reply
  2. samaneh
    10 months ago
    October 27, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Hello,I’m Samaneh . I’m a dive master (PADI). I’d like to work as dive master . Please assist me.

    Reply
  3. Kelly Davis
    4 months ago
    May 9, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Matakang Island is my favorite. It’s underrated but if you explore its depths, you’ll see what you’ve been missing all your life if you haven’t dove in the area yet. Its pristine and enchanting beauty will leave you breathless.

    Reply

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