Macro: Malaysia is not a big country but it offers great dive sites ! The Malaysia's best diving destinations is on Borneo (Sabah), closer to the coral triangle. The most beautiful spot is definitely Sipadan (probably in the world's top 10), but also Layang Layang to dive with hammerhead sharks, Lankayan for the chance to see a whale shark, Miri and Labuan for the wrecks or Mabul for a destination in the Top 5 global macro ! The dive sites of the Western coast of the Malaysia like the islands Perhentians or Tioman are perfect for making diving course and many diving clubs are available to you, even in French ! The diving prices in Malaysia are quite cheap and open water is often cited as one of the cheapest in Asia.

Background: I made two trips to Malaysia, one in 2013 on the peninsular and the other one in 2014 on Borneo. I must go back!

carte top 10 meilleurs sites de plongee malaisie

WHERE TO DIVE IN MALAYSIA?

Some best dive sites in Malaysia :

  1. SIPADAN : Top 10 in the world, the best diving in Malaysia!
  2. LAYANG LAYANG : Hammerhead shark in Malaysia!
  3. LANKAYAN : Whale shark in Malaysia!
  4. MABUL : Top 5 best macro diving in the world!
  5. MIRI : Big pelagic and wrecks!
  6. LABUAN : Shipwrecks in Malaysia!
  7. TENGGOL : Whale shark and wrecks!
  8. POM POM (AND MATAKING) : Big pelagic and Macro!
  9. TIOMAN : Turtles and try scuba diving!reef!!!e!
  10. THE PERHENTIANS : The cheapest in Malaysia to learn to dive!

DIVING IN MALAYSIA REVIEWS AND INFORMATION

meilleure plongee malaisie requin

  • Clearly Sipadan and Layang Layang are at above others.
  • Dives on the Borneo side are better.
  • Dives on the peninsular side are more for the new divers.
  • Sipadan is often referenced among the world's top 10 best diving.
  • Layang Layang could probably be in the world's top 10 if it was better known and more accessible.
  • Best diving period Malaysia : March to October.
  • Best Macro Destination : Mabul / Kapalai (world top 5).
  • Best destination for the bigSipadan, Layang Layang.
  • Whale shark in Malaysia : Lankayan (March to May), Tenggol (June to September).
  • Hammerhead shark in Malaysia : Layang Layang (March to July).
  • Wreck diving in Malaysia : Labuan, Miri and Mantanani.
  • To learn / start : Perhentians and Tioman.

 PRESENTATION OF MALAYSIA

  • Sipadan ile 2-minWith Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia is one of the 3 Southeast Asian countries that offers the most diversity at the diving level.
  • We can find pretty much everything (except a manta ray station, I have not found): turtle, shark, big pelagic, beautiful coral, macro and rare species like whale sharks and hammerhead sharks.
  • Some Wreck fans will not be left behind thanks to several sites, with Labuan and its 4 beautiful shipwrecks, but also a place much less known, Kuching and his 5 wrecks, including a submarine!
  • The part Borneo, especially the one on the east side, located in the The Coral Triangle (the largest marine biodiversity in the world) is clearly above the mark. A little more complicated access, this is where real diving fans should go.
  • The part the peninsular side offers nice diving, but not at the level of Borneo. It is however well suited for those who start diving with beautiful coral, turtles and all the fish of the tropics.

THE BEST DIVES IN MALAYSIA

What are the best dive sites in Malaysia?

1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

1. DIVING REVIEW SIPADAN: SHARKS, TURTLES AND INCREDIBLE FISH BOWLS

The full article on Sipadan here

meilleure plongee malaisie sipadan

Sipadan Diving Review

  • Without a doubt the No. 1 destination in Malaysia! Sipadan is a very small island 1 hour from the coast and it's just a little diving paradise, more accessible than some other destinations in this top 10. There is a wall all around the island which offers a dozen dive sites.
  • On all the sites you will meet sharks reef (white-tip, black-tip and gray), turtles, of the large pelagic (barracuda, jackfish, napoleon) and you can admire a superb coral garden.
  • Sipadan is also known for its resident schools : : trevally (big eye trevally, over 2000),  barracudas (over 1000) and bumphead parrotfish (at least 150)!
  • Finally, in season, you may have the chance to see hammerhead sharks hammerhead sharks on a very specific site.
  • To know : impossible to sleep on the island, you will have to go to Mabul or Kapalai and only 130 people allowed to dive per day (advance reservation required!).

Information to organize your diving trip to Sipadan

  • meilleure plongee malaisie sipadan banc de caranguesSipadan's marine life:
    • Sharks : white-tip, black-tip, gray reef.
    • Big Pelagic : barracuda, jackfish, wrasse, turtle.
    • Resident school : trevallies (2000+), barracudas (1000+), bumphead parrotfish (150+).
    • Hammerhead shark : be lucky in season (November to February).
  • Sipadan diving season : March to October with April June normally having the best visibility.
  • Best diving sites Sipadan : Barracuda point, white-tip avenue, south point.
  • Visibility : 15 to 30 m (best in April to June).
  • Temperature : 26-30 °.
  • How to dive Sipadan :
    • No liveaboard.
    • Dive from Semporna or better from the islands of Mabul or Kapalai.
    • There are 130 people authorized per day to dive in Sipadan - reservations strongly recommended.

Sipadan Diving Prices

  • Sipadan diving prices: about 40 € without equipment
  • Day diving pack : around 120 € for 3 dives in Sipadan (including the license).
  • There are many diving + accommodation packages: allow around 1000 - 1500 € for 7 days.

Sipadan diving video

1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

2. LAYANG LAYANG DIVING REVIEW: RESIDENT HAMMERHEAD SHARKS IN ASIA!

meilleure plongee malaisie layan layan requin marteau

Diving Layang layang reviews

  • This place is not very known and yet it is a small nugget! A small atoll in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a wall that goes down to 2000 m !
  • In season we are almost sure to see hammerhead sharks on any site !! The daily life of each site: reef sharks (gray, white and black tip) and large pelagic (giant trevally, tuna, fusilier, snapper, barracuda, napoleon ...) who wander and hunt.
  • In recent years, there have also been a lot of pilot whale glimpses!
  • The problem is that it is accessible only 5 months in the year  (from March to July). I have not done it yet, but I think it's as good, better than Sipadan!

Information to organize your diving stay in Layang layang

meilleure plongee malaisie layan layan requin

  • Layang layang marine life:
    • Resident school of hammerhead sharks
    • Sharks : gray, white tip, black tip, leopard.
    • School of pelagics (barracuda, trevally, humphead parrot, snapper, fusilier, batfish, triggerfish ...),
    • Big Pelagic : giant trevally, giant sweetlips, wrasse, humphead parrot, tuna, grouper, turtle.
    • Schools of Fish : jacks, barracuda, snapper, fusilier.
  • Diving season Layang layang : open only from March to October.
  • Best Layang Layang dive sites: Dogtooth lair, Gorgonian forest, Wrasse strip, shark cave.
  • Visibility : 30 m.
  • Temperature : 26-29 °.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

3. LANKAYAN DIVING REVIEW: WHALE SHARK IN MALAYSIA!

meilleure plongee malaisie lakayan requin baleine

Diving Lankayan reviews

  • Lankayan is the best place in Malaysia to see whale sharks !
  • It is a migratory area, and March to May, you're likely to see some.
  • After Sipadan and Layang Layang, Lankayan is most definitely the 3rd best destination in Malaysia for the "big" : black tip shark, bamboo shark, leopard shark, marbled ray ...
  • Macro: macro is not left with ghost pipefish, frogfish, many nudibranch, mimic octopus ... Finally, you also expect several wrecks : Mosquito wreck (whale shark), Jetty wreck (macro and night dive) and Lankayan wreck.

Information to organize your diving stay in Lankayan

  • Marine life : black tip shark, bamboo shark, leopard shark, marbled ray.
  • Possible marine life : whale shark, frogfish, mimic octopus, ghost pipefish.
  • Best diving period Lankayan : March to October.
  • Whale shark season Lankayan : March to May
  • Turtle nesting season : June to September.
  • Best dive sites Lankayan : Mosquito wreck (whale shark), Jetty wreck (macro and night dive), Strong Froggie, Lankayan wreck.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

4. MABUL DIVING REVIEW: WORLD'S TOP 5 MACRO!

meilleure plongee malaisie mabul macro

Mabul diving reviews

  • The island is very close is in the same area as Sipadan.
  • Mabul is known for offering one of the best macro in the world! You can find there: ghost pipefish, seahorse (seahorse), pipefish (pipe fish), all kinds of frogfish, mandarin fish, an impressive amount of different nudibranchs and even blue ringed or mimic octopus!
  • Very close to Sipadan, dives in Mabul and / or Kapalai are often in packages offered for a stay in Sipadan. So we go for the " small And the muck dive, do not go there to see some fat.

Information to organize your diving stay in Mabul

  • Marine life : ghost pipefish, seahorse, pipefish, all kinds of frogfish, mandarinfish and lots of nudibranchs.
  • Possible marine life : blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, harlequin shrimp.
  • Best Mabul diving period: March to October, but possible all year as visibility is always low (5-15 m).
  • Best dive sites Mabul : Lobster wall, Paradise 2, Sea adventure platform, Mandarin alley, Froggy lair.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

5. MIRI DIVING REVIEW: BIG STUFF AND WRECKS!

meilleure plongee malaisie miri

Miri diving reviews

  • We find a lot of big stuff in Miri (school of jacks, barracuda, Napoleon, fusilier, big grouper ...), there is even a huge school of barracudas resident in Barracuda point (smaller than that of Sipadan, but still big).
  • In addition to that, Miri has 3 wrecks including one from the 2nd World War (Atago maru wreck, 100 m long).
  • The coral is beautiful, many soft corals, and the macro is also part of it (more than 50 species of nudibranchs recorded!).

Information to organize your diving trip to Miri

  • Marine life : trevally, giant trevally, snapper, grouper, napoleon.
  • Possible marine life : reef shark.
  • Resident : barracudas bench in Barracuda point.
  • Best diving period Miri: March to September.
  • Best dive sites Miri : Eve's garden, Atago maru wreck, Takau drop-off.
  • Wrecks : 3 (Atago maru wreck, Shri gadong wreck, Kenyalang Wreck).
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

6. LABUAN DIVING REVIEW: THE MALAYSIAN WRECK SITE!

meilleure plongee malaisie labuan epave

Labuan Dive Reviews

  • If you are wreck fan, Labuan is the best destination in Malaysia for that! With 4 wrecks very different where all levels can be found, from the beginner who has never seen a wreck, to the experienced who wants to make penetrations!
  • The Blue water wreck (sank in 1981, 80 m long and max depth 35 m), a Filipino trawler, is not to be missed, with abundant marine life and a visibility from 30 to 40 m.
  • The Wreck cement (cast in 1980, 92 m long) is the shallowest (19 m), it is covered with corals and many schools of fish have made their home.
  • The Australian wreck (85 m long, sunk in 1944, max depth 35 m) and the American wreck (USS Salute, sunk in 1945, 75m long) are also 2 large wrecks with different stories that are worth the detour.

Information to organize your diving stay in Labuan

  • Marine life : grouper + tropical classic fish (butterfly fish, clown fish, parrot fish, fusilier, snapper, trigger, damsel ...).
  • Possible marine life : Trevally, giant trevally, barracuda.
  • Best diving period Labuan: March to October.
  • Best dive sites Labuan : Blue water wreck, Wreck cement, American wreck, Australian wreck.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

7. TENGGOL DIVING REVIEW: WHALE SHARK + 1 WRECK!

meilleure plongee malaisie tenggol requin baleine

Tenggol diving reviews

  • The 2nd best place (after Lankayan) for the chance to see whale sharks in Malaysia (from June to September). The sites are mainly composed of walls with strong current.
  • We can therefore see nice species such as schools of barracudas, groupers, humphead parrots or turtles and a little rarer of reef sharks or leopard sharks.
  • A wreck also fun to do: the Kuantan Wreck (80 m long, depth 23 to 14 m) where it is possible to enter, 2 huge resident groupers and lots of life (school of trevallies, platax, barracuda, stingray, moray… ).

Information to organize your diving stay in Tenggol

  • Marine life : turtle, humphead parrot, trevalli + tropical classic fish (butterfly fish, clown fish, parrotfish, fusilier, snapper, triggerfish, damsel ...).
  • Possible marine life : white tip shark, leopard shark.
  • Best diving period Tenggol: April to September (closed the rest of the year).
  • Season whale shark Tenggol: June to September.
  • Best dive sites Tenggol : Amazing grace, Fishbowl, The Highway, Kuantan wreck
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

8. DIVE REVIEW ON POM POM AND MATAKING: BIG PLUS MACRO!

meilleure plongee malaisie pom pom mataking macro

Pom Pom Diving and Makating Reviews

  • Not far from Sipadan is a small island still hidden with great diving: Pom Pom island.
  • A mix between very nice macro (seahorse, frogfish, nudibranch) and sites with big (napoleon, giant trevally ...) with a visibility of 15 to 30 m (you must absolutely go to the North point site).
  • The island of Mataking next door offers a great site (Mataking Island Resort's Reef House), with a huge shoal of resident jacks.

Information to organize your diving trip to Pom Pom and Makating

  • Marine life : turtle, mandarin fish (the day) + tropical classic fish (butterfly fish, clown fish, parrot fish, fusilier, snapper, trigger, damsel ...).
  • Possible marine life : giant trevally, napoleon, barracuda, pygmy seahorse, leaf scorpionfish, frogfish, nudibranch, shrimp.
  • Resident : school of jacks (Makating house reef).
  • Best diving period Pom Pom: March to October.
  • Best dive sites Pom Pom : North Point (called "Mini Sipadan"), CBR House Reef, Mataking Island Reef House, shipwreck post, Kapikan reef (stingray city).
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

9. TIOMAN DIVING REVIEW: TURTLES AND LEARN DIVING!

meilleure plongee malaisie tioman island

Tioman diving reviews

  • Just like Perhentians, Tioman and well-known travelers and lends itself perfectly to'learning to dive, with simple sites and affordable prices.
  • For the more experienced, it will be necessary to try to go a little further than the "classic" sites or the diving centers generally go, on the side of the Pulau islands. Chebeh (possible, I did say possible, manta ray and whale shark in season from April to October), Pulau Over there, and Pulau Tulai, more exposed to the current and therefore with more "big" (reef shark and nurse, school of fish)!

Information to organize your diving stay in Tioman

  • Marine life : green turtle and nested + tropical classic fish (butterfly fish, clown fish, parrot fish, fusilier, snapper, trigger, damsel ...).
  • Possible marine life : reef sharks, nurse sharks, tuna, napoleon, manta ray / whale sharks in season (April to October).
  • Best diving period Tioman : March to October.
  • Best dive sites Tioman : Pulau Chebeh, Batu Sepoi, Fan Canyon, Tiger Reef, Pulau Labas, Pulan Tulai.
  • Whale shark and manta ray season : March to October.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

10. DIVING REVIEW PERHENTIAN ISLANDS: THE CHEAPEST TO LEARN IN MALAYSIA!

meilleure plongee malaisie ile perhentian

Diving Perhentian Island reviews

  • The Perhentian Islands are 2 small islands on the peninsular side, very known to travelers, it is undoubtedly the best place to learn diving in Malaysia (with Tioman), good conditions and classic tropical fish.
  • Perhentians are only not at the sites of Borneo (SipadanLayang Layang...), so for the most experienced, if you want a nice dive, you have to look a little and go to Tokong Laut, Batu Nisan, Terembu Tiga (Three Brothers) and Sugar Wreck.

Information to organize your diving trip to the island Perhentian

  • Marine life : green turtle + tropical classic fish (butterfly fish, clown fish, parrot fish, fusilier, snapper, trigger, damsel ...).
  • Possible marine life : reef sharks, nurse shark, leopard shark, bamboo shark, napoleon, stingray.
  • Best diving period Perhentian islands: March to October (a lot of people in July / August).
  • Best dive sites Perhentian islands Tokong Laut, Batu Nisan, Terembu Tiga (Three Brothers) and Sugar Wreck.
1.Sipadan 2.Layang Layang 3.Lankayan 4.Mabul 5.Miri 6.Labuan 7.Tenggol 8.Pom Pom / Mataking 9.Tioman 10. Perhentians

OTHER DIVING DESTINATIONS MALAYSIA

Diving in Malaysia on Borneo (Sabah) reviews

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Diving at Kuching (wrecks) in Malaysia reviews

  • Further south Miri, a totally unknown destination
  • 6 beautiful wrecks await you, including a submarine !!
  • Kuching was an American target after Pearl Harbor

Diving at Mantanani in Malaysia reviews

  • 3 small islands north of Kota Kinabalu
  • Simple dives, classic marine life and 3 wrecks of Japanese ships

Diving in Malaysia on the peninsula reviews

poisson lion plongee panglao bohol philippines

Diving in Redang Malaysia reviews

  • Beautiful corals + turtle
  • Big on some sites (jack, napoleon, grouper ...)
  • Perfect to learn (go there if you want to avoid the Tioman crowd or the Perhentians)

Diving in Aur and Dayang in Malaysia reviews

  • Surrounded by deep water
  • Offer great chances to see big pelagic

THE BEST DIVES IN MALAYSIA BY SPECIES

My diving review on the best Malaysian dives

Macro: Malaysia is a great place to dive, There is something for every taste ! The most novice can visit the islands of the peninsula, learn diving in good conditions, in the islands Perhentian or Tioman. For the most passionate and looking for more sensation, it will be necessary to go to the side Borneo. If you come at the right time and manage to combine a stay Sipadan (world top 10) + Layang Layang (almost guaranteed to see hammerheads) + Lankayan (whale shark) + Mabul (top 5 macro diving) + Labuan (great shipwrecks), I think you will not be disappointed !!

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