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Showing posts with label Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Islands. Show all posts

Scuba Diving Malaysia


Scuba Diving Site in Malaysia

Islands surrounding Malaysia are renowned by divers all over the world as one of the best diving spots on the globe. Below the surface of many tropical islands you can experience the wonderful underwater world in all its glory. Great numbers of travelers visit Malaysia with the sole purpose of scuba diving. The best places to dive are the islands in the eastern part of Peninsular Malaysia and the islands in the eastern part of the Borneo province Sabah.

Diving on islands in the western part of the peninsula is less popular, due to turbid marine water conditions which has a negative impact on underwater visibility. The only place to dive in this area is at Pulau Payar, a small uninhabited island that lies between Langkawi and Penang. This is however a somewhat spoiled tourist attraction, so it’s better to head out to other parts of Malaysia, where diving conditions are perfect.

Package deals are very popular in Malaysia. Many resorts have some sort of partnership with diving schools, so you can arrange accommodation and a scuba diving course at one location. Most packages roughly consists of the same components, 4 or 5 nights stay at the resort, the diving course incl. books and equipment, the boat ride from the mainland to the island and back, free meals and drinks and in some cases a couple of extra fun dives.   

Redang Island

1. Scuba diving at the eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia

The best place to get your scuba license is at one of the islands on the eastern side of the peninsula. Package deals are cheapest at Pulau Perhentian; here you can get your official PADI for approximately €200 or around $270 (prices are subject to change). All diving schools are certified, some have more ‘stars’ than others. Prices are roughly the same at most of the diving schools. Should you want to get your dive master (or rescue diver or any other advanced course) license, you should probably contact some of the diving schools up front. Price does however differ great from regular prices in most European countries. For example a diving course in the UK or the Netherlands can be twice or even three times more expensive. A typical diving course takes you four days at the least. Don’t bother to try and do it in less days, you have enough to learn so a four day course is the absolute minimum amount of days. We did a 5-day course at Pulau Perhentian. We paid €190 for the standard PADI course, this was incl. of books and equipment. Other islands in Malaysia are perhaps less interesting to go to for a diving course, since prices are usually a bit higher there (i.e. Pulau Redang, Pulau Tioman). 

Tioman Island by Levent Oskan

Recommended diving schools on Pulau Perhentian are: Flora Bay, Coral Sky Divers, Watercolours, Spice Divers and Pro Divers World. I only have (great) experience with Watercolours, but read and heard from fellow-divers that all other diving schools mentioned above a pretty good too.

Diving in this part of Malaysia depends greatly on weather conditions. Especially during monsoon period diving is not an option. Resorts close during this period, since the weather can be extreme at times. It’s even impossible to visit the islands, since ferries are out of order for tourists. The monsoon period starts roughly in the beginning of October, and ends roughly around March. I use the word roughly, because some years the monsoon is very mild, starts later and ends earlier. Some years it starts mid-September, and ends during March.   

Payar Island

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2. Scuba diving at the western side of Peninsular Malaysia

As mentioned before; scuba diving is not that great at islands like Langkawi, Penang or Pangkor on the western side of peninsula Malaysia. The best place to dive is at the tourist attraction Pulau Payar, a small island between Langkawi and Penang. Diving here is pretty expensive, compared to other diving spots in Malaysia. Besides, coral isn’t that great anymore, though due to massive amounts of zooplankton there is an abundance of fish to spot underwater. Right next to Pulau Payar lies Pulau Kaca; here you can dive to a number of shipwrecks. Though we haven’t been there ourself, we read pretty good stories about diving at Kaca.

Don’t have a scuba diving permit? You can also head out to Pulau Payar for a snorkeling trip, it’s a fun day out and you’ll see many beautiful fishes on the shallow shores of the small island. You want to get a diving permit and it’s impossible to travel to islands like Perhentian or Redang? Get your PADI at Langkawi, at the dive center you’ll learn the basics and theoretical experience. The final dives will be done at Pulau Payar. It is a bit more expensive, but still cheaper than in most other parts of the world.

Close to Pangkor Island you can find Pulau Sembilan. Until recently this island had one fairly popular diving school, Sembilan Divers. Unfortunately this diving school went out of business, so for now it is not possible to dive in marine waters around Sembilan. 

Sipadan Island

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3. Scuba diving at the islands surrounding Borneo (Sabah)

When you plan a diving trip to islands surrounding Sabah, you’ll soon end up at the some of the best diving spots in the world; Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Mabul. Both islands have the best diving conditions you can imagine, although it’s better to be an advanced diver due to currents and depths. At these islands it is also possible to do a diving course; prices are affordable, though accommodation can be pretty expensive.

Sipadan Water Village

There are some resorts (there are not that many resorts) where you get a package for roughly $1000 for a couple of nights. Compared to accommodation on for example Pulau Perhentian these prices are pretty high. Nonetheless, the price is worth every penny, since you are visiting one of the best kept secrets of Malaysia. Accommodation is very exclusive, almost impossible to compare with the resorts at Pulau Perhentian. If you are a true scuba diver, this is absolutely a must-visit!

Other famous diving spots at the islands surrounding Sabah are Kapalai, Labuan, Langkayan and Layang-Layang. All these islands have the same in common; great dives, great visibility, huge walls, various types of species and of course a great tropical experience on the islands itself.

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10 Islands You Want to Visit in Malaysia (by Eileen Fong)

I love island life. I love the sea, the sand and the sun. Ironically, I live in Singapore (which is technically an island) but I just don’t get the satisfaction of what I expect from an island escapade/adventure. I always dream of island hopping in the Caribbean and I absolutely miss my time in Greece 2 summers back. Out of desperation, I sought out islands next door (Malaysia). I’ve been to some on the list and there are others that I’m dying to visit. Totally random but seeing this picture makes me want to scream “wheeeeeee……..”

* I will be using the term Island and Pulau interchangeably in this article. Pulau means island in Malay Language.

10. Tioman Island

Tioman is situated in Pahang within the Mersing Marine Park and being in Johor, it’s one of the closest island getaways for Singaporeans. In particular, Tioman Island created memories for my first dive trip and it is a fantastic starting point for all of you who are interested in getting your scuba diving certification. (Read 5 Reasons to Make You Want to Dive) Time magazine has also selected Tioman Island as one of the most beautiful islands.








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9. Tiga Island a.k.a Survivor Island

Pulau Tiga is the first location for the popular reality tv show “Survivor”. The island is situated off the West Coast of Sabah in Borneo. There are trails, plenty of trails on the island (including one that leads to a mud bath). It may not be your typical luxury island getaway but this uninhabited place will certainly let you escape from reality – or perhaps bring out the Chuck Noland in you?



  


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8. Rawa Island

Rawa Island is another option close to Singapore (even closer than Tioman!) To only way to get there is by a 1 hour ferry ride (or 30mins speed boat) from Mersing Jetty. There are lesser tourist on this small island compared to Tioman so it may be a better choice for those of you who prefer less crowd. Rawa is known for its soft white sand and coral reefs rich with marine life (as it is mostly untouched).

 






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7. Tinggi Island

Also accessible from Mersing Jetty, Pulau Tinggi is bigger than Rawa but smaller than Tioman. Not only does Pulau Tinggi offer a tranquil island life, it is also populated with lush jungles. This island can be a great family adventure offering both water activities in the deep blue, as well as rock climbing or trekking leading up to waterfalls amidst the rainforest.
 





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6. Tenggol Island

Pulau Tenggol is part of a string of islands including Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang, off the coast of Terrengganu. This island is more well-known amongst the divers as it offers abundant marine life compared to other commercialised islands like Tioman. Sightings here include sharks, rays and nudibranch. For the  interest of non-divers, I will quit rambling on and introduce you to Pulau Perhentian – #5





 
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5. Perhentian Islands

The Perhentian Islands have been dubbed ‘paradise’ by some. It is made up of a big island (Perhentian Bersar) and small island (Perhentian Kecil). Both islands are fringed by sandy white beaches, and the reefs and crystal clear water are host to a wide variety of coral, sea-turtles, jellyfish, small sharks and reef-fish. Expect yourself to be part of a scene in the Beach and the Perhentian Islands are certainly not a shabby alternative to Ko Phi Phi.



 

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4. Pangkor Island

Pangkor Island is situated off the coast of the Perak state, somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. It was previously reported that celebrities such as Kiera Knightley, Sting and Anna Friel are fans of the island (or more accurately the privately owned sister island Pangkor Laut). Having said that the main Pangkor Island offers a more affordable getaway with beautiful beaches like Coral Bay and Teluk Nipah. 








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3. Redang Island

I don’t think I need to introduce Redang Island. It is a haven for all islanders. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from; budget to the ones you can splurge on. Period.








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2. Layang-Layang Island

Layang Layang Island is also commonly known as Swallow Reef Island. It is one of the most population dive destinations for enthusiast and for the rest, it is a serene island to basically chillax. Bird watching is also a popular activity on Layang Layang. For the wanderers, do be careful because there is a naval base and trespassing will result in detention! Otherwise, just stay underwater, there’s so much to see, or bask in your deck chairs. Either way, this is a blissful island retreat.







 
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1. Mabul Island – (Sipadan)

Just look at that accommodation! I want to jump into the waters right there and then. Who needs Maldives when you have Malaysia?! (Haha okay I’m kidding, I want to go Maldives too). But this place is heaven – friends who have been there swear by it. I’ve included Sipandan as part of Mabul Island as it is a beautiful dive destination but I’ve been told by Malaysian friends that you need a dive permit to head there. If you don’t have one, stay on Mabul Island, which is equally deserving. Though, being number 1 comes with a price, be prepared to burn a hole in your pocket!






I DREAM of living in a beach house, by the deep blue sea and waking up to the waves crashing against the shore.

Peace & Love,
Eileen x

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