Photographing turtles in Sipadan. William Warby / Creative Commons
Don't travel to Malaysia without suiting up and diving its depths: the colorful undersea life and breathtaking views are worth it. Lacking the proper PADI certification? Don't sweat it, Malaysia's also the best place to learn.
Diving beginners should head on over to the Perhentian islands off the coast of Terengganu state. These two islands – Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil – host some of the best dive spots off peninsular Malaysia, and a number of inexpensive diving course providers too.
The calm waters allow peaceful snorkeling among the coral-rich waters, but you'll see more as you descend further below the surface: scorpionfish, rabbitfish, Christmas-tree worms, and an abundance of turtles circle divers as they explore the islands' many dive sites.
Wreck divers can venture to nearby Pulau Redang, where the remains of two World War II-era ships can be found several metres under water.
If you're looking for a real challenge (and the amazing underwater views that come with it), head on over to Sipadan. Malaysia's only oceanic island lies off the east coast of the Malaysian state of Sabah, in waters that graze Indonesia's and the Philippines' maritime borders.
The island's peaceful presence above water belies the marvels found beneath it. Hundreds of coral species and over 400 species of fish thrive in these waters; bumphead parrotfish, barracuda, massive schools of jacks, and thresher sharks, among others.
A trip to Sipadan usually includes visits to nearby Mabul Island, site of some of the world's best muck diving. Before you can dive at either island, though, you'll need to queue up for one of 120 permits issued daily – diving in these parts is literally reserved for a select few!
Snorkeling at Perhentian Besar. Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.
Sipadan Water Village. Barry Peters / Creative Commons.
Clownfish in Sipadan. Joshua Nguyen / Creative Commons.
Turtle in Sipadan. Daniel Kwok / Creative Commons
Similar Southeast Asia Experiences
Divers in Southeast Asia won't know where to start, with the overflow of diving spots they'll find across the region. Other key diving destinations include the waters off Brunei; Indonesia's part of the Coral Triangle; Koh Rong in Cambodia; Tubbataha and Apo Reefs in the Philippines; and Phuket in Thailand.
Off the coast of Cambodia’s popular beach destination Sihanoukville, Koh Rong offers the complete tropical island exper...
Yogyakarta and Bali. Begin at Southeast Asia's city of the future, Singapore: a cultural melting pot and technological w...VIEW DETAILS
What You Get This seven-day, six-night itinerary is designed specifically for mobility-challenged tourists – you'...VIEW DETAILS
Tour runs the gamut, from Yangon's gold-topped urban chaos to the Mergui Archipelago's pristine marine seascapes to K...VIEW DETAILS
Rate includes breakfast for two (additional RM35++ per child per day), WiFi, scheduled Historical Walk, parking and one time ...VIEW DETAILS
Romantic night for two. Bali’s stunning honeymoon villas provide the perfect setting for couples wanting a romantic nig...VIEW DETAILS
Enjoy a guided mystery culinary adventure across four venues in one spectacular evening of gastronomic delights.VIEW DETAILS
Go on an epic Asean journey with AirAsia Asean Pass, a travel pass that allows you to book our base fares at least 14 days or...VIEW DETAILS
Rent a car for 2 days or more at participating locations in Asia and enjoy up to 15% offVIEW DETAILS
Stay and meet at Crowne Plaza® Changi Airport, named World’s Best Airport Hotel at the Skytrax World Airport Awards...VIEW DETAILS
The package will include a night’s stay at the 3-star Days Hotel Singapore At Zhongshan Park based on Best Available Ra...VIEW DETAILS
Explore exotic Kuching with our amazing Asean@50 offer! Stay in the city centre within the business and shopping district wit...VIEW DETAILS