Malaysian islands offer some truly amazing diving destinations, featuring pristine coral, an incredible biodiversity and dive sites to suit all skill levels. If you want the chance to see some of the world's best diving spots, be sure to visit these top five destinations.
SIPADAN ISLAND AND MABUL ISLAND
By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany - False Clown Anemonefish, Pulau Perhentian, Malaysia, CC BY 2.0, commons.wikimedia.org
Located in the Sabah province, which is well known for its incredible diving destinations, these islands contain the best dive sites in Malaysia. Sipadan, in particular, is a bit of a legend amongst the diving community and one of the big fish capitals of the world.
Here, you will find everything from barracudas to turtles and a wealth of macro life to rival most destinations. The Coral Garden shows off the health and diversity of the coral growth while The Drop Off is the signature dive of Sipadan.
Mabul is located nearby and is the perfect place for macro stuff, famously carrying a high number of rare critter species. Coral outcrops, sandy seabeds, an astonishing array of little creatures and artificial reefs attract a great number of underwater photographers and critter divers alike.
By (WT-en) Jpatokal at English Wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org
Surrounded by turquoise blue sea, this idyllic tropical island offers some fantastic diving spots. Some of the incredible marine life to be seen include turtles, black tip reef sharks, stingrays and eagle rays.
This diving spot is particularly good for beginners as it has calm waters, but an abundance of marine life. It is one of the best islands for snorkelling, with shallow reefs featuring colourful corals.
The underwater world at Layang-Layang Island has not been as affected by people, as it is located in quite a remote area. The corals are in pristine conditions, so this offers a truly unique underwater experience.
This island, sometimes known as Swallow Reef, is the ideal location for seeing big schools of fish and big species. If you want to see an extraordinary shallow coral garden, then be sure to visit Crack Reef.
By adiput - Transferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org
This small tropical island is located in eastern Sabah and offers plenty of easy scuba diving over pristine reefs. It is a lot less crowded than some of the other islands and was recently afforded national marine park protection.
It has excellent macro opportunities, including ghost pipefish and frogfish, while also offering a variety of wrecks with plenty of cuttlefish and octopus to be seen. The Jetty Wreck, an artificial reef, is ideal for spotting schools of batfish and jacks.
By Lybil BER - Self-photographed, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org
Located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, within the Terengganu Marine Park, is Redang Island. With perfect dive conditions, it offers 80% of species found in the 'coral triangle', making it one of the top dive sites in the area.
It's the perfect location for divers of all skill levels, offering coral gardens, beach dives and challenging deep dives to keep everyone satisfied. You can even book a discovery dive to get a taste of what scuba diving feels like if you are only just beginning.
Malaysia has already made several efforts to save its coral reefs, including closing off several of its world-famous diving sites to give coral time to naturally regenerate. While the tourism industry can have an effect on the reef, it's important for people to learn more about it in order to appreciate it and want to protect it.