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Malaysia: Scuba Diving Variety for Everyone

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Scuba Diving in Sipadan Islands : Malaysia

The problem with being a scuba diving enthusiast is not only the cost but also how much time it may take to find differing destinations that can meet all of your needs. You may think that you need to visit a number of cities or countries in order to find everything you crave, but this is simply not true. Malaysia is defined as one of the most unique diving destinations that offers a diverse range of scuba options that will amaze you. You can bring out your love of sea life and swim with turtles nearby Sipadan Island or toil with the hammerhead sharks on the pristine coastline of Layang Layang. Or maybe micro diving is your passion, then you can head to the islands of Mabul or Kapalai just to name a few.

Map of sipadan dive sites layang layang dive sites | map mabul dive sites map

One of the great parts about spending your holidays in Malaysia for a scuba diving experience is the wide range of dive resorts within the area.  If you don’t mind walking a little bit or taking a boat to the dive site, you can easily find lots of places to stay  – hotels, hostels, villas are all viable options much depending on your budget to consider and unlike other countries where scuba diving is set on the backburner, it is right up there on the forefront in Malaysia no matter what. Everywhere you go you can see people diving underwater, seeking out unique sites and splendid underwater animals. Most dive resorts that you will come across are located on the islands of Sabah. These islands are known for white sandy beaches, clear blue water and an abundance of coconut trees. What better background could you ask for when it comes to the perfect diving experience?

sipadan island malaysia shore of sipadan island Scuba diving in Sipadan islands Malaysia

In Borneo the diving season lasts the entire year round, all twelve months. You can skip location to location throughout the year to find the very best conditions for the type of diving you are looking for. The reefs within the area are perfect for diving as the depth is minimal but enough to attract all kinds of animals, the currents are gentle and the visibility is immaculate. Due to the calm surface conditions you can find an abundance of opportunities for beginner and advanced divers alike and take advantage of the wide variety of dive sites, up to 125 different options. In order to absorb the area as much as you can it is suggested that you stay more than seven days and preferably up to two weeks.

Mabul Island - Malaysia Scuba diving in layang-layang kapalai resorts - sipadan

In reality, there is really no diving site like Malaysia. Anything you want or are after can be found easily within the area. From wall dives to coral gardens to underwater caves, Malaysia has it all. While Sipadan Island and Layang Layang are the most famous sites, you may be interested in diving down to all new, less populated areas and see what sort of untold mysteries you could discover. If you want the best Malaysian diving experience, do not stay in one spot. Hop islands and skip beaches for a plethora of entertaining diving options.

Turtle in Sipadan Hammerhead shark: Sipadan island anemonefish in Mabul island

Things to know

  • Good for: Large animals, vertical-wall diving,suitable for drift divers and advanced divers
  • Diving Season:  All year round , but best time is from April to December ( especially July and August )
  • Minuses : No Wrecks, not suitable for beginner divers and lack of other ( non-diving ) activities
  • Depth: 5 – >40m
  • Visibility: 10 – 30m
  • Currents:  strong sometime
  • Water Temperature: 25 – 31°C
  • Experience Level: Intermediate – advanced
  • Distance: 12 km (25 minutes) south from Mabul and 10 km (18 minutes) southwest from Kapalai
  • Access: Diving from Mabul, Laylang and Kapalai resorts
  • Recommended length of stay: 1 or 2 week
  • Visa Requirements: Please visit  http://www.imi.gov.my/eng/perkhidmatan/im_Permit.asp   or http://www.borneo.com.au/visa.htm
  • Diving permission:  Please read the quote below from ScubaBoard forum

There is a strict limit on permits which allows for only 120 divers per day. To make sure you are one of the 120 you need to get a permit prearranged through one of the dive shops. All of the shops in the Sipadan area should be able to tell you if there are any permits available for the days you will be there, and they will book a permit for you. Payment arrangements vary from shop to shop so you will have to deal with them directly. If you just show up and the 120 diver limit has not been reached you should be able to obtain one, however I personally wouldn’t take that chance.

Best dive spots in Sipadan is considered to be

* Turtle Cavern
* Barracuda Point
* Coral Gardens
* White Tip Avenue
* Midreef
* Turtle Patch
* South Point
* Staghorn Crest
* Lobster Lairs
* Hanging Garden
* West Ridge
* North Point


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