Hear from the Flow DC Team’s Favourite Dive Site in Malaysia!
Seanne Ng, Zoey Yee, Urval Patel, Jonathan Tan
Mathew Lee, Cameron Lauder, Melanie Hwa
30 March 2023.
The dive site that really made me go “Wow!”, hands down it’s Brolok in Pulau Tenggol. Brolok is a submerged reef in the middle of the ocean and can only be visited a handful of times each diving season or you’d be swept away by current pretty easily into the blue. The most unique thing about Brolok is that it’s enveloped by an endless carpet of sea anemone at the top half of the reef, dancing to the rhythm of the ocean and twinkling from the sunlight. As you further descend and can go as deep as 30-35m, you will see a mixture of hard and soft coral, big schools of fusilier and other colourful coral fish. Due to its strategic location, there are chances of spotting pelagics like mobulas and the whale shark if you’re lucky. This dive site can be challenging due to strong currents, so I’d recommend it if you’re a confident diver with good buoyancy management and relatively strong kicks.
With the limited number of dive and dive experiences I had in Malaysia, picking a favourite dive site is pretty hard but if I have to pick one, I will definitely choose Coral Garden in Pulau Tenggol. True to its namesake, it is literally a garden full of colourful coral from Brain Coral, Maze Coral, Fine Table Coral and Giant Sea Fans! With its usually calm diving conditions, this dive site is one of the best places to take nice and pretty pictures. If you take your time to look in between the corals, you’d sometimes be able to spot some special and rare shrimps.This dive site is suitable for everyone, especially beginners as the maximum depth is at 18m.
My favourite dive site in Malaysia is Labas – often described as the Swiss Cheese of Tioman. Labas has two dive sites depending on the conditions – north and south. The ‘north’ Labas dive site is my favourite and can best be described as a ‘swim through’ dive site consisting of large irregular boulders placed against one another that create a series of connected and disconnected tunnels. These tunnels provide a safe harbour for many fish including Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Moorish Idols etc., and swimming through large schools of these fish all around you can be an amazing experience!
Buoyancy is key to a successful swim through at Labas! This dive site therefore also provides a great opportunity to practise your buoyancy, which can be challenging at first if you’re a newbie diver. Away from the swim throughs, the dive site also has a dense coral garden and ‘wall’ diving opportunity. Here you are more likely to see larger fish including barracudas, black tip sharks, and titan trigger fish.
Without a doubt, Barracuda Point at Sipadan Island, situated off the eastern coast of Sabah, Malaysia, is my top pick for a dive site. What sets this oceanic island apart is that it is a prehistoric volcano encircled by deep waters and wall reefs. The marine life present here is absolutely awe-inspiring. It’s common to spot green turtles and hawksbill turtles, as well as herds of massive bumphead parrotfish, schools of thousands of jackfish, and enormous barracuda schools that can form a barracuda tornado or vortex around you if luck is on your side. With such an extensive range of sea creatures, every dive at Sipadan is an exceptional and memorable experience.
The dive site that stood out to me is Seafan Garden, Pulau Tioman. It is my favourite dive site for numerous reasons. The name of the dive site doesn’t lie, it truly is a garden filled with dozens of Gorgonian seafans that are as big as boulders!! Other than seafans, you can feast your eyes on other beautiful corals as you’re swimming along the reef. There is also plenty of marine life here such as scorpion fish, parrot fish, batfish, stingrays and more. Macro lovers can also find a variety of nudibranchs, feather star crabs and shrimps. Safety stops here are fantastic as you will hover over the coral reef. The dive site is truly fascinating – come flow with us and see it for yourselves!!
So far, my most memorable dive in Malaysia has been on South Point in Sipadan. Sipadan is a small island located off the east coast of Sabah. South Point is a deep wall dive known for spotting manta rays and hammerhead sharks. When I was there, as we swam out into the blue, we were lucky enough to spot a single hammerhead shark swimming in relatively shallow water (25m). Even if you’re not lucky enough to spot a hammerhead, there are always plenty of Turtles and amazing coral formations on all of Sipadan’s dive sites.
Picking one single dive site in Malaysia is really really tough for me! There are so many gems all over Malaysia! But if I really must pick, I would say Malang Rock, Pulau Tioman. It is definitely one of the most beautiful coral “gardens” in Malaysia. Teeming with a wide variety of coral (both hard and soft healthy corals), a 45 minutes dive around this dive site is pure bliss. You’ll get a chance of seeing schools of barracudas, green turtles, black tip sharks and even guitar sharks! Oh, did I mention the secret swim-throughs?