Malaysia, with its diverse landscapes and pristine coastal waters, is a treasure trove of underwater wonders waiting to be explored.
Whether you’re a seasoned snorkeler or dipping your fins for the first time, this tropical paradise offers an array of breathtaking snorkeling spots that will leave you in awe.
Come along as we explore Malaysia’s top snorkeling spots.
Location: Redang Island, Pulau Redang, 21090 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Redang Island – what a breathtaking gem! While this vibrant tropical haven is renowned for its bustling beaches and lively nightlife, there’s a hidden aquatic treasure waiting to be explored.
Redang is not just a party paradise; it’s also a snorkeling utopia. Nestled among the nine protected islands that grace the South China Sea, Redang boasts an underwater world that’s both pristine and captivating.
The local authorities have taken great care to preserve this marine ecosystem, making it an ideal starting point for your snorkeling adventures.
One of the most thrilling aspects of snorkeling in Redang is the possibility of encountering the island’s enchanting residents.
On lucky days, you might cross paths with graceful sea turtles gliding through the crystal-clear waters. Or perhaps you’ll be graced by the presence of gentle stingrays gracefully dancing beneath the surface.
And if you’re here between April and August, keep your eyes peeled for the starlets of Shark Bay – the adorable baby blacktip sharks.
When you stay at any of the resorts on this tropical haven, you’ll find they offer snorkeling trips at a very reasonable price, usually around RM$30 per day, including snorkeling equipment rental.
These excursions are not to be missed, and here are some of the remarkable spots you can explore:
Tanjung Tengah – Shark Bay
One of the most thrilling snorkeling experiences you can have is at Tanjung Tengah, often referred to as Shark Bay.
Between the months of April and August, this spot becomes a nursery for baby black-tip sharks. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to witness these graceful creatures in their natural habitat.
While you’re here, the guides are always there to assist you, ensuring your safety and helping you make the most of your snorkeling adventure.
Tanjung Mak Cantik
As you explore further along the rocky outcrop on the right, you’ll come across Tanjung Mak Cantik. This area is a hidden gem for snorkelers. The marine life here is abundant and diverse, making it a fantastic spot for underwater photography.
However, it’s essential to be cautious and snorkel carefully to avoid causing any damage to the delicate coral reefs that thrive in this area.
Marine Park Centre
Marine Park Centre serves as the gateway to an expansive barrier reef teeming with marine wonders. Here, you’ll encounter vibrant coral formations and a dazzling array of fish species.
The crystal-clear waters make it easy to appreciate the underwater beauty, even if you’re a novice snorkeler. The guides here are knowledgeable and passionate about marine conservation, offering valuable insights into the ecosystem’s preservation.
If you’re staying at one of the resorts on the main island, getting snorkeling gear is pretty straightforward. You can rent it for around RM10 to RM20 per day.
Also, if you happen to be a guest at the Berjaya Redang Beach Resort, they offer some great deals.
They’ve got packages that start at around RM30 for adults, and that includes a 2.5-hour trip plus all the snorkeling gear you’ll need. So, you’ve got some options to suit your snorkeling plans!
Rocky Outcrop (For Experienced Divers)
If you’re an experienced diver, don’t miss the left side of the rocky outcrop at Tanjung Mak Cantik. This area offers more challenging depths and diverse marine life, making it a favorite among seasoned underwater enthusiasts.
- Wear reef-safe sunscreen! Many conventional sunscreens contain chemicals that can harm the coral reefs and marine life.
Opt for a reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin without negatively impacting the fragile underwater ecosystem.
Location: 131 Taman Langkawi, Mukim Kuah, 07000 Kuah, Kedah, Malaysia
Langkawi is an enchanting archipelago of 99 islands off Malaysia’s northwestern coast. And it isn’t just about lush jungle-clad hills, sun-kissed beaches, and irresistible duty-free chocolate.
Beneath its serene waters lies a world of wonder waiting to be explored, and its crystal-clear waters are a snorkeler’s dream come true.
As you submerge yourself into this aquatic realm, you’ll be greeted by a stunning underwater landscape adorned with exotic coral reefs.
The kaleidoscope of colors and shapes is simply mesmerizing, and you’ll find yourself swimming alongside an array of marine life.
You’ll encounter elusive moray eels gracefully gliding through the crevices of the corals. The playful antics of clownfish darting in and out of their anemone homes also provide endless entertainment!
And if you’re lucky, you might stumble upon the enchanting world of baby reef sharks. These pint-sized predators are a marvel to witness in their natural habitat.
When exploring the underwater wonders of Langkawi, be sure to add these must-visit snorkeling spots to your itinerary:
Pulau Payar Marine Park
Just a boat ride away from Langkawi, this marine park is a snorkeler’s paradise. Here, the waters teem with life, and the vibrant coral reefs are a sight to behold. The park’s protected status ensures the marine life is abundant and well-preserved.
Pulau Beras Basah
This island, though relatively close to Langkawi, is a hidden gem for snorkelers.
Its clear waters and thriving marine life make it a fantastic spot to explore. It’s often included in island-hopping adventures around Langkawi.
- No budget to rent your own equipment? Bring your own snorkeling mask and fins! Be sure to check that your equipment is in good condition before heading to the island.
Location: Kapalai, Pulau Sipadan 91000 Malaysia
Sipadan Island is a unique gem unlike any other, perched on a volcanic seamount rising from the depths of the sea. The waters surrounding it plunge to an astonishing depth of 500 meters, creating the perfect canvas for an underwater paradise.
It’s a place where nature’s artistry is on full display, with radiant corals adorning the submerged cliffs.
But one of the most exhilarating experiences you can do in Sipadan is wall diving. As you descend into the depths, you will be met with a mesmerizing world of marine life. The sensation of being suspended in this underwater realm is truly unparalleled.
For those new to this sport, the 3-6-meter area is a fantastic place to begin your adventure. Here, you can ease into the underwater world and get acquainted with the vibrant marine life that calls Sipadan home.
It’s in these shallower depths that you’ll have the delightful opportunity to swim alongside our turtle friends, graceful creatures that glide through the clear waters with an air of serenity.
Another must-visit spot is the Turtle Tomb, a place that never fails to leave a lasting impression. You’ll be awestruck as you encounter not only turtles but also the majestic bumphead parrotfish.
At Barracuda Point, a school of barracuda swirling in unison is a sight to behold. It’s as if you’ve entered a bustling metropolis of the sea, with these sleek predators dancing a mesmerizing ballet.
And then, there’s the Mid-Reef, where hard corals and reef fishes come together to create a vibrant tapestry of colors and life. It’s a reminder of the delicate balance that exists within this underwater ecosystem.
Getting to Sipadan is an adventure in itself. First, you’ll embark on a journey by plane, then continue by car, and finally, a boat ride to reach this remote paradise.
While the ride might be a bit bumpy, we can assure you it’s a journey worth every twist and turn.
- Book your snorkeling permits well in advance. The number of daily permits is limited to protect the island’s fragile ecosystem. Check out this website for more information.
Location: East Malaysian state of Sabah in Northern Borneo
Imagine a day of snorkeling bliss on the enchanting Mabul Island. To embark on this aquatic adventure, catch a boat from the bustling hub of Semporna, and let the sea breeze guide you to this hidden gem.
As you step onto Pulau Mabul’s shores, you will be greeted by a world of wonders waiting beneath the surface.
First, you’ll get to Eel Garde where vibrant corals come alive with a mesmerizing array of marine life. Barracudas dart gracefully among the coral formations, and the elusive eels gracefully weave their way through the underwater landscape.
Next is Ribbon Valley, where the waters were adorned with colorful reef fish. Swimming alongside these schools of fish is like being in an underwater carnival.
Stingray City is the next destination, a place where these majestic creatures glided gracefully along the ocean floor. You might even spot a playful octopus camouflaging itself among the coral, showcasing nature’s mastery of disguise.
Lobster Wall is another highlight, where the corals seemed to cascade like vibrant blossoms, providing shelter to an array of marine life.
Finally, there is Panglima, a site where you will encounter the whale shark. That is, if you’re lucky!
- Bring a good-quality underwater camera! Having a camera on hand allows you to capture the beauty of this underwater world and create lasting memories of your snorkeling adventures.
Location: Coral Island
Snorkeling in Tioman Island is a hit with tourists, and we can totally see why! Nestled within this lush, jungle-clad paradise, this enchanting place has become a top choice for adventurers seeking an unforgettable snorkeling escapade.
On this island, you’ll discover a treasure trove of highly-recommended snorkeling sites, each with its own unique charm.
One standout spot is the shallows of Renggis Island, where you’ll encounter a mesmerizing array of marine life. Playful puffer fish will be your companions, and vibrant yellowtail fusiliers will dart around you.
But the wonders don’t stop there. The other snorkeling sites on this island are equally captivating, with their own cast of marine characters. Curious moray eels may make an appearance, and graceful sea turtles might glide by.
And for those who have an eye for the tiny and colorful, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of sea slugs that will leave you in awe.
Don’t have any gear? No worries! You can rent some for less than RM$100 (USD$25) per person from the holiday resorts in the area.
- We recommend you wear a rash guard or wetsuit. It provides protection against the sun and any potential jellyfish stings. It also adds an extra layer of buoyancy, making it easier to stay afloat and conserve energy while snorkeling.
Location: Off the east coast of Johor under the Johor Marine Park
Relax and let all your stress disappear on Rawa Island, which they call the “Maldives of Johor” (and it’s owned by the Johor Sultan’s family).
Snorkeling here is like nothing you’ve experienced before. You get to explore the island’s amazing reefs that are carefully looked after.
These reefs are home to some big clams and lots of different corals that stick together. And let’s not forget the underwater world here. It’s like a rainbow!
You’ll see groups of colorful fish like rabbitfish and triggerfish. It’s a seaside paradise where you can leave all your worries behind and just enjoy the beauty of nature.
The water here is renowned for its sparkling cleanliness and crystal-clear clarity, providing high visibility that allows you to fully immerse yourself in this underwater paradise.
Most of the surrounding islands are uninhabited, creating a tranquil and almost otherworldly snorkeling experience.
- Carry some cash in Malaysian Ringgit (RM). While some places on the island may accept credit cards, having RM in hand can be more convenient, especially for small purchases or for tipping local guides and service staff.
Tun Sakaran Marine Park
Location: Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia
Situated on the pristine Pulau Sibuan, Tun Sakaran Marine Park offers a snorkeling experience that’s truly unforgettable. What sets this site apart is its serene waters and incredible underwater visibility.
As you slip into the water, it is like entering another world, one where every detail of marine life is crystal clear.
The highlight of your visit here is the chance to get up close and personal with the gentle sea turtles. Plus, the reef fish in this marine park are a spectacle in themselves.
With over 700 different species of sea life to be discovered, it’s safe to say that a visit here is nothing short of a marine wonderland.
If you want to fully experience the aquatic life here, consider checking out providers like Downbelow. They have various courses that prepare you for more challenging dives, like those at Kapalai, Sipadan, and other renowned sites.
- Respect the park’s rules and guidelines for preserving its fragile ecosystem. Follow the instructions provided by your tour guides and adhere to any restrictions on touching or collecting marine life.
Location: Besut District, Terengganu, Malaysia
Perhentian Island is a gem divided into two distinct personalities. The first is Pulau Perhentian Kecil, a haven for budget-conscious travelers. Second is Pulau Perhentian Besar, a sanctuary for romantic getaways and honeymooners.
Regardless of the type of trip you’re seeking, one thing’s for sure: an unforgettable snorkeling adventure awaits you here!
Palau Perhentian is renowned for its stunning coral reefs, a bustling hub of marine life.
As you swim beneath the waves, you will be greeted by a breathtaking diversity of fish species, each flaunting its own unique colors and patterns.
One of the island’s many charms lies in its pleasant water conditions, offering a safe and comfortable environment for snorkeling. The visibility here is nothing short of exceptional, allowing you to witness the underwater world in all its glory.
Some of the most popular diving sites worth exploring here include Tokong Laut, Romantic Bay, and Sugar Wreck. Each site boasts its own unique charm, with diverse marine ecosystems waiting to be discovered.
For those who prefer the surface experience, Perhentian Island has a lot to offer as well. Snorkeling near the jetty pier at Long Beach is a great option, allowing you to glimpse the underwater world without the need for extensive equipment.
Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a novice, the island caters to all skill levels.
If you’re looking to dive into the underwater world, we recommend considering the PADI Open Water Diver course offered by Anti-Gravity Divers Dive School.
If you’re eager to join organized snorkeling excursions, the Sea Sport Centre offers fantastic trips.
For a fee of RM$40 (USD$10) per adult and RM$20 (USD$5) per child, you can explore the underwater treasures guided by experts who know the area like the back of their hand.
So, whether you’re planning a budget-friendly adventure or a romantic escape, Perhentian Island promises a snorkeling journey that will stay with you long after you’ve left its shores.
- Take some time to chat with the local fishermen or boat operators!
They often have insider knowledge about the best snorkeling spots, the ideal times to visit them, and can even point out some hidden gems that may not be on the typical tourist radar.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Location: Sabah, Malaysia
Just a short boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu lies the enchanting Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Located in the western coast of Sabah, this marine park comprises five captivating islands, each with its own unique charm.
What truly sets this marine park apart is its wealth of snorkeling and diving sites, where the underwater world glows with life. The diversity of marine life here is nothing short of impressive with its thriving community of fish species.
But what will truly add an extra layer of excitement to underwater escapades is the possibility of encountering magnificent sharks, graceful turtles, and majestic rays.
- Bring your own reusable water bottle. While there are facilities on some of the islands to refill your bottle, having your own reduces plastic waste and helps protect the park’s pristine environment.
Location: Marang District, Terengganu, Malaysia
Kapas Island is a quieter and less-crowded destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. Accessible with just a 20 to 30-minute boat ride from the charming coastal town of Marang in Terengganu, it offers an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Renting snorkeling gear is a breeze and budget-friendly, with prices typically around RM$10 (USD$2.50) per day. Once equipped, you’re ready to delve into the mesmerizing underwater world that Kapas Island has to offer.
What truly makes Kapas Island special are its spectacular diving sites, where you can encounter a diverse array of fish species and graceful turtles.
Among the must-visit spots are Berakit Reef, where the underwater world comes alive with vibrant marine life, and the Japanese Landing Craft Wreck, a WWII Japanese shipwreck that adds a historical touch to your underwater adventure.
Another fantastic destination to explore is Gemia Island, where you’ll find a wealth of underwater treasures waiting to be discovered.
For those interested in diving, Aqua Sport Divers is the go-to hub in Kapas for booking underwater escapades. They offer snorkeling adventures and also provide opportunities to acquire a diving license, allowing you to explore Kapas Island’s depths to the fullest!
- Be mindful of nesting turtles if you visit during their nesting season, and maintain a respectful distance to avoid disturbing them!