9 Of Our Favourite Malaysian Islands To Go Snorkelling

These sand-tuaries will connect you to Malaysia’s diverse array of coral reefs and fish species


BY denise lim

9 Of Our Favourite Malaysian Islands To Go Snorkelling

If you haven’t ever snorkelled in Malaysia, you really should. With ample sunlight and clear waters, the coral reefs in Malaysia are second to none.

We understand that some of you might not be confident swimmers. But no worries, lads! You don’t have to a great swimmer to snorkel, but you still have to be comfortable in the sea. For rookie snorkellers, beach snorkelling is your best bet to spot coral and fishes just beneath the surface. However, if you’re really up for some aquatic action, take a boat to the deep waters and explore away!

Remember: don’t plan a snorkelling trip during the monsoon season, which falls between November and March. Otherwise, pick up your snorkelling gear and get ready to uncover the marine world, as we bring you our nine favourite Malaysian snorkelling gems.

In West Malaysia

1. Pulau Perhentian

This popular island is made up of two islands: Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar. The water is crystal clear and inhabited by a variety of coral reefs and fishes, making the spot a magnet for ocean lovers. You can also beach-hop and explore popular snorkelling spots such as Teluk Pauh, Shark Point, Turtle Bay and Tanjung Basi.


dit eiland komt echt rechtstreeks uit een reisbrochure 😍🏝 #perhentian

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Cost: From RM40

Getting there:

1. Take a direct bus from Hentian Putra bus station in Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut. Then catch a boat to the island.

2. Fly to Kota Bharu, and then take a taxi to Kuala Besut to catch a boat to the island.

More info here


2. Pulau Redang

Redang lies within protected marine waters, which is also known as Terengganu Marine Park. That means there’s minimal marine destruction, thus ensuring healthy corals and a large range of fish species. Popular snorkelling sites with aqua blue water and abundant coral reefs include Pasir Panjang, Tanjung Mak Cantik, Pasir Chagar Hutang and Pulau Kapas. Those who lodge in resorts are also able to snorkel at the shore. Note that fins are not allowed in Redang to prevent destruction of the coral reefs.


clear waters.... clear mind.

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Cost: From RM90

Getting there:

1. Direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to the island by Berjaya Air.

2. Depending on the city you’re coming from, coaches are available to Kuala Terengganu. Ferry transfers are usually included in the resort's package price

3. Note: there are two jetties in Kuala Terengganu. The public ferry leaves from Shahbandar jetty, while some resorts have their own ferries from Merang.

More info here

3. Pulau Tioman

Are you a fan of sea sponges, sea fans and shipwrecks? If yes, Tioman is the place for you. The island offers wildlife and aquatic activities, as it is rich in flora and fauna, as well as marine life. Most of the snorkelling centres are sheltered from open water, so it’s safe and advantageous to newbie snorkellers. For snorkelling sites, the best are Renggis Island, Marine Park, Salang Beach, Coral Island and Malang Rocks.

Cost: From RM75

Getting there:

1. Drive, or take a bus to Mersing to catch a ferry.

More info here.

In East Malaysia

4. Pulau Sipadan

One of the best known islands in the world, Sipadan is a hotspot for scuba diving – but it’s also a great spot for snorkelling. Because of its great water clarity, you can pretty much experience the marine kingdom even from the surface. Fun fact: Sipadan is the only oceanic island of Malaysia! Its reef is built on a volcanic seamount, which rises steeply from a surrounding seabed more than 500 metres in depth. Try to save Sipadan as your final snorkel spot, because the immense beauty of it will have you disappointed with the others.

Cost: From RM110

Getting there:

1. Fly to Tawau. Take a land transfer to Semporna to catch a boat.

2. To visit Sipadan, you need an entry permit from Sabah Parks. Only 120 people are permitted daily in Sipadan to prevent harmful impact to itds environment. Apply three months in advance, as traffic is usually high.

More info here.

5. Pulau Mabul

Closely located to Sipadan, Mabul features a marine ecosystem that houses very rare and tiny fish species. The stretch from its jetty known as Scuba Junkie’s has the most amazing underwater sights you’ll ever see. So take a leap off that jetty, and you might just see the most beautiful aquatic kingdom in your life.


好让人怜惜的巴瑶族😔 #要做个容易满足的小孩

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Cost: From RM20

Getting there: Take a boat from Semporna jetty.

6. Kapalai

Beach snorkelling in Kapalai isn’t an option, because the island doesn’t have a beach. However, the highlight of Kapalai is its floating paradise, known as the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, which is built over the ocean. If you’re staying at the luxurious resort, you can literally jump into the ocean from your room. Common fish species found in the Kapalai waters are clownfish, stingrays and humpheads.


Marque seu amor 💕

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Cost: From RM20

Getting there: Take a boat from Semporna jetty.

More info here

7. Pulau Tiga

The island might sound familiar, because the first Survivor TV series was filmed in Pulau Tiga. Located just 10km off the shore on the West Coast of Sabah, a day trip to the island might be sufficient. Although snorkelling is a common activity in the island, the most popuar activity is the volcano mud spa. What's not to like about Tiga? You can feast your eyes with the views of the fishes, and then feed your skin with volcanic compounds later.

Cost: From RM280

Getting there:

1.Get to Kuala Penyu by bus or car, and take a boat to Pulau Tiga.

More info here 

8. Mantanani Islands

These islands are a group of three isolated islands located northwest of Kota Belud. Snorkelling at Mantanani is perfect for leisure snorkellers who want to relax by the beach and snorkel at the same time. The island promises a diverse array of marine life, and great visibility too.

Cost: From RM220

Getting there: Take a boat from Kuala Abai Jetty at Kota Belud to Mantanani.

More info here.

9. Satang Islands

Located in Kuching, Satang Islands are composed of Satang Besar and Satang Kecil. An island is also set aside for turtle conservation. Snorkelling activities are concentrated at Satang Besar where two coral reef fringes are located. Most day trips include a visit to the turtle conservation island, as well as jungle trekking or snorkelling. Pufferfish, parrotfish and lobster are among the many marine species spotted in the Satang waters. One thing to note: commercial facilities such as lodging, shopping and entertainment are not available in Satang.



A post shared by Shireen _518🍃 (@im_shireen) on

Cost: From RM350

Getting there:

1. If you’re travelling from Kuching, take land transportation to Telaga Air Jetty to catch a charter boat to the island.

2. Travel by land towards Santubong and charter a commercial boat to the island.

More info here


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