Located 32 km off the east coast of Malaysia, Tioman Island has long been known as a great dive destination. Being a tropical paradise helps, as do the crystal clear waters, but it is the abundant marine life that is the real draw. But what are the best Tioman dive sites to include in Malaysia scuba diving holidays?
We asked local diving expert, Martin Ritter of B&J Diving Centre in Tioman, what were the 5 best Tioman dive sites that no self respecting diver should miss. Remember this is his opinion, as with any ‘top 5’ your opinion may differ, so feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments.
In no particular order, the best Tioman dive sites to explore on Malaysia scuba diving holidays are:
Mentioned in every guidebook, Tiger really is the highlight and certainly one of the 5 best Tioman dive sites. This submerged pinnacle is nourished with gentle open ocean currents and home to a carpet of soft corals, hard corals, barrel sponges and gorgonian sea fans.
This is one of the best sites to catch free swimming white eyed moray eels, hunting trevally and rainbow runners, the occasional guitar shark or a whale shark. Take a look under the overhanging rocks for white tip reef sharks and nurse sharks chilling out.
For macro fanatics, you can’t go more than a few meters without spotting a different species of nudibranch or some cool critter.
Known only to the most established dive centers on the island, such as B&J Diving Centre, Magicians location is top secret. This incredible hidden reef is the closest you’ll get to the untouched Tioman of yesteryear.
Huge pristine corals densely cover this vast site, and because it is dived only by those lucky few, there are regular sightings of black tip reef sharks and eagle rays along with the swarms of local reef fish that make this secret site their home.
To the north of Coral Island lies this fantastic dive site. Suitable for all levels of diver, the underwater topography and stunning granite rock formations will leave you speechless.
Search the reef for macro life and gaze into the blue for schooling barracuda, bat fish, hunting trevallies and if you’re really lucky, pods of dolphins racing by. Especially beautiful is a boulder formation at some 19m depth which forms a swim-through filled with juvenile barracudas.
Often described as the Swiss Cheese of Tioman. This dive site is not to be missed for those who want to adventure into a maze of swim-throughs that interlace this rocky island.
During your dive you’ll encounter all sorts of marine life. Keep an eye out for turtles, bump head parrot fish and larger sharks in the deeper parts of the site.
This former Royal Navy warship was sunk to create an artificial reef in 2012. The 31m long vessel lies in 30m of water alongside two old Thai fishing boats called the Sawadee wrecks.
These three ships attract an abundance of schooling snapper, yellow tail barracuda and fusiliers. They are also home to families of lionfish and you’ll spot huge stone fish taking shelter in the wrecks.
The more adventurous diver can penetrate Sipadan and explore inside this exciting wreck, making it one of the 5 best Tioman dive sites to explore on Malaysia scuba diving holidays.
So now you know what Tioman scuba diving offers you’ll be wanting to plan a holiday. The good news is Tioman Island caters for all budgets and styles, from five star to backpacker. It’s also easy to reach by bus and ferry from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore via Mersing, or you can fly to Tioman.
Visibility normally reaches over 20 meters from March to May and September to October, so this is the best time to visit. However, diving is still possible (and VERY good) most of the rest of the year, the only time to avoid are the monsoon months of November to January when many dive centres are closed.
If this article about the 5 best Tioman dive sites has you planning Malaysia scuba diving holidays then check out B&J Diving Centre for more information: www.divetioman.com. Also, B&J have kindly provided a 10% Tioman diving discount for AWE365 members.