Due to the massive growth of low-cost carriers such as AirAsia and Tiger Airways, Malaysia has turned into one of Asia’s most popular travel destinations and a hub for transfers between major continental airlines. While the country’s remote resorts and exotic cities continue to attract those prepared to shop, relax, and treat themselves, it’s the country’s scenery that really sets it apart.
Most visitors to Malaysia turn towards the country’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur, in search of warm relaxation and worthwhile shopping. While the capital is unlikely to disappoint, it’s certainly not the country’s only major attraction or stopping point. Renowned amongst divers, Malaysia’s peninsula beaches and remote bays are considered some of the world’s best SCUBA diving locations.
Just hours from Kuala Lumpur is Tioman Island, one of the country’s most accessible and popular diving areas. The island itself is an eight-kilometre boat ride from the mainland, making its shores and lagoons almost completely uninhabited by other divers during the country’s low season. While advanced divers are unlikely to be thrilled by its wrecks, novices will appreciate its simplicity.
For those planning an extended stay within the country, the Rendand Island archipelago offers some of the most varied and interesting species of coral within Southeast Asia. Formerly a major point of combat between Malaysia’s national forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, the archipelago is also home to several low-depth wrecks and historic dive sites, each located close to the island’s shore.
The cost of diving at Malaysia’s peninsula islands is continually increasing, although the country is significantly less expensive than similar destinations throughout Europe. Beginner divers will need to budget approximately £250 for basic diving instruction and training, while a budget of at around £100 daily is recommended for more advanced diving locations and wreck exploration.