In Perhentian, diving is a must and one of the most amazing experiences in Malaysia. Here, we took our very first steps as scuba divers, one of the things we always wanted to learn during our time in Southeast Asia. If you have similar plans, then the Perhentians might be the best place in the world.
If you want to explore the beautiful waters of Malaysia, Perhentian diving needs to be on your list. In addition, the Perhentian Islands are very beautiful without too many tourists and we consider it as one of a the special tropical paradises in Southeast Asia.
And if you are into scuba diving Perhentian is one of the best diving destinations in all of Malaysia.
Well, who wouldn’t like to jump into that water?
When you get to visit Perhentian, diving should be on your to-do list.
First of all, it has perfect conditions for beginners. From warm, calm and shallow waters to diverse marine life and beautiful dive sites.
The marine life in Perhentian islands is rich and the reefs are in relatively good condition. Usually small boats (thus the mode of entry: backroll) will take you to the dive sites and you will need to carry your gear across the beach to and from the boat.
Tip: Make sure to have a travel insurance that covers scuba diving. Not all of them include insurance for scuba diving activities as scuba diving is considered to be adventure sports. Therefore, make sure to check if your insurance of choice covers it or check out World Nomads.
WHAT YOU WILL SEE WHILE DIVING IN THE PERHENTIANS
The highlights regarding marine life are blacktip reef sharks, turtles, Bumphead Parrotfish, Barracudas and whale sharks. You will also encounter Titan Triggerfish.
Perhentian Islands offers some of the country’s best and most affordable diving courses in Southeast Asia. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, advanced or a master, there are plenty of possibilities for every type of a diver on Perhentian Islands.
GET YOUR OPEN WATER DIVE CERTIFICATE
WHAT IS AN OPEN WATER DIVE CERTIFICATE (WITH PADI)?
The Open Water Dive certificate is your key to discover marine life everywhere in the world. It is an entry-level diver certification for recreational scuba diving and allows you to go up to 18 meters. If you want to dive, you need to learn all the skills in order for you not to die under water, from theoretical to all practical skills.
HOW MUCH OPEN WATER CERTIFICATE WILL COST YOU?
The best part of diving on Perhentian Islands apart from amazing marine life, is the price. Generally speaking, diving in the Perhentians is affordable. An Oper Water Dive certification (4 days) should cost you not more than RM1000 which is less than US$250.
DISCOVER SCUBA DIVE
Diving is not a natural thing for human beings. We were not born to live under water and that’s why, you need to get used to breath underwater.
Thats why we recommend a one-day Discover Scuba Dive to get an idea of diving. So before you decide to do an open water certificate, make sure that scuba diving is for you. Take a so called “discovery dive“.
WHAT IS A DISCOVER SCUBA DIVE?
Discover dives are shallow dives (not deeper than 12 meters) with an experienced and patient (and hopefully emotionally intelligent) instructor that is all about the basics. Thus, shorter (not more than a day) and cheaper (on the Perhentians around US$ 70) than a full certification.
BEST DIVE SITES ON THE PERHENTIANS
All of the following dive sites are available for open water certificate holders.
One of the more popular dive sites on the Perhentians which can get crowded at times. Marine life is rich and visibility is good. The corals are intact and beautiful. If you are lucky you might catch a whale shark (we haven’t). But we heard stories…If you like nemos and turtles then this is a good spot to dive with them.
TERUMBU TIGA (T3)
This dive-site is located off the southeastern coast of Perhentian Besar and has great visibility (since it’s not facing mainland Malaysia). Fish wise there is a lot going on. There is a high chance that you will see blacktip reef sharks on your dive.
A 90 meter long sugar hauler sank during a monsoon in 2000 and is now a popular dive site as it has been quickly overtaken by corals and marine life. It’s home to all types of reef fish, Barracudas, Bamboo Sharks and Groupers that hide in the wreck. Visibility can be poor.
Snorkelling is definitely not a bad choice in Perhentian Islands. It’s a great way to see underwater life. There are a few snorkelling trips you can go for. If you don’t want to pay for a trip, you don’t even need to go that far. Close to our hotel we saw baby sharks!
PERHENTIAN DIVING SCHOOLS
TURTLE BAY DIVERS
We both started our PADI Open Water course at Turtle Bay Divers. This dive school offer around eight scuba diving courses from one-day classes to six-week Dive-masters. Turtle Bay has schools on both Besar and Kecil Islands, with daily trips to nearby dive sites and shipwrecks. We were picked up each day at Besar and “shipped” to Kecil.
Location: Pulau Perhentian Kecil Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia
OUR EXPERIENCE: Although the dive school has professional equipment and several dive instructors, our experience wasn’t that great. Our instructor wasn’t patient enough and Gigi didn’t finish the course as she didn’t feel enough support and help from the instructor. She made her feel stressed and didn’t give her enough time to get used to diving.
OUR ADVICE ON DIVE INSTRUCTORS:
The instructor will be the person that is the crucial element in your first moments under water. If the instructor sucks, you might never return to scuba diving. Which means, you will miss out on one of the most magical things you can experience on this (blue) planet.
Therefore, make sure to research several scuba schools. Read reviews (on blogs (duh), Google Maps, travel guides etc and contact schools beforehand to make sure they have the capacity to put you in course for the dates you intend to visit.
Also, make sure to take at least the 4-day course. A 3-day will be super stressful and might ruin the whole fun aspect of diving.
The good news is that Gigi didn’t give up and got her Open Water at a later time thanks to 2 instructors. The first one helped her get over her fear to even be under water (during a “discover dive”) and the second one made sure, she got the Open Water, despite food poisoning, shaky boat rides and cold water.
FLORA BAY DIVERS
Flora Bay Divers is considered to be one of the best diving schools in the Perhentians for first-timers. All classes have no more than four students, you can choose also a private clas and they have access to over 40 dive sites.
Location: Pulau Perhentian Besar Terengganu, 22300, Malaysia
SEA VOICE DIVERS
Located at Coral Bay’s Jetty, Sea Voice Divers also provides all professional diving courses. This school is one of the cheapest of all dive schools in the Perhentians.
Location: Terengganu, 22300, Malaysia
Universal Diver apart from all the courses like the PADI Open Water, the Dive-master and PADI Rescue Courses it excels in underwater photography and videography. Here you can take your video editing from your dives to the next level.
courses from beginner PADI Open Water to Dive-master and PADI Rescue Courses excels in underwater photography and videography. Here you can take your video editing from your dives to the next level.
Location: Pulau Perhentian Besar Besut, Terengganu, 22300, Malaysia
If you like to have an all-inclusive experience, go for Angel Diver. Another great dive school that provides accommodation and meals on the Perhentian Islands. You can choose a variety of PADI courses from beginner to advanced.
Location: Pulau Perhentian Kecil Terengganu, Malaysia
I hope you will enjoy your time on this island. If you are looking for great spots to dive, Perhentian diving won’t disappoint you for sure. We will be definitely back one day.
RESORT SCUBA SCHOOLS
Many resorts have a dive centre and offer courses. Check them out as well. There might be offers that include accommodation and food. One example is the Ombak Resort. Check it out HERE.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ:
If you are into diving and travelling to Philippines, make sure to check our our post on MALAPASCUA DIVING: The best dive spots and where to spot thresher sharks.
SHARE IT WITH THE DIVING WORLD