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Dive clubs and groups can review our Scuba Clubs section to find the best liveaboard deals available for them.
Do you have your heart set on scuba diving in Malaysia from a liveaboard boat? There is no better way to sample all the underwater wonders that an area has to offer than with the convenience and flexibility of a live-aboard tour. With Dive The World, you can find the pick of Malaysian liveaboards.
In a country where resorts dominate there are not many liveaboard safaris, but we have picked them out for you and will stay on top of who is going where each season. So let us show you the way to liveaboard diving in Sipadan, Tioman and Layang Layang.
Simply decide your
Unlike some of its neighbours, Malaysia is not a destination where diving cruises rule the waves; resorts are very much the more common sight in this country. This is because the good diving in Malaysia is quite localised.
The Sipadan area, Layang Layang and surroundings, and the stretch of sea around the island of Tioman off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, are 3 very distinct regions. In each of these places resorts have been built on land close to the dive sites. However, some divers prefer the flexibility and increased range of a liveaboard charter, not to mention the pleasures of a life on the ocean waves.
Sipadan Island is the number 1 destination in Malaysia and the place that sees most scuba divers, both in resorts and on live-aboard. As the only year-round Malaysian liveaboard destination, you can visit the famed walls and reefs of Sipadan and enjoy the macro delights of neighbouring Mabul and Kapalai. Few destinations in the world can offer creatures as abundant and diverse as sharks, turtles, jacks, barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, blue-ringed octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, mandarinfish and frogfish.
You can join Sipadan liveaboard trips for 3, 4 and 7 nights, either starting from Semporna or from Sipadan itself via speedboat transfer from Semporna, depending on the location of the boat. The itinerary tends to focus more on Pulau Sipadan's dive sites which makes this the option of choice for divers who care only about maximising their time underwater at Sipadan Island. Provided you are aware that the experience is considerably less luxurious and comfortable than a nearby resort stay, you will appreciate the unique selling points of a Sipadan liveaboard experience.
Tioman Island, off Peninsular Malaysia's east coast, is the most popular spot from divers from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, or for those whose time restrictions prevent travel to anywhere more remote. Tioman is a fun island with quite a number of sites dotted around, although these liveaboard cruises will take you to a greater number and wider range of dive sites than are normally accessed on regular Tioman day trips.
Pulau Tioman tours, operating from April to October, can be a short as 2 nights or as long as 5 nights, and are competitively priced. They tend to start and end in Singapore, with Tioman Island being the focus of most trips while occasionally visiting other South China Sea spots.
Layang Layang is an island in the South China Sea that is the focal point of a liveaboard route ocassionally made by Malaysia liveaboards. Some years there will be a few liveaboards in the region, other years there will be none. This tiny island has a dive resort on it from which scuba divers focus on the surrounding reefs which are pristine and visited by a range of pelagic creatures such as hammerhead sharks, as well as having a strong local population of reef inhabitants.
Layang Layang liveaboards normally operate out of Labuan in Sabah on 6 night charters. They often take in a number of wrecks in the Labuan and Kota Kinabalu areas, as well as the reefs surrounding Layang Layang Island.
All Malaysian liveaboard trip prices normally include:
Diving, air-conditioned cabins, meals, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, dives, weights and weight-belts, tanks, professional divemaster and all taxes. Your shortlist quote will include no 'hidden extras'.
Please note that marine park and permit fees, and dive equipment rentals vary from destination to destination and the cost will be stated in the shortlist that we send you.
We advise all of our customers to take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quote.
Ports of departure:
Sipadan liveaboards depart from Semporna or you will join the boat at Sipadan by speedboat transfer from Semporna. Tawau airport transfers to and from Semporna are provided free of charge.
Tioman liveaboard safaris depart from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal in Singapore. You will be expected to make your own way to and from the departure point.
Layang Layang liveaboard charters usually begin and end in Labuan, although Kota Kinabalu is occasionally used as the departure port.
Dive The World rating system:
The customer rating displayed for each liveaboard tour indicates our customers' satisfaction. 5 star is excellent, 4 star is very good, 3 star is good, 2 star is average, and 1 star is below average. We ask each and every one of our customers to rate their adventure. The rating earned is an average of ratings received over the last season. This way, we ensure our recommendations and ratings are truly impartial and reflect up to date performance based on the most important indicator - your satisfaction!