Malaysia might not have quite the same reputation as a diving destination as neighboring Thailand or Indonesia, but both Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo enjoy the same clear, warm tropical seas and plentiful, diverse sea life. Malaysia’s diving areas are dotted with shipwrecks, including some of the most storied wrecks of World War II. Whether one is a recreational sport diver or a deep, technical diver, Malaysia has plenty of shipwrecks to explore.
Most of the diving areas in Malaysia have at least one or two local shipwrecks, lying in waters suitable for recreational diving. The Perhentian Islands, off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, have the Sugar Wreck (a cargo ship) and the so-called Vietnamese Wreck (actually an American landing ship). Off the southwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia is Tioman Island and at least four recreational shipwrecks. Malaysian Borneo offers yet more wreck diving opportunities, including the challenging Katori Maru. A Japanese troop ship sunk by British air attack in the Second World War, the wreck is noted for its poor visibility and its rich, diverse sea life.
Wrecks in general are magnets for sea life, and the wrecks of Malaysia are no exception. Older wrecks often become a platform for coral growths, becoming artificial reefs and colorful coral gardens. Plenty of small tropical fish, both individuals and large schools, take up residence on the wrecks, including batfish and bulbous parrotfish. Big moray eels are routinely found hiding in the pipes and cracks of Malaysian shipwrecks, and bigger fish like jacks, snappers, grouper and barracuda are usually found prowling the area. Reef sharks and even larger visitors, such as manta rays, are also sometimes seen passing by.