Langkawi is the perfect introduction to Malaysia’s white sandy beaches and tropical island vibe. An archipelago of nearly 100 islands, there are reefs teeming with tropical fish, wrecks and deep dives hidden under the water. Scuba diving in Langkawi is the best way to experience the secret sights of the seabed.

If this is your first time diving, there are loads of PADI certified dive schools to choose from in Langkawi. Advanced and Open Water divers can spend days with a professional divemaster, exploring marine parks and shallow reefs.

Where To Dive In Langkawi

The waters around Langkawi are filled with sea life. Choose to dive at a protected marine park, close to the main beach, or at a secluded spot without the crowds.

 

1. Pulau Payar Marine Park: Best For Beginners

Clownfish, barracuda and reef sharks can be found drifting on the mild currents at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. Located just 30 kilometres off the south coast of Langkawi, most dive operators run day trips out to this marine park from Kuah Town jetty. Those not visiting the park with a dive operator need to get permission from the Langkawi authorities before venturing into the water.

For first-timers, there are Discovery Scuba day-lessons that explore Coral Garden and House Reef where colourful coral is home to a variety of marine life. Those already certified can come face to face with giant groupers at the unique Grouper Garden. Sunken fishing boat wrecks attract diverse sea life, and they are in shallow water so you don’t need deep diving experience to sample the delights of a wreck dive.

This is box title
Best Time To Dive: November to March is dry season and best for visibility. Avoid June to September during monsoon season in Langkawi.
Ideal For: Beginners doing the Open Water course or trying Discover Scuba.
How To Get There: Most day trips to the marine park leave from Kuah Town jetty.
Training Schools: Langkawi Scuba, Langkawi Coral, Big Brother Dive Center

2. Whitecoral Corner: Best For Easy Access

Located just off the coast of Pantai Cenang, Langkawi’s main beach, diving Whitecoral Corner will reward you with sightings of pipefish, nudibraches of every colour, and even the occasional seahorse.

For those with limited time on the island, this is the easiest dive site to reach, found just 10-20 minutes from Cenang. Although this site is not as popular as the marine park of Pulau Payar, you can still find an impressive variety of large fish like bamboo sharks and pufferfish. Soft coral and neon anemones house curious clownfish, so you can live out your Finding Nemo fantasy without having to dedicate an entire day to the dive.

This is box title
Best Time To Dive: November to March, during dry season.
Ideal For: Short visits to Langkawi
How To Get There: Boats leave from Cenang Beach
Training Schools: Langkawi Scuba, East Marine Holidays

3. Segantang Island: Best For Avoiding The Crowds

Thirteen kilometres west of the main dive sites of Pulau Payar Marine Park is Segantang Island. This one is for experienced divers looking for something a little different.

A dramatic 30m drop-off reveals an anemone garden. There’s a plethora of sea life here, including snappers, leopard sharks and huge schools of barracuda. The distance from Langkawi means this is a quiet diving spot, with just a handful of operators running out this far, but once you get there it’s worth it. This site has some of the best visibility near Langkawi with views up to 30 metres not uncommon.

This is box title
Best Time To Dive: Slightly more exposed than other dive sites, it’s best to dive from November to March during calm weather.
Ideal For: Experienced divers looking to escape the crowds
How To Get There: Boats leave from Kuah Town jetty
Training Schools: East Marine Holidays

Types Of Diving In Langkawi

Langkawi has different levels of diving available for all levels, budgets and schedules. Choose between single-day taster sessions, multi-dive packages, or a full PADI certification course.

1. Discover Scuba Diving

For the complete beginner, Discover Scuba is the perfect choice. Also, for those who have limited time on Langkawi, this is the ideal way to experience scuba diving without having to dedicate three full days to becoming certified.

Discover Scuba teaches you the basics of scuba diving in a single session. A PADI-certified instructor will cover safety and equipment. You’ll practice briefly in shallow water before heading out to the dive site. At the site, the instructor will guide you through the coral, so you have the chance to see the beautiful underwater scenes. Most Discover Scuba sessions in Langkawi take place at the stunning Pulau Payar Marine Park.

This is box title
Duration: 5 hours
Depth Of Diving: Maximum depth is 12 metres
Eligibility: You must be over 10 years old and in good health. A medical questionnaire will need to be completed to ensure you are fit to dive. You must also have had some experience of swimming or snorkelling.
Cost: 2 dives for RM390, or US$ 94, 1 dive for RM290, or US$ 70

2. Three-Day PADI Open Water Certification

If you have the time and want to pursue scuba diving in other destinations across the world, Langkawi is an excellent opportunity to get your PADI certification.

You’ll get theory and practical lessons with a PADI qualified instructor teaching you everything you need to know about buoyancy and control. Courses include an introductory session in a swimming pool or shallow sea to get you used to the equipment in a safe environment. There are also dives at introductory sites included, so you can explore the underwater world of Pulau Payar or Whitecoral Corner while you learn. At the end of the course, you’ll be certified to dive up to 18 metres anywhere in the world.

This is box title
Duration: 3 days
Depth Of Diving: Maximum depth is 18 metres
Eligibility: You must be at least 10 years old to complete this program. Under 18s must have permission from a parent or guardian. You should also be able to swim 200 metres without stopping.
Cost: From RM1,390, or US$ 336

3. Day Dives for Certified Divers

For PADI certified divers, operators across Langkawi offer programs of multiple day dives. Most head out to Payar Pulau Marine Park, where you can follow a divemaster through the underwater flora and fauna up to 20 metres. A select few will take you to Segantang Island, where sheer cliffs provide a more diverse diving experience.

This is box title
Duration: 4-7 hours
Depth Of Diving: Maximum depth depends on level of certification, but most dive sites around Langkawi are no deeper than 25 metres.
Eligibility: Must already have a PADI Open Water certificate.
Cost: 2 dives from RM270, or US$ 65, 3 dives from RM370, or US$ 90

Things To Keep In Mind When Diving In Langkawi

  • Whether you are looking for a PADI Open Water course, or just a day dive, make sure you use certified training schools and dive operators.
  • You cannot fly up to 18 hours after your last dive, so bear this in mind when booking any onward flights from Langkawi.
  • Make your instructor or dive master aware of any medical conditions or medication you take.
  • Avoid monsoon season between June and September when most dive operators shut for the season.
  • Always dive with a buddy and make sure your equipment is functioning properly before each dive. Go through your buddy-check thoroughly. Ensure that you know how to use all your equipment, and when in doubt ask your instructor or divemaster.
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers scuba diving.
  • Dive within your limits and never put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
  • Remember that snorkelling is also an option if the thought of scuba diving makes you anxious. The coral and marine life of Langkawi can be found at very shallow depths, so snorkelling is another way to experience the underwater world.