Ask any diver about the dive sites of Tioman and they’ll tell you stories about amazing granite rock formations, healthy soft and hard corals and a myriad of marine life.
Tioman is indeed blessed with some world class dive sites. There’s really only one way to get a real impression of them – come and dive them yourself!
Click on a dive flag to find out more about this specific dive site
ABC House Reef
ABC has an easily accessible and shallow house reef with a depth range of 5 to 12 meters. A perfect location to update your skills after a long period of inactivity, for a relaxed afternoon dive and to spot some rare gobies. At night we sometimes find seahorses in the hard corals, and cuttlefish as well as turtles are common sights.
Another attraction at ABC is what we call the Ghost City. This is a vast artificial reef right in front of our doorstep.
Batu Jahat lies in the far south of Tioman Island. It’s a small little rock (Batu means rock) sticking out of the ocean and being home to a myriad of small critters like nudibranchs and also healthy corals and pelagics.
Batu Malang (Coral Island)
A small rock collection located in front of the white sandy beach of Coral Island is known to the locals as Batu Malang – The Unfortunate Rock. The saga says that the top-rock has never touched seawater before and is therefore considered unfortunate.
Batu Malang is one of the favorite dive and snorkel sites on Tioman Island and a perfect dive site for the second dive of the day due to is maximum depth of around 16 meters and an average dive depth of less than 10 meters. Batu Malang is blessed with an abundance of hard coral such as staghorn, table tops, potato, flower corals and coral bommies. Since it’s so shallow, you have brilliant light and therefore amazing colors. Many of the sponge eating hawksbill turtle are seen here; the reef cuttlefish (sepia) make use of the potato coral reef to secure their eggs and clown anemone fish (Nemos) are found literally everywhere. On changing tides one can drift at the deeper part over whip coral covered bottom, where moderate currents bring in barracudas and lonely cobias.
Batu Malang is also our choice for discover scuba students because of its shallow reefs and the guarantee to see a large variety of marine life such as; turtles, cuttlefish, lion fish, moray eels, black tip reef sharks, parrots, wrasses, blue dotted stingrays, scorpion fish and butterfly fishes just to name a few.
Batu Sepoi is another dive site that’s rarely visited as it lies in the far south. The trip however is worth it since you can expect to see a vast variety of marine life including pelagics such as barracuda, sharks and travellies.
This rocky granite island has dense tree growth above water and a beautiful coral growth beneath. As you descend you will be greeted by many yellowtail fusiliers and batfish, which might accompany you for the entire dive. This steep sloping reef formation is formed by massive granite rock boulders which are densely covered in fan corals (gorgonians) and black corals. The deeper part (18 to 30 meters) is full of brilliant soft corals, while the shallow part (14 to 5 meters) is full of very healthy hard corals.
There are several swim troughs, and a cavern at 21 meters is home for thousands of tiny glassfish and juvenile barracudas.
Chebeh is well known for its pelagics such as the large schools of barracudas, rainbow runners, black tip reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, jacks and trevallies. This site is amazing if the current is pushing. Chebeh’s resident marine life is too diverse to list everything here but you’ll definitely see angel fish, puffer fish, butterfly fish, giant wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, stingrays, moray eels, lion fish and vast variety of nudibranchs.
The South of the island has similar reef and marine life like Chebeh Island North, but with fewer rock boulders and it’s a shallower dive. At the beginning of the dive you swim over a sloping hard coral reef before you come to a small wall with lots of resident nudibranchs. After this you reach some small rock boulders which are beautifully covered in soft corals, and some rather narrow swim throughs. Towards the last 10 minutes of the dive you reach a large staghorn coral field with good chances to spot hawksbill turtles, moray eels and cuttlefish.
Fan Canyon (Coral Island)
This dive site stretches out of Genting Bay on the famous Coral Island and slops down to a maximum depth of around 30 meters. Our usual dive plan is to swim along the lower reef edge to about 22m where you will find beautiful granite rock boulders covered so densely in different soft corals that you can’t even see the rock anymore. In between some of those rocks lies Fan Canyon, which got its name from the dozens of gorgonian sea fan corals which cover the walls of the rocks. We do not allow divers to swim inside the canyon to protect these fragile corals.
At the deeper part of the dive site we find on almost every dive large scorpion fish and dozens of nudibranchs.
At 16m there is a nice (but narrow) tunnel worth swimming through because of its thousands of tiny anchovies. From here we swim back into the Genting Bay to do our three minute safety stop at 5m over the beautiful hard coral reef.
Fan canyon has some of the greatest variety of nudibranchs and flat worms among all dive sites and we still find new ones on almost every dive, so keep your eyes open and your macro lens on the camera.
The resident marine life you can find here are angel, puffer, bat fishes, emperors, titan trigger, parrots, butterfly, nurse sharks, scorpions, stingrays, yellow striped snappers, moray eels and zebra lion fish.
Golden Reef is situated next to Tiger Reef and a bit closer to Sepoi. It’s a submerged reef with many rock boulders, covered in amazing healthy fans, hard and soft corals. The reef and marine life are comparable to that of Tiger Reef and simply amazing: Angel fish, puffer fish, bat fish, emperors, titan trigger fish, parrot fish, butterfly fish, napoleon wrasse, nurse sharks, black tip reef sharks, stingrays, moray eels and lion fish.
Kador Bay (Coral Island)
As we look out of the Blue Lagoon (also called Mangrove Bay) of Coral Island, we find Kador Bay on the right side of the lagoon. This spot is fantastic for our second dive and lets us glide along the rocks which are sloping down to about 19m. The general dive plan is to dive down to the end of the plateau were we can find big green moray eels and stone fish hiding in the small overhanging ledges. As we drift down along the 20m line we can encounter barracudas and turtles quite frequently. After about 20min we’ll have to start going back to the swallow reefs to finish off our dive around coral covered rock boulders. Many times we get surprised by the size of the coral lobster which we see here or by the occasional napoleon wrasse swimming by.
Kador Bay can also be an amazing drift dive, if the current is right. Then we literally fly out of the bay and around the corner of Coral Island – an amazing experience.
KM Sipadan & Sawadee Wrecks
KM Sipadan is a former Royal Navy warship that was put in service in 1964 under the name KD Sri Sarawak. It was renamed later to KM Sipadan and was decommissioned from Navy services in 2005. The Marine Maritime Enforcement Agency decided to make it an artificial reef and sunk it at the Sawadee dive site on 29th March 2012.
KM Sipadan is some 31meters long and 4.5meters wide and has been stripped of all weapons and it’s engine before it was sunk. It makes a perfect wreck diving site, especially if your are Nitrox certified since it allows for longer bottom times. Divers with Wreck Specialty and/or technical divers can even penetrate the ship!
It is connected by ropes to two other wrecks which we call Sawadee. These two former Thai fishing boats lie in a maximum depth of 30 meters, with a minimum depth of about 20 meters. The coral growth on the wrecks is not exceptionally good, but its fish life can be very attractive. Depending on the season the wrecks are a nursing place for several different species of juvenile fish like yellowtail barracudas and fusiliers. Next to other reef fish and nudibranchs you might be lucky and spot a stonefish, a Lionfish, a crocodile fish or even a small frogfish.
Labas resembles a piece of Swiss cheese due to its abundance of caverns/swim-throughs.
If we head north towards the tail of the island then we come to all the swim-throughs which are only between 6m and 12m deep. At the end of the island we come to a sloping rock formation that brings us down over soft corals, sea fans and barrel sponges to around 21m. From here we head to the other side of the island and then back again through a fairly narrow opening in the rocks. Trust us you’ll love it!
Another option is to start the dive by heading south towards the so called head of the island. This is an easy dve with an average depth of less than 15m and a place where we often spot blacktip reefsharks and turtles.
Exploring the labyrinth of swim through or gliding along the dense coral garden, no matter which one you choose, it’s sure to leave a lasting memory.
The resident marine life you can find here are angel fish, puffer fish, barracudas, titan trigger, rainbow runners, butterfly fish, napoleon wrasse, nurse sharks, black tip sharks, stingrays, moray eels, lion fish and a good variety of nudibranchs.
Lobster Bay lies on the eastern side of Tioman, fairly close to Juara Village. It was named after the lobsters one could find hiding under the rocks. The granite boulders form small almost vertical walls here which are a favorite spot for a large variety of nudibranchs. It’s also a site where we regularly spot huge mackerels including trevallies and spanish mackerels.
Requested by every experienced diver and rarely dived is Magician Rock. It lies in the middle of the ocean, which not only results in strong currents but also to an abundance of marine life. Issue here is that the site is quite hard to find, even with GPS, and if we find it then we cannot guarantee that a dive is possible due to the strong currents.
We’ve been diving Magician Rock since the late 80s and have not yet found the boundaries of this reef plateau. The huge top plateau is formed primarily of a vast variety of hard coral species mixed with gorgonian sea fans, whereas the deeper section is largely covered in soft corals.
It is indeed a magic dive as on some days we’re surrounded throughout the dive by batfish, rainbow runners, angel fish and many more, whereas on other times you think that a magician cast a spell on the reef and let all the fish vanish.
Right in front of the Tioman Marine Park lie more than 10 small shipwrecks. All of them were fishing boats which were confiscated for illegal fishing and then cleaned and sunk around the island. Each wreck is attached to the next with a line so finding your way here is not a problem. Visibility is usually rather low and also the fish life is not that fantastic, thus we don’t dive it that often.
Only dived by us, it is a pristine dive site on the northern tip of Tioman Island. There are to ways to go, either you dive to your right over a hard coral field to a granite wall, or to your left, over the coral covered boulders. Whichever way you go, it is a truly nice experience; Big Moray Eels, Napoleon Wrasses, Turtles, Angle Fish and an enormous diversity of Nudibranchs can be found.
One Tree Bay (Coral Island)
This hidden spot is just around the corner of Fan Canyon on Coral Island
It is fantastic as a second dive site especially when the south wind blows, since we are sheltered here. This easy dive leads us along the rocks which are sloping down to about 16m. The shallow part is densely covered in hard corals and the cracks and crevices in the rocks are a perfect hiding place for some giant moray eels. Whereas the deeper part is frequently visited by bumphead parrot fish and spanish mackerels who swim along some of the loosely lying boulders.
The currents make a very big difference – if the current is mild then few fish are out and about, while you can have a very exciting time here if the current blows.
Pirate reef is a shallow hard coral reef between ABC Bay and the main village Tekek. DHL sponsored some artificial reef concrete blocks back in 2006 which have since become home to plenty of fish life. Another small wreck lies right next to this dive site and makes it a beautiful and easy third dive of the day.
Renggis is a small island which lies directly in front of the Berjaya Golf Club. It’s one of the favorite spots for snorkelers and divers alike. It’s a common choice for the third dive of the day and for a night dive off the boat.
We usually start the dive on the northern site at around 10m depth and dive along the sloping reef which is densely covered in hard corals to the south of the island. Large barracudas, turtles, cuttlefish and clownfish greet us along the way and once we reach the staghorn coral field it’s time to look out for the resident blacktip reefsharks.
The jetty in Salang Bay has become an amazing muck dive site over the years. A massive shoal of anchovies and another huge group of oxeye sqad are seeking safety here, which attracts predators such as trevallies, garfishes and barracudas. Nudibranchs glide along the sandy bottom while moray eels and shrimp seek shelter in some of the broken of pillars. During a night dive you might encounter frogfish, different moray eels, sepia, reef cuttlefish, barracuda, thousands of shrimps and crabs, pipefish, flatworms, nudibranchs, sea slugs just to mention a few.
The fairly small Sepoi island is usually our second dive site of the day after visiting i.e. Tiger Reef, Golden Reef or Labas.
The rock formation on the north western side is the best with a good coral growth and lots of large Brain corals. It’s an easy dive over a sloping hard coral reef where we don’t have to go deeper than about 15m. We don’t visit this site that often so it is always refreshing to come here and explore the abundance of reef fish such as lion fish, scorpion fish, green and brown moray eels, jacks, nurse sharks and countless of butterfly fish.
Just off the shore of Salang Bay lies the small and uninhabited island Soyak (also called Soyah). It’s so close to Salang Bay, one could easily snorkel to it from the beach and enjoy its clear fish filled waters.
The reef formation consists of large granite boulders, which are covered with soft corals, fire corals, sea whips, turret (cup) corals, anemones and a large variety of hard corals.
With a maximum depth of 16 meters and an average depth of 10 meters, Soyak is one of our preferred sites for the second or third dive of the day. The close proximity plus the diverse colours and marine life make it also one of our prime boat night dive sites.
The resident marine life you can find here include hawksbill turtles, blue ring angelfish, pufferfish, batfish, emperors, napoleon wrasses, titan trigger fish, parrot fish, bumphead parrot fish, butterfly fish, blue spotted stingrays, yellow striped snappers, moray eels, yellowtail fusiliers, yellowtail barracudas, zebra lionfish and lots of nudibranchs.
Tumok aka Tanjung Gemuk as a small half island in front of Paya Bay. Is a shallow dive sites ideal for beginners or for a third dive of the day when we return from the islands further south. It’s small reef can surprise us with resident turtles and barracudas.
Terdau is already on the North Eastern side of Tioman Island and rarely dived. It’s a rather shallow dive site with lots of hard corals where we can expect to see plenty of small reef fish with the occasional jack or trevally passing by. Another heaven for nudibranch fans.
This submersed pinnacle looks from above like a crouching tiger, thus it’s name. Currents can be quite strong here since it lies in a channel between Labas and Sepoi, and these currents make it one of the highlights of Tioman’s under water world.
The rock formation is simply amazing since everything is covered by soft coral, hard corals and barrel sponges. Due to the strong currents, Tiger Reef is not that frequently dived thus you can find very little human impact on the corals. Expect to encounter literally millions of juvenile reef fish which on the other hand attracts large schools of jacks, mackerels, yellow fin barracudas and rainbow runners. Experienced divers really enjoy the rock formations and canyons which offer a hiding place from the strong currents. The resident marine life you can find here is uncountable, but as an example you will no doubt encounter angel, puffer, bat fishes, emperors, titan trigger, parrots, butterfly, napoleon wrasse, nurse sharks, black tip sharks, stingrays, moray eels and lion fish.
Tokong Bahara are two tiny islands sticking out of nowhere some 10nm south-west of our dive centres. Due to the distance they are seldom dived and we only go there on special occasions. The sites are pretty shallow but nicely covered in hard and soft corals and plenty of anemonies. black tip reefsharks and nursesharks are common sightings here.
Choose a Dive Site
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Alternatively click on the name of a dive site in the list and it will show you it’s location on the map and all the details beneath.
Tioman lies in the South China Sea which is relatively shallow with a maximum depth of only around 70 meters.
The dive sites are formed by massive granite boulders which are covered in a large diversity of hard and soft coral species. These boulders create an astounding underwater landscape with numerous holes and swim-throughs, a perfect breeding and hiding place for marine life.
Tioman is not only famous for its healthy reefs but also for a good fish population, lots of turtles and an abundance of nudibranchs.