Discover the Beauty of Diving in Pulau Tenggol, a Secluded Island in Malaysia
Nestled off the eastern coast of Malaysia, Pulau Tenggol is a small, hidden gem boasting only 3km in length. This idyllic island is surrounded by pristine, white sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and lush vegetation.
If you’re an avid diver, Pulau Tenggol is a must-visit destination. Whether you’re exploring enchanting shipwrecks or gliding through magnificent underwater formations comprised of boulders, pinnacles, and stunning hard and soft corals, Tenggol Island is truly a diver’s paradise.
The island’s elaborate coral reefs and rock formations host some of the world’s most diverse underwater species. Encounterings with large pelagic creatures such as whale sharks and manta rays are not uncommon, along with eagle rays, black-tipped reef sharks, and massive barracudas. Pulau Tenggol offers an unforgettable diving experience for enthusiasts and nature lovers alike
Best Time for Diving in Pulau Tenggol
Pulau Tenggol boasts a tropical climate all year round, making it an excellent diving destination throughout the year. A 3mm wetsuit is sufficient to protect against the island’s sea temperature.
Located off the coast of Terengganu in Malaysia, Tenggol Island may be small, measuring just three by two kilometers (1.8 by 1.24 miles), but its underwater world is vast and captivating. With over twenty dive sites available, this South China Sea island is a true gem worth exploring.
Diving around Tenggol Island offers an array of underwater experiences, from sloping fringing reefs teeming with marine life to dramatic drop-offs, walls, and massive boulder formations. Some dive sites provide sheltered conditions with near swimming pool-like waters, while others feature rugged rocky landscapes where strong currents and surges rock the shallows.
Tokong Timur Dive Site
Tokong Timur is one of Tenggol Island’s most renowned dive sites and is famous for its whale shark sightings from August to October. Located just off a small rock island to the south of Tenggol Island, this dive site is packed with action. To increase your chances of spotting whale sharks, it’s recommended to dive on the south side of the island, where you can find vibrant coral reefs in the shallows and fascinating boulders in the deeper sections (up to 30 meters/100 feet). Although the currents can be challenging, they also bring plankton-rich waters that attract these magnificent creatures.
Even if you’re diving outside the whale shark season, Tokong Timur still offers a plethora of marine life to discover. You may encounter lone hunting great barracuda, schools of batfish, moray eels hiding in crevices, and a variety of colorful damsels and tropical reef fish in the shallows.
Tanjung Api Dive Site
Located on the protrusion of the west coast of Tenggol Island’s northern tip, Tanjung Api is an exciting dive site due to the water currents that flow around the point, creating a fantastic drift dive experience. Be prepared to “go with the flow” and enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way!
The topography of Tanjung Api is rugged, featuring walls and deep rock formations, some of which are massive. These large boulders are adorned with an array of hard and soft corals, sea fans, and sea whips. The fans provide a sanctuary for a plethora of reef species, and keen-eyed divers may spot macro life among their branches and nudibranchs on the rocks. Other noteworthy sightings include bumphead parrotfish, angelfish, puffers, moray eels, and schools of batfish. It’s even possible to catch a glimpse of passing mantas or eagle rays!
The northernmost part of Tenggol Island is home to a cluster of dive sites called “Rajawali”, which include Rajawali Reef, Tanjung Rajawali, and Teluk Rajawali, each offering their own unique entry points. These sites boast an abundance of marine life and vibrant coral gardens in shallow waters.
The eastern side of the point boasts a large reef area teeming with diverse corals, including hard and soft corals, sponges, barrels, whips, and anemones, providing a habitat for a wide range of reef fish, such as clownfish, angelfish, lionfish, Moorish idols, and parrotfish species.
On the west side, you can expect to encounter schools of snappers, triggerfish, moray eels, and scorpionfish among the shallow reef and sandy bottom. At the very tip of the point, keep an eye out in the blue for surprises, such as manta rays, eagle rays, and reef sharks, which have been spotted here on occasion.
Located between the main Tenggol landmass and the small outlying lighthouse island, The Edge dive site gets its name from a drop off at 18 meters/60 feet. From this point, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the vast blue expanse. The dive itself offers a mix of boulder formations, bommies, and reefs, providing divers with the opportunity to search for critters or simply observe the underwater world.
As you drift with the current, be on the lookout for larger pelagic species and predators that may be patrolling the area.
Tenggol Wreck Diving
Tenggol offers more than just reef diving and whale shark sightings. In fact, the Malaysian Government has authorized the intentional sinking of several wrecks in the region for diving purposes, including two deep wrecks that are suitable for technical diving.
There are four noteworthy wrecks that lie beyond 40 meters/131 feet, namely Sawadee, Five Sisters, Fisherman Wreck, and the Deep Wreck. All of them are easily accessible and home to a wide variety of marine life. The Fisherman Wreck is a 20-meter/66-feet long fishing boat that can be explored at depths of up to 18 meters/60 feet, making it an excellent dive site for Open Water Divers and those who are new to wreck diving.