Scuba diving Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi Diving, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide

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Langkawi Diving, Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide

Many divers might frown at the idea of Langkawi diving mostly because of the non-crystal-clear water.

But the truth is, Langkawi DOES have amazing dive sites with close to 300 species of marine life to surprise you at every dive. Diving enthusiast and WWB Writer Athirah has shared an ultimate guide with us.

Given the right time and season, Langkawi diving has enough to offer underwater thrill-seekers all around the world.

Langkawi Diving, Malaysia
Langkawi Diving, Malaysia

Photo by Ramzi Bezzoudji on Unsplash

Did you know that Langkawi is also a nursery for Whitetip and Blacktip Reef baby sharks? What about the unusual rock formations underwater… or the sunken fishing boats covered with colourful, hard and soft corals?

Read this guide to find out why diving in Langkawi is worth a try.

Related Posts on Diving in Malaysia

Why dive in Langkawi?

Because it offers the best scuba diving along the Malaysian west coast.

The biggest number of coral species in Malaysia

You shouldn’t miss Coral Garden when diving in Langkawi. Living up to its name, some say the site looks like a vast orchid garden but instead of orchids, they are beautiful, white, blue and purple soft corals. Can you imagine that already?

Langkawi dive sites
Langkawi dive sites, Malaysia


Photo by Noaa on Unsplash

Hot tip: Go further down to the sandy bottom to get the best view of the garden. Branching tree corals, Cauliflower Soft Coral – you name it, they got it.

Amazing marine life and unique topography

Thanks to the rocky terrains and steep canyons and crevices inhabited by hard corals and sea fans, you’ll find a lot of macro critters such as crabs, lobsters, shrimp, seahorses and gorgeous nudibranch species.

The thing about Langkawi diving is, the dive sites seem to have their own “speciality”. Grouper Farm, Coral Garden, Lobster Garden… like choosing food from a menu.

Scuba diving Langkawi, Malaysia
Marine life, scuba diving in Langkawi


Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

Don’t fret if you’re a big sea creatures’ fan. Large groupers are frequent sightings. Lazy nurse sharks, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks are also common. 

Focused diving 

Most of the diving centres in Langkawi limit not six divers per instructor/guide. When you dive with a small group, you’ll get more attention from the guide. They will have more time to really “show you around”, spotting micro critters, or even be your photographer. The most important thing is you’ll feel safer and more confident as opposed to diving in a large group.

Langkawi Diving- How to get there?

Langkawi Island is accessible by plane and by land. I’d recommend the plane or train, but this ultimate guide will help you decide.

By air

There’s Langkawi International Airport at Padang Matsirat so you can reach the island by a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur (KL) or other destinations. A flight from KL to Langkawi airport takes about an hour.

From the airport, you can rent a car/motorbike, take a taxi or the most convenient way these days is to book a Grab car.

Hot tips for car rental

  • Rental rate is RM75 per day, on average
  • Book your rental car at least two days before your trip to get a below-average price
  • Off-airport rental car locations in Langkawi Island is more expensive than airport locations
  • Economy rental cars are cheaper 

By train

I’d recommend this way of travel as it is quick, comfortable and value for money.

You can take a train from KL Sentral Railway Station or the Old KL Railway Station (Terminal KTM) to Alor Setar or Arau.

  • Alor Setar: Take a taxi from the train station to Kuala Kedah Jetty or walk into the city centre to take a cheap local bus.
  • Arau: Take a bus or taxi to Kuala Perlis Jetty.

Before booking, you can check the train schedule here.

By car

Drive to Kuala Perlis port. The journey takes around five hours from KL. There’s a car ferry service (RORO – Roll on Roll Off ferry) to the island. If you are not taking your car over to Langkawi Island, you can park at Kuala Perlis port for USD2.35 (10MYR) per day.

Check out the timetables and car ferry fares here.

By bus

Take a direct bus from KL to Kuala Perlis Bus Station. The ferry terminal is just a couple of minutes away so you can walk over.

You could also take a bus from KL to Alor Setar, then a local bus from the bus station to the jetty at Kuala Kedah.

You can find more information and the schedule here.

How to reach Langkawi dive sites

You have to go to Pulau Payar Marine Park to reach Langkawi dive sites. It’s about 45 minutes away from the Kuah jetty by speedboat. The dive sites in Pulau Payar are very close to each other and accessible by dive boats.

To dive in Pulau Payar, you have to purchase a package priced from USD59 (250MYR) to USD82 (350MYR) from tour operators. This package includes:

  • Hotel transfer
  • Payar cruise transfer
  • Snorkelling equipment (Lifejacket and mask only)
  • Diving equipment
  • Introductory dive not including wetsuit
  • Packed lunch 
  • Marine park ticket
  • Government levy
  • Insurance

You can buy your diving package either from the booths at the jetty or through East Marine Holidays and Divescover.

Best time to scuba diving in Langkawi

Scuba diving in Langkawi is possible all year round, but the best time is during the dry season between November to March. Underwater visibility is also at its best.

Clear water means chances of bumping into Mustafa, a resident giant barracuda who is a divers’ favourite. He likes to eat sea perch. When you see him, don’t panic! He is harmless and friendly.

Or you’ll meet Toby, the large grouper who shies away when he sees you.  

The underwater temperature is consistent between 20 to 30°C with depth at the dive sites between 15 to 18 meters, on average.

Best Langkawi dive sites

Coral Garden

This site is like a buffet spread of hard and soft corals – not your everyday garden. There are over 50 types of corals. On a good day, the vibrant ambience and colourful view will make you feel like you’re at a beautiful Indian wedding. 

Frequent sightings are giant groupers, snappers, bannerfish, angelfish, and jellyfish.

House Reef 

This is where you’ll likely meet Mustafa and Toby. 

If you dive down to the sandy bottom, you’ll see some rare marine creatures such as the seahorse, mantis prawn and ghost pipefish.

Grouper Farm 

You’ll need some luck to dive here because the water visibility often remains quite poor. But the first-class dive guides will check the site before diving.

Langkawi Diving, Malaysia
Scuba diving in Langkawi


Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

It’s easy diving here because the water is calm. Grouper Farm is a reef site covered with hard corals with a depth of 15 meters. Frequent sightings are schools of smaller fishes running away from the large ones.

Kaca Sunken Boat Wrecks

The site is home to rule-breaking fishing boats that have become artificial reefs. You’ll see boulder corals, stony corals, many branching tree corals and even blue spongy corals. Besides the usual fishes, you might also see (harmless) black-tipped sharks, barracudas, and snappers. 

The visibility can be poor at times so remind your dive guide to do a spot-check before diving.

AVOID laying on the sandy bottom as it’s full of sea urchins.

Pulau Segantang

If you’re an advanced diver, this site is for you. The water is clearer and deeper. There are two large rocky outcrops with 20 meters depth, down to a sandy bottom. You can make a full turn around each outcrop but DO NOT attempt if you have less than 100 or 80 bars of air. 

On a good day, the visibility can go up to 25 meters so you might see schools of jacks, groupers, barracudas, reef sharks or leopard sharks.

Langkawi diving packages

Scuba diving Langkawi price is slightly higher than anywhere else. If you want to get PADI certified, the price starts from USD329 (1400MYR). 

To get a good Langkawi diving package, here are some recommended dive centres for you:

Langkawi Scuba

NOTE: They don’t offer diving trips to Pulau Payar Marine Park but some excellent dive sites around the small islands not far from the Cenang beach.

This package includes two dive trips and is priced at USD68 (290MYR) per person.

Langkawi Scuba has amazing reviews from divers. Check them out here!

East Marine Holidays

USD82 (350MYR) per person including:

  • Two dives
  • Dive gears
  • Lunch, fruits & drinks
  • Return boat trip to the marine park

Langkawi Coral Platform

USD100 (425MYR) per person including:

  • Two dives
  • Buffet lunch 
  • Dive gears
  • Return boat trip to the marine park
  • Hotel transfers 

Where to stay in Langkawi?

Pulau Payar diving doesn’t include accommodation on the island itself as it is an inhabited, protected area. You’ll most likely stay at Cenang beach. It has a great mix of luxury resorts, chalets or villas; depending on what type of holiday you’d like to have. You can book your accommodation via Booking.com or Agoda. Diving centres are usually separated from the resorts.

Pulau payar diving
Cenang beach, Langkawi, Malaysia


Photo by author

Popular luxury resorts:

Recommended hotels/chalets:

Langkawi snorkelling price

The diving packages listed above include snorkelling. But you can check out Langkawi snorkeling price separately via these websites:

Langkawi Guide from USD42 (180MYR). Package includes:

  • High-speed ferry to Pulau Payar
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Packed lunch
  • Return hotel-jetty transfer

Pulau Payar Snorkeling Package from USD35 (150MYR). Package includes:

  • High-speed ferry to Pulau Payar
  • Snorkelling gear
  • Packed lunch
  • Return hotel-jetty transfer
  • Personal Accident Insurance

Useful tips for diving in Langkawi 

  • Bring an underwater camera (you don’t want to miss capturing the corals!) or buy a disposable one at Kuah town.
  • Make sure you dive with certified dive centres and operators. I recommend Langkawi Scuba.
  • Don’t fly for at least 18 hours after your last dive.
  • Avoid monsoon season (June-September).
  • Book your dive package at least a day earlier.
  • Langkawi is a duty-free island that lets you go crazy over chocolates, tobacco, liquor and perfumes.
  • ATMs are plenty around the island and most hotels and diving centres accept credit cards.

Things to watch out for Langkawi diving

  • Scam dive/tour packages – Langkawi has hundreds of tour packages to choose from, so this is where research is crucial. Better still, go for the ones listed in this article.
  • Card swallowing ATMs – before using any ATM, please check if your card is accepted by the bank.

Things to bring to scuba diving in Langkawi

Scuba diving gears are provided by the dive centres. Other essentials include:

  • Sunglasses and hat
  • A small waterproof pouch for your money and phone
  • A clean towel
  • A bottle of drinking water
  • Natural or reef-safe sunscreen because some contain an ingredient that’s destroying coral reefs.

Best places to grab food after diving in Langkawi 

I can’t think of better food to grab after a long dive other than what the island is famous for – Thai food.

Langkawi Diving, Malaysia
Thai restaurant, Langkawi, Malaysia


Photo by author

Here are some Thai restaurants recommended for you:

Langkawi Island has everything under one roof. If you’re not diving or snorkelling, you can enjoy other types of land and water adventures. Hiking in the rainforest and touring the island is among preferred activities… You can even go skydiving with Skydive Langkawi. Or else, shop ‘til you drop at Kuah town. You can read more about Langkawi shopping here.

Now let’s be honest – scuba diving Langkawi might not be the finest. But instead of seeing it as a disadvantage, take it as a great opportunity to learn how to handle things in these conditions. It only gets easier!

Langkawi Diving – The Ultimate Guide

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