Guide to Diving in Pulau Tenggol – A Forgotten Gem

Diving in Pulau Tenggol – Facts Sheet

Destination : Pulau Tenggol

Country : Malaysia

Temperature : 28 – 34°C

Season : March to September

How to go : Flight or bus (7 hours) from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Terengganu, then take the ferry (45 minutes) to Pulau Tenggol

Types of Dives : Coral Reef Dive, Wreck Dive

The tiny speck of an island named Pulau Tenggol is located half way between the bigger islands of Pulau Tioman and Pulau Redang on the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, about 25km off the mainland. Pulau Tenggol’s main attraction for divers is the amazing wall diving on offer, thanks to the sheer cliff faces on the eastern side of the island.

The highlights to be explored here include many different submerged rocks and the pristine condition coral reef. The walls here drop far below, to almost 50m in depth. Some of the marine and fish life that divers encounter here includes nudibranchs, jacks, bumphead parrotfish, lizardfish and sometimes even white tip sharks if you are lucky and you keep your eyes open.

Some of the best sites around the island are “The Fishbowl”, which is home to enormous schools of many different kinds of tropical fish and “The Highway”, which is so called because the currents there are typically very strong, offering a very challenging dive that is not recommended for beginners.

Another impressive site, if you are interested in seeing an immense coral garden, is called Teluk Air Tawar, on the western coast of the island.

Kuantan Wreck is an impressive shipwreck site that is a very nice and easily accessible site for inexperienced divers. The Kuantan wreck was carrying crude oil before she sank, but luckily none of it spilled and the barrels have long since been removed.

Situated about 25 miles west of Pulau Kuantan, the wreck lies on the seabed along her port side at around 24m depth, with the top being at around 15m deep. There are lots of wire fishing traps placed around the wreck by local fishermen so it’s advisable not to stray too far from the wreck when diving here.

The ship is approximately 80m long and 10m wide and is remarkably intact considering she has been at rest for more than 15 years now. The wreck displays lots of growth and is a home for many smaller fish and eels, but the two famous resident groupers, of abut 1 ½ and 1 meters in length are the highlight of this dive.

Also keep an eye out for some leopard sharks, schooling jacks, barracudas, batfish, turtles and even giant sting rays.

Another wreck can be seen just north of Pulau Tenggol, near to a smaller island called Pulau Kapas. The wreck here is a Japanese landing craft from the Second World War that is now more than 50 years old.

The wreck is sitting upright, and you can explore its huge anti-aircraft battery guns at the bow of the ship, which by now are by now covered with sponges and soft corals but still clearly visible.

The visibility at this site is not always so great, however the common encounters with whale sharks is more than adequate compensation for this.