Dive Sites in Sarawak

Sarawak Diving Sites

There are quite a number of dive sites in Sarawak which ranges all the way from the south in Kuching till the north in Miri. Most scuba divers may or may not have heard, but diving in Sarawak is one of the up and coming places due simply to the place being less dived over the years. Again, I am confident to say this as I recently did some exploration diving along the coast of Miri and found that the dive sites here are pretty amazing and beautiful. 

While diving in Malaysia is very popular, there are many states and locations that cater to this hobby or sport and over the years, popular places like Sabah or Perhentian Islands have been the favourites among local and international divers. Now with Sarawak emerging as one of the new players in scuba diving, you should take the time to explore some of these amazing places. 

Kuching Wreck Diving Sarawak
Divers checking out a wreck around Kuching
Dive Sites in Kuching

There are around 5 main dive sites in Kuching which is suitable for beginner divers where each of them requires some overland travel to the sites. There are also about three main dive operators in Kuching city, Aquabase Kuching, Premier Marine and Scuba Center and Kuching Scuba Center, all located in the city area. 

Among the popular dives sites are Satang Island, Damai Area, Sempadi Island, Sematan Area and some other sites which require 90 minute boat trips. All diving needs to be booked by any of the dive centers in the main town area. Just to give you an idea, from Kuching to Damai Beach area, the journey takes about 30-45 minutes drive. From there, you will take the boat out to the dive sites. 

Kuching Diving Photo
A beautiful sea slug dances in front of a scuba diver in Kuching
Kuching Dive Site Information
• Coral reefs - 5 to 15m
• Ship wrecks - 15 to 35m
• Best Time to Dive - April to September
• Visibility - 5m to 25m

I was also told that there is one dive operator that operates from a resort in the west end of Kuching in Sematan area towards Talang Island on the mainland. The place is called Palm Beach Resort which offers diving based on groups and also snorkeling trips. For the non divers, there are also special trips for Turtle Conservation on Talang Island which I participated in 2014.

Pulau Satang and Sempadi Island Dive Sites
Kuching Dive Sites Map
Above is a dive site map of Kuching showing you Satang Islands and also Pulau Sempadi. It shows about 8 dive sites and 3 snorkeling sites but it does not show you the wreck dive sites here. 

Wreck Diving in Kuching Sarawak
Divers exploring one of the wrecks in Kuching
Wreck Diving in Kuching

Wreck diving in Kuching is a wonderland as there are wrecks like a submarine, cargo ships and battleships from World War 2 due to Kuching being the main target of the Japanese invasion just after Pearl Harbour. In total, there are six main wrecks to explore here with the submarine being a special trip. Below is a breakdown of what you  can expect;

Kuching Wreck Diving Photo
A diver at one of the wrecks outside of Kuching
Katori Maru Wreck – WWII Wreck Dive
• Katori Maru is broken into separate parts and spread over a wide area with only the bow section standing as the tallest bit
• Depth – Bottom 22m
• Diver Rating  – Advanced Open Water
• Interest – Historical wreck, barracuda, yellowtail snapper, teira batfish, black coral, sun coral, nudibranch and grouper
• Hazard – Strong current and low visibility
• Getting there – From Santubong with fast boat is 50-75 mins

Hiyoshi Maru Wreck – (Japanese WW2 Wreck)
• The whole structure of this wreck is still intact. Under good visibility condition, it can be seen from the surface. There is good marine life living in this 130m length by 30m wide wreck
• Depth – 21m bottom – 16m deck
• Diver Rating – Advanced Open Water
• Interest – Historical wreck. Whole structure still intact.  Teira batfish, yellowtail snapper, fusilier, lobster, turtle, barracuda, rabbit fish and stingray
• Hazard – Strong current and low visibility
• Getting there – From Santubong with fast boat is 60-75 mins.

Sagiri Wreck – (Japanese WW2 Destroyer)
• One of the newer wrecks with most of the destroyer still intact. On the deck, the guns and ammunition can still be seen though corals have covered most of the parts. A giant grouper is occasionally spotted in the haul section
• Depth -26m
• Diver Rating – Advanced Open Water
• Interest – Historical wreck, canon, guns and ammunition
• Hazard – Strong current and low visibility
• Getting there – From Santubong with fast boat is 90 mins
Dutch Submarine Wreck Kuching
A file photo of  the Dutch Submarine HNLMS K XVI which sank
Submarine Wreck Kuching (Dutch Submarine HNLMS K XVI)
• On 24 December 1941, A Dutch Submarine, K XVI torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Sagiri; the first Allied submarine to sink a Japanese warship. A day later, the Dutch submarine was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-66 off Sarawak, Borneo, with all aboard killed. The wreck of K XVI was rediscovered in October 2011 by a group of recreational divers.
• Depth - Unknown
• Diver Rating - Advanced Open Water
• Interest - Historical and Unique
China Wreck – Artificial wreck
• Maximum Depth: 25m
• Diver Rating: Advanced Open Water
• Interest: Artificial wreck, grouper and snapper
• Hazard: Strong current and low visibility
• Getting there – From Santubong with fast boat is 90 mins

Wreck Diving in Sarawak
Divers checking out one of the wrecks in Kuching
Barge Wreck – Commercial ship
• Maximum Depth: 30m
• Diver Rating: Advanced Open Water
• Interest: Grouper and snapper
• Hazard: Strong current and low visibility
• Getting there – From Santubong with fast boat is 90 mins

Marine life seen while diving in Kuching
In general, the dive operators will go on a minimum of two or four persons as you have to travel overland to Damai, Santubong or another resort where you will then go on a boat ride to your dive site. Food, drinks and refreshments are usually brought along and divers return after completing all their dives.

The trips are also weather pending therefore you should double check with the dive operator on the best time to dive in Kuching. 

Dive Sites in Miri

There are quite a number of dive sites in Miri where this area is one of the earliest places that have been designated as a diving destination in Sarawak. In total, there are 37 dive sites around Miri’s waters, with a visibility of 10 to 30 meters and most of them in the Sibuti Reef, just outside the main city. However, if you explore further down from Miri, there is also Patricia Reef which is still untouched and a few people have already dived there, with amazing results. 

Sarawak Diving SitesThere are two dive operators in Miri which are Coco Dive, the pioneer, and Hoopa Dive which started operations in mid 2015. Both have experienced dive masters, instructors and are professional with their own dive boats.

Coco Dive is located in Miri city on the main Jalan Miri-Pujut near the Dynasty Hotel and comes as a full package with rooms, a restaurant and convenient shop all in one.
Tel: +60 85-417 053

Hoopa Dive is located at the Food Court along Jalan Tanjung Lobang or Taman Selera Tanjung Lobang where the KFC and Pizza Hut is located. Another landmark is just near the Marriott Miri Hotel and Resort.
Tel: +60 13-573 8880

• Visibility in Miri - 10 to 30 meters 
• Best time to dive in Miri - March till September
• What to see while diving in Miri - Cuttlefish, rays, whale shark, nudi branches, all kinds of corals
• Nearest Dive Site from Miri - 15 minutes boat ride
• Dive Packages in Miri - RM615 to RM1,000 per person
• Divers per boat - per day: 16 divers max

There is also a Live On Board Dive Boat which is operated by Hoopa Dive Center, but they may only be offering it to visitors towards the end of 2015. It is not too big but it can take a group of 8-10 people. 

This is something very interesting as there is one beautiful dive site in Miri called Luconia Shoals which is about 2-3 hours away from the main land. It is commonly called Luconia dive site by the locals and is one of the much talked about diving sites in Miri. I have not dived here to date and plan to do so as those who have dived there have stated that it is one of the most beautiful dive sites in the region. 

Coco Dive Boat Miri
The Coco Dive Boat in Miri, Sarawak
Hoopa Dive Center Miri Sarawak
The Hoopa Dive boat in Miri
Read more about my diving in Miri from my previous article where I have visited some of these dive sites twice in the last year. In 2015, I did the Sarawak Adventure Dive which is a product from Tourism Malaysia Sarawak to promote scuba diving here.

Wreck Diving in Miri

Miri also offers wreck diving where there are a total of 5 shipwreck dive spots in the main Sibuti Reef area. Among the most beautiful of them are the artificial reefs named the Kenyalang Wreck, which was a joint development by Shell and Petronas from 7 years ago. 

Most of the wreck diving in Miri requires advance open water certification as the wrecks lie pass 25 meters deep. Both dive operators are equipped for all kinds of divers therefore you can contact them for any special arrangements. 

You should take note that the once you go out to the dive sites, you will only return after you have completed your dives. Food and refreshments are usually prepared and at times, the dives may be weather pending. Please check with the operator about this. 

Diving Photo in Sarawak
A Nudibranch seen at one of the dive sites in Kuching
All photos here are taken from Premier Marine & Scuba Center, Sarawak Tourism Board and Malaysia Asia. The are actual photos taken around Kuching and Miri to show you the real photos here and not stock photos.

As I dive quit a bit, my next objective is to dive around Kuching and also to explore Patricia Reef which is south of Miri nearer to Bintulu and of course, to dive at Luconia Shoals our of Miri. I have heard so much about these places and it would be really nice to experience it first hand, and when I do, you are assured of some updates.

Currently, both tourism boards, Sarawak Tourism Board and Tourism Malaysia Sarawak are actively promoting diving in Sarawak as statistics show that there are easily over 2 million divers from the Southeast Asia region, not including the greater Asia region. For further enquiries, you can contact either of them for more information about the dive sites in Sarawak.