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Diving at Mataking Island

Mataking Island Diving

Diving at Mataking Island is one of the best dive experiences I have had around Malaysia. While the dive sites here are pretty obscure and non-commercialized, it is truly one of the better dive sites in the entire Sabah. Well, when you put Sipadan Island aside of course.

While Mataking Island is well known for being a honeymoon destination, diving at Mataking Island is totally out of this world. From the main photo, you can imagine how stunning the underwater landscape is.

Wrecks, rich marine life, colourful coral landscapes, interesting wrecks, and the occasional large fish that come around here will complete any divers wishes and fancies.

Diving at Mataking Island

Wreck Diving Mataking Island
The post office box on a wreck at Mataking Island
Overall, the experience of visiting Mataking Island will allow you to relax as this place is quiet and away from the commercial areas of Semporna and Mabul Island.

There is only one resort on the island which is the Mataking Reef Resort, a luxurious resort catering to middle and high-end guests.

When you book a package at the resort, diving can be included as one of the many activities offered here.

Alternatively, you can also add on additional dives or even book a dive to Sipadan Island.  One of the unique diving experiences here is that they have an underwater post box.

This means, you can write a postcard at the office, have it sealed in an underwater envelope and when you go diving, they will bring you to the underwater post box and you can post your letter to anyone in the world. How cool is that?

For those who do not know how to dive and want to experience this, there is the Discover Scuba Diving or DSD available here.

This amazing underwater experience lets you go to a maximum of five meters underwater under the supervision of a dive instructor.

Dive Photos of Mataking Island
Me diving at Mataking Island
Mataking Dive Sites

There are five common dive sites around Mataking Island and a total of 33 dive sites for the adventurous divers.

Usually, for first-timers, you will be brought to the common dive sites, which are quite incredible. The Mataking Dive Sites are;
  • House Reef - The most popular site around the main jetty area of the island. The house reef is rich with corals and fishes, so this is one place worth diving. On occasion, you have the opportunity to see a large barracuda here.
  • Bohayan - This site is located on one of the many nearby islands and, as with all sites here, your boat will be the only one around.
  • D'Wall - Five minutes by boat and you will be near Mataking Kecil Island. This wall dive is quite interesting with macro life.
  • Gavin's Playground - A slightly further spot which is around 15 minutes boat ride and rich with fishes, macro and coral life. This is a boat dive spot too.
  • Garden of Eden - The name sounds interesting and it is here that you can find lots of corals, macro and other fishes. The landscape is pretty as well with mild currents at 25-meter depth.
  • Underwater Post Office - This is a wreck dive and with a maximum depth of 27 meters. But the post box is located at about 20 meters on a cargo shipwreck, which was sunk for conservation purposes in 2006.
Mataking Island Diving Pictures
Scuba diving at Mataking Island
Other diving information on Mataking Island

Overall, the depths for diving here range from 5 to 40 meters, but usually, you will go to a maximum of 27 to 30 meters, if you are visiting the wreck.

The waters are tropical temperature, therefore you can dive with or without a suit. If you insist on a diving suit, they have shorties and also standard ones with 3mm thickness.

For visibility at Mataking, it ranges from 5 meters to 30 meters, depending on the time too. Averaging at around 20 meters is good enough for any diver.

Dive certification is from beginner to advanced divers. If you are an underwater photographer, you need to inform the divemaster and they will bring you to the best locations for this.

Underwater Post Box Mataking Island
Posting my postcard at the Mataking Island underwater post box
Best Time To Dive At Mataking Island

Just like any other island in Sabah's east coast, the best time to dive at Mataking Island is from March to November.

December and January is the rainy season here, but you can still dive. Just that you need to double check with the resort about this. For the peak season, it will be August.

The quiet time for Mataking Island is in February and July as this is the off-peak period here, so if you want privacy, these are the two best months.

Dive Photos of Mataking Island
A turtle is seen during my dive at Mataking Island
What Fish To See At Mataking Island?

One of the most common questions asked by most scuba divers is what fish can I see at Mataking Island.

Well, you will be in for a treat if you are an advanced diver as chances are you may be able to spot grey reef sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, hammerheads, and the occasional whale shark in the north point cleaning station area.

However, the rare fish are not around every day, and it is purely based on luck. Whale shark season here is from April to June, again depending on luck.

Overall for the general divers, the common coral fishes are easily spotted, lots of nudibranchs, schools of jackfish, moray eels, barracudas, frogfish, lionfish, squat lobsters, stonefish, cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, trevally, trumpetfish, batfish, and large groupers.

Underwater Wreck Mataking Island
The wreck at Mataking Island, 20 to 27 meters deep
Where is Mataking Island?

Mataking Island is located about 40 minutes boat ride from the town of Semporna, which is the gateway jetty to Sipadan and Mabul Islands.

The island comprises of Mataking Besar (Big Island) and Mataking Kecil (Small Island) which is connected by a wonderful sandbank that shows itself during the low tide.

There is only one resort on the entire island and offers you ultimate privacy. Usually, couples come here for their honeymoon or anniversary, but on average, you get the more serious travellers staying here.

Packages are all-in, meaning you pay one price for a full board package at Mataking Island. You can book your Mataking Dive Package from the resort operator.

I have also done a Mataking Island review for those who want to see more photos of the island and resort.

Mataking Scuba Diving Photos

Diving at Mataking
Diving at Mataking Island
Wreck Diving Mataking Island
The Mataking Wreck seen from above
Sujnto Dive Com Malaysia
My Suunto Dive Computer shows 16 meters depth and the wreck at the bottom
Mataking Island Underwater Wreck
Remains of another wreck at one of the dive sites in Mataking Island
Sabah Wreck Diving
Back of the main wreck at Mataking Island (Apologies for the lens cover as it was in the way)

For divers or diving couples out there, Mataking Island is one of the best dive spots in Sabah and from the photos taken by me, you can see how amazing it is.

There are no crowds of divers here which allows the marine life to be as natural as it can be. In a nutshell, this is a beautiful, peaceful and amazing place to have a holiday and dive.

My Other Scuba Diving Experiences

For more diving articles, you can read my scuba diving section as I have been actively diving all over the region since 2007.

I have also been diving at various locations around the world including scuba diving in the Red Sea of Jordan, Anilao in the Philippines and Koh Lipe in Southwest Thailand.

My recent adventures to me to the east of Indonesia where I did some diving at Komodo Island and another major follow up trip to Alor Island and Raja Ampat.

And if you plan to visit Sarawak, here is a list of dive sites in Sarawak to check out. Many are surprised that you can do scuba diving in Sarawak, well I have done it, and so can you.

Around Malaysia, there are numerous interesting dive locations and I have visited most of these places throughout the last 10 years.

You can find more information on my article about scuba diving in Malaysia if you plan to explore the many islands here.


If you have experienced scuba diving at Mabul Island or Sipadan Island, then this is the next place you should explore.

Scuba diving at Mataking Island will be one of those experiences you will remember for a long time and remember to bring an underwater camera as it will be very worth it.

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