Known as the absolute best site to dive in the entire world, Barracuda Point has been called “an untouched piece of art.” Malaysia has over 4,600 kilometers of impressive coastline, boarding four different seas. At this dive site, a wall of coral houses tons of tiny critters, sharks cruise nearby, and a tunnel of barracuda surround you. Today, beginner and experienced divers from around the world travel to take on at least one dive here before they die. (Although, many say one dive is not enough in a lifetime).
Where Is Sipadan Island Malaysia Located?
Located on a tiny Malaysian island called Sipadan, it’s Malaysia’s only island in the ocean. The island is famous for being home to the top ten dives in the world and is perfect for gorgeous underwater photography.
How Do I Access Diving in Sipadan?
Located on the East coast of Malaysia, Barracuda Point is about an hour boat ride from the town of Semporna. You’ll take a boat to gain access to the dive site, where you’ll have another half hour to explore crystal waters that can reach 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Makes This Site Unique?
The drift dive site was formed by an ancient, extinct volcano thousands of years old that has living corals growing on top, and now this coral reef is home to over 3,000 diverse types of fish and hundreds of corals. With 16,846 hectares of park area filled with sea and both soft and hard corals, this is one of the most amazing underwater adventures you could ever experience.
Thousands of people travel to dive here every year thanks to the fantastic marine wildlife in this region of the world, clear waters, and unique location.
How Much Will Diving Cost Per Person?
A total of 120 divers receive permits each day to explore the park at a fee of MYR 40 or just over USD 10 per person. Depending on how you book, you may be able to find deals that include the price of your diving permit if you stay at least three nights in a hotel.
The equipment you need to dive will also cost, with rent starting around RM 100 per person each day. Full rentals including an underwater camera are even available for an added fee.
When is the Best Time to Travel?
Booking is year-round, and best conditions often last from April to December, with July and August being the calmest conditions. December to March brings in the rainy season, although most only experience a slight decrease in visibility during these months. If you travel by speedboat to your dive site during the rainy season, it might be a bumpy ride. Otherwise, the busiest periods are between March and August, Christmas, or at the start of a new year (the US or Chinese New Year).
Be Advised: Dive Prices are Expected to Change
The fee, however, is expected to rise in August 2018 to around USD 40. Early divers may experience the maximum amount of sea life, so it’s recommended to book early. Many divers say it’s best to book in advance as well, as spots are in short supply and fill quickly. Expect to be accompanied by other divers in this spot.
A Dive Spot Named for its Beautiful Main Attraction
Usually, if a dive site includes the name of a sea creature, you probably won’t see many. However, this site is quite contradictory to this rule. At this dive site, you are nearly guaranteed to see hundreds of barracuda swimming through circles around you.
Appropriately named for the thousands of barracuda fish that swim in a tornado-like formation around Barracuda Point, you will also see turtles, white tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, jacks, butterfly fish, colorful corals, large bumphead parrotfishes, and so much more!
Experience More Than Just Barracudas
The colorful arrays of fish and other aquatic animals allow diving near Malaysia always to change, but you’re guaranteed to see a lot on this amazing site.
Loose track counting the turtles as you swim down the site’s entry point through schools of jacks and bump head parrotfish storming the reef, then explore the wall itself, which extends hundreds of feet down and is alive with reef fish and different nudibranchs.
With average viability of 100 feet ahead, you can see all around you as you slowly drift at first then dive along an inclined wall around 72 feet into the depths of the sea.
Who Is This Diving Spot Perfect For?
While not exactly ideal for beginners, divers with limited experience will be excellent on this dive as long as others accompany them. If you don’t have your PADI Open Water certification, you may want to take a course before diving.
Because visibility is so clear, and the area is quite compact, you can stay in one place while taking in unbelievable views. This makes this spot so perfect for underwater photographers as well as for your average, everyday divers and even those with less experience diving than a professional-level diver.
A Word of Warning: The Current is Occasionally Strong
A word of warning for new or inexperienced divers: the currents around Barracuda Point Sipadan Island Malaysia can occasionally be powerful.
On any Sipadan diving trip, you should also keep your eye on the darkest blue of the water, where gray reef or whitetip reef sharks can be spotted lurking around. Some days, depending on the current, you might come across a swarm of reef sharks. Around this time, a channel cuts through the wall and travels to the right, where the barracuda fish tend to congregate. Usually, the sharks will hang out around 65 feet while the fish are a bit lower at 40 feet.
What If the Current Is Too Fierce?
Typically, the current is subtle if you’ve dived before. If the current is too strong, this treasured spot also has many activities on the reef you can explore, as the coral garden is home to tons of macro life as well. From leaf scorpionfish to pipefish, crabs, and shrimp, the wall itself hides a variety of life worth searching for if you have time left and enough air in your tank.
But you don’t need to go more than 35 feet below before you are surrounded by turtles and fish, including the famous Barracuda it’s named after.
If the current is exceptionally strong, try to position yourself close to the swarm of barracuda as you hold onto the rocky bottom for support and enjoy the show. When you need to let go of the rock, merely shallow your body up along the wall on the right side of the channel to avoid any gray reef sharks resting on the bottom of the ocean.
Near the top of the reef, around 16 feet, you can sit safely along the reef’s roof. The current isn’t too active in this area. Just beware any angry titan triggerfish that feel the need to guard its territory, as they pack a mean bite.
Where Can I Stay Nearby the Dive Location?
Travels will be happy to hear that, since this is one of the most exciting a diverse diving spots in the world, there are several nearby beach resorts and jaw-dropping scuba diving opportunities. The closest resort options are located on the nearby islands of Mabul, Kapalai, and Sipadan, which are all fantastic dive spots as well. It’s recommended that you stay at least four nights to allow yourself more time to dive and explore multiple times.
Is It Expensive to Travel to Malaysia?
The cost varies depending on where you want to stay and your budget. Malaysia offers luxury, middle, and budget experiences. The world-class dive site can be a bit pricey, but the accommodations are worth every penny you spend.
Are There Any Other Sea Creatures to See?
The island is not only gorgeous; it houses over 300 different species of fish and varying sea creatures, such as octopus, morays, eagle rays, batfish, butterflyfish, and sometimes hammerhead sharks. Barracuda Point is one of the most amazing and fascinating places to go scuba diving in the entire world.
Consider Travel Warnings to Always Remain Safe
Right now, some European governments advise to only travel to Sipadan and Mabul if it’s essential. However, Malaysian authorities have taken precautions. You’re recommended to have at least one security guard on each dive boat you take there. You should also take out travel and medical insurance before your trip. No matter where you travel, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Sipadan and the surrounding islands near Malaysia are considered the center of a marine paradise for scuba diving. With thousands of species of fish and hundreds of coral species, you can explore all this fantastic ecosystem has to offer at its most vibrant site: Barracuda Point.