Sarawak’s reefs offer a wondrous collection of corals (about 35 per cent of the worlds reefs) spanning 100,000sq km. For most hardcore divers, many of its reefs are stilt considered pristine, just waiting to be explored and uncovered.
Sarawak is an intriguing destination with an abundance of cultural and ecological treasures. The multitude of tribal and ethnic groups offer tourists the chance to experience a blend of diverse traditions and crafts. Bounded by three seas – the South China Sea, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea – Sarawak’s reefs offer a wondrous collection of corals (about 35 per cent of the worlds reefs) spanning 100,000sq km.
As Sarawak’s capital, Kuching (which means cat in Malay) Malaysia?s fourth- largest city, frequently serves as a meeting place of international politicians, athletes and artists. A quiet city with a romantic waterfront, Kuching is also renowned for its natural biodiversity of flora and fauna, the proboscis monkey and orang utan serve as her ambassadors. Diving around Kuching is relatively unheard of, which is a good thing for most hardcore divers as many of its reefs are stilt considered pristine, just waiting to be explored and uncovered.
March to September
5m to 30m
28 to 30 oC
Between 1 to 3 knots
South Luconia Shoals
This is one amazing reef ecosystem packed with colourful gorgonian fans and sponges. Superb diving off walls or drop-offs can be enjoyed between 12m and 40m, with the chance of spotting large pelagics like sharks, dogtooth tuna, rainbow runners and snappers. Dive sites in this area include Fan Drop, Surgeon Route, Eastern Wall, Rock Hard Drift and Western Wall.
North Luconia Shoals
Another impressive wall-diving site from 15m to 40m, it is endowed with lush hard and soft corals. Barracudas, snappers, tunas and the occasional manta ray can be found here. Dive sites include Solomon Backyard, Manta Avenue, Neptune Valley (Hayes Ref region) and Die Hard, White Tip Cruise, and Coral Garden (Aitken Reef region).
Pulau Talang Talang
Renown for her natural eco-trails and tribal culture, Sarawak also has some diving sites. Just off Kuching, Pulau Talang Talang is a protected turtle sanctuary for green, hawksbill and olive Ridley turtles. Visibility is good and there is also the opportunity of meeting a large family of lobsters. Pulau Talang-Talang laying off the mouth of Sematan River is a protected turtle sanctuary and permission must be obtained to dive the area. The Green, Hawksbill and Oliver Ridley turtles are commonly sighted in the vicinity.
A World War II ship wreck Katori Maru, located about 30 nautical miles from the mainland, was a Japanese troop carrier sunk by British aircraft. Being located further off the coast, water visibility is between 5 – 8m. The poor light has resulted in little coral growth on the ship but it has managed to attract a number of large fish inhabitants and in particular, reef sharks. Locating the wreck is no easy task – it usually takes the local dive master several minutes of cruising before locating the wreck.
The recently refurbished Kuching International Airport has direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bandar Seri Begawan and Perth, western Australia, and from Hong Kong via Kota Kinabalu. Direct flights are also available from Johor Bahru via Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia.