The waters at Pulau Tenggol Island in Terengganu are among the deepest in east coast Peninsular Malaysia with most dive sites bottoming out at 30 meters. Large rocky outcrops and the boulder-like terrain dominate the seascape.
Pulau Tenggol is about 1 hour by speedboat from Kuala Dungun (a small coastal town 60km from Kuala Terengganu and 145km from Kuantan, Pahang). Tenggol Island, 17km off the coast of Kuala Dungun lies the small rocky island. An island visited mostly by fishermen, picnickers and naturalists, it possesses a variety of plants and animals, particularly reptiles. The western part of the island – with its secluded white beaches backed by steeply forested cliffs – is a pleasant retreat for swimming, diving, quiet strolls and lazing on the beach. Tenggol lies not far from the East Coast mainland, and is an exceptional site to the few who have dived here. The reason is Tenggol offers the experienced diver over 20 dive sites and the thrill of wall diving.
Teluk Air Tawar
Teluk Air Tawar is the place to find turtles, although humphead parrotfish are also common. For those with a penchant for wrecks, the Kuantan Wreck is renowned here and is easily penetrable by divers. It attracts a veritable array of fish life, including batfish, leopard sharks, moray eels and even turtles on occasions. If you are fortunate, between July to September you may catch a glimpse of the elusive whale shark, which has been spotted here on numerous occasions. Tenggol is also famed for its beaches, with fine white sand and lovely views. For an island so small, its rich treasure of attractions make for an unforgettable stay. If you really lucky, from months of May to September, you may spot a Giant Leatherback turtles feeding before they heading towards Dungun beach for nesting during this season.
Pulau Tenggol Bay / Tokong Air Tawar
The well-sheltered bay is excellent for checkout dives and night dives from the shore. Depth gradually increases down the gentle slope to about 20 meters. Hard corals dominate the terrain with sporadic soft corals adding a touch of colour to the monochromatic seascape. It is also one of the favourite sites to locate a diversity of nudibranchs. Shy garden eels can be observed towards the right of the bay at about 18 meters depth on the sandy bottom. Lots of chromis, fusiliers and butterfly fish inhabit the coral garden. Nocturnal animals include the Spanish dancer (large nudibranch swimming in midwater), moray eels and crabs.
Batu Tokong Laut
One of the more popular sites for advance divers seeking out schools of fish. Located in the open sea, the boulder-like terrain features interesting swim through tunnels and crevices for divers to explore. Some of the fish sighted include batfish, fusiliers, jacks and kingfish.
Batu Tokong Kemudi
Extending down to slightly more than 30 meters, the seascape has a good mix of hard and soft corals. Christmas tree worms carpet the face of porite mounds. Expect to see lots of sea anemone, nudibranchs, butterfly fish, wrasses, parrotfish and large snappers.
From Kuala Lumpur, Dungun can be reached via Kuantan in less than 4 hours traveling on the recently opened East Coast Highway.
- If you get here by bus, take a bus to Kuala Terengganu and inform the bus driver to drop you at Dungun town. When you reached Dungun, take a taxi to Kuala Dungun Jetty.
- From Kuala Terengganu Local Bus Station, get a Dungun bus.
Both national carriers, MAS and Air Asia offer regular daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Terengganu arriving at Sultan Mahmud Airport. It is advisable to get an early morning flight to Kuala Terengganu. It is about 1 hour’s drive to Dungun. The transfer boat to Pulau Tenggol normally leaves at 10am.