If you have been freedive for few years you know we do not have many options here in Malaysia to train our deep freedive. It is not because we don't have depth, a lot of area is still unexplored, facilities, man power or logistics are one of the things that add to the extra cost to pay. In the end it is almost same if we can travel out, stay for 2 weeks or month and train our depth there compared to train in Malaysia.
During covid-19 season, due to restrictions to travel out, in the end we have no choice instead of keep exploring for training locations in Malaysia. Based on our research and experience this new location will be one of the best options we can add into considerations on choosing place for training depth in Malaysia. The new training location we would like to write today is Merang.
Why Merang is new best location to train for Deep Freedive?
1. Location to airport or Bus station
Merang is located in Terengganu. It is 20 minutes away from airport in Kuala Terengganu and if you take bus to travel, the bus station to Merang is not far away and you have many options of taxi or e hailing car for you to do land transfer to Merang.
2. Boat transfer to Island full with freediving location
Merang itself is a main jetty for boat transfer to many islands such as Redang and Lang Tengah. You can choose to stay in this island and arrange yourself your freedive session with dive centre you visit in the island you stay.
If you stay in Merang, you can also arrange with dive centre here for day trip to Bidong Island and Yu island. The boat ride will take from 30 minutes to 45minutes to the training location.
3. Island with Deep area for training freedive
Near to Merang location there are island with deep area, here we are talkin to 40-50m area for you to train your deep freedive. To freedive to 40-50m area will take days to progress and to find a location where you can comfortably train and also do your work get access to internet, access to area with variety of healthy meals, variety of accommodation to suit your style and needs, Merang can be best location to add in your list as you can travel to Kuala Terengganu, city centre to find all your needs.
Talking about depth, yu can find 50m area in Yu island or even 30m area closer to Bidong Island. so all this island you can do daytrip and closer to mainland and will give you flexibility to plan for your trip.
Check our training videos for our instructor group in Merang this year. After being hiatus for few months, we take this opportunity to train again. We managed to find 50m depth however we just stick to 40m dive site as this is enough for our training during this trip.
Freediving destination in Malaysia
Freediver always choose freediving location with clear water visibility with endless depth, calm water, no current, with underwater marine life and colourful coral to swim, easy access to reach, healthy food to find and beautiful island scenery to relax and calm our mind. Either you want to train with line to get deeper or to do it leisurely to enjoy the beauty of tropical underwater, Malaysia also have good freedive site where you can enjoy for both purpose. Here is the list of freediving site in Malaysia where you can explore:
In East Malaysia, there are few island you can explore for freediving. Sabah is known for many beautiful island for diving/ snorkeling.
1.Sipadan / Mabul / Sibuan Island (Sabah)
Sipadan is definitely a must visit place for freediving. The island is unique because the only oceanic island rising from more than 600m from sea bed like an atoll in Malaysia. Around the island is full with different dive site where you can go for school of barracudas, trevally, jack fish, bumphead, sharks, and turtles. Sipadan also surrounded by wall of colourful coral and it will drop until sea bottom. We can only do daily trip to Sipadan, and you can choose to stay in Mabul or Semporna.
In Mabul, ideal for doing your freediving course, or go fortraining and also for recreational. The island surrounded by beautiful diving site with great depth for all level from beginner to master. You can also try freedive under the oil rig which turn to a resort.
If you stay in Semporna, Sibuan Island will be the best to do your freediving courses and training. With 40m depth we can find from the shore and good visibility all year round, it is definitely the best location for training.
2.Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (Sabah)
If you travel to Kota Kinabalu, you can check Mamutik Island or Sepanggar with less than 10 minutes boat ride. If you have more time to travel, can check Mantanani island for more clear water and best island experience.
Recommended: Beginner level
Freedive Centre: Apnea Odyssey KK
Freediving Certification: SSI Freediving
In Peninsular Malaysia, there are many island you can go for freediving too. The east coast from north to South is full with white sandy beach and crystal clear water and beautiful island. However between November until February is monsoon season. You can plan your freediving activity between March to October.
Tioman Island one of favourite destinations for snorkelers and scuba divers. You can find beautiful coral and colourful fishes just from the shore or you can do boat hoping and explore thhe dive site around Tioman. Many of the dive site you can find swim through and many of topical marine life. If you never try freediving before, Tioman can be a good place to start. Just take short vacation while experience the island life with the sea or jungle view and complete your freedivng course. You can also go for training to go deeper as deep as 40m or just go for leisure and explore the beauty of Tioman’s underwater.
Recommended: Beginner to Master level
Freedive Centre: Freedive Tioman
Freediving certification: Aida/ Apnea Total/ Molchanovs
Aur and Dayang Island located in the south of Peninsular Malaysia is good site for freediving training and master course. Here you can find great depth more than 50m and there are many dive site for recreational too. The island is chosen to grow Giant Clam and you can find in few dive site around the island. You can also go hiking while you in the island and experience the top view of the island or watch sunrise.
Recommended : Beginner to Master level
Tenggol island is famour for whale shark sighting. For freediver, it has an ideal condition to train for master course as deep as 40m in the bay area and protected from wind. In Tenggol also you can find many ship wrecks to explore and many cave and swim through to explore.
Recommended: Beginner to Master level
If you stay in Merang, you can do daytrip to Bidong Island for snorkeling or freediving. You can also go for freediving course or training. Bidong is famous for the history of the island and also now become a research centre for local university. Bidong definitely best alternative for your freediving activity if you want to stay in mainland.
Agency: AIDA, Molchanov, PADI
7.Lang Tengah / Redang Island
Lang Tengah and Redang will be good location for your freediving photo or for your social media post for crystal clear water. Redang Island will be good location to start your freediving course with good visibility and accessible to swim from shore. In Lang tengah you can go for advanced level. There are house wreck from shore you can swim and freedive. It is advisable to take boat with the resort due to boat traffic.
Freedive Centre: Dolphin Lee Aquatic (Redang)
Agency: PADI Freediving
Freedive Centre: Lang Tengah Island Resort
Agency : AIDA and Padi freedive
Located in the North east coast peninsular Malaysia. You can easily travel by taking boat from Kuala Besut jetty. Perhentian always become attraction of snorkelers and scuba diving or travel destination to family and friends. You can go for freediving here and suitable for beginner to advanced level.
Freedive Centre: Freedive AndRasa
Located in the West coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is the easy access to travel from Langkawi or Penang. Payar always become destinations for snorkelers, scuba divers who visit Langkawi. During monsoon season in east coast is best to check this island for training and also for recreational. There are many underwater marine life you can see here like grouper and colourful coral. Payar island best for beginner level of freediver as you can easily get 15m depth from shore.
FULL ARTICLE CAN BE READ on EZDIVE Magazine March 2021
Azua Shafii is a Malaysian Female record holder for multiple discipines for freediving in Malaysia. She is also the first SSI Freediving Instructor for Singapore, Malaysia Brunei.