Doing your Open Water dive course in Malaysia can be as cheap as doing it in Thailand. Only the Malaysian islands are less crowded (still plenty of beach parties and bars) and the reefs are generally better. So why not doing it in Malaysia?
Most people who are traveling in South East Asia know Koh Tao (Thailand) as the place to be to get your first scuba dive experience and license. We did our courses on Perhentian Island and Tioman Island (Open Water and Advanced) and we can highly recommend it.
Open Water course Perhentian Island
Perhentian Island, a small island on the east coast of Malaysia Peninsula, is a perfect place to start with your first scuba dive experience. The water is tropical warm, crystal clear and the reefs are very healty. Besides that, diving here is relativly easy so perfect for beginning divers.
I did my Open Water course on Perhentian and I loved it. I loved the whole atmosphere on the island, everyone was busy during the day with diving and their course and in the evening all the travelers gathered together on the beach to talk about their experiences, drink and watch the beautiful sunset.
The dive shop I dove with is called Panorama Divers. The dive shop is professional and safe. The equipment was all in a good condition and the instructors were very friendly and helpful. The dive sites we went to were really pretty, of course, as it was my first time of scuba diving, I had nothing to compare it with, but on my first dives we already saw a few turtles, reef sharks and schools of barracuda.
Day to day dive experience
An Open Water dive course takes generally 5 days to complete (theory, 5 skills dives and 4 open water dives), I stayed a bit longer on the island to relax after my dive course and do some more diving as a certificate diver. Believe me, it is really hard to leave Perhentian Island! 🙂
Day 1: Theory Day
The first day of your course is basically just theory. You have to watch instruction video’s and learn out of your theory book (you get the book with your course). It sounds a bit boring but you need it for your exam and own safety during diving.
Day 2: Theory day and first introduction dive and skills dive
Today is the first day to practice your skills in the water. The waters around Perhentian Island are very shallow, so they don’t practice in pools but just in the sea, which I really liked! You will only go to 4 meters, so you can get used to breathing into a regulator. The next skill dive you have to practice things like clearing your mask and clearing your regulator etc.
Day 3: Theory day and 2 skills dive
Today you will do some more skills dives. You will also learn how to set up your equipment and some more exercises in your book.
Day 4: Exam day and 2 open water dives
Believe me, the exam is nothing to worry about. The questions are relatively easy and 99% of the students pass the exam (this is what our instructor told us). If you have read the book and did the excercises in the book, you will defenitely pass. After your exam you will do your first open water dive, which means your first real dive and not just skills in shallow water.
Day 5: Last 2 dives to complete your course
This is the best part of the course! You do a fun dive like you are already a certificate diver. We went to 18 meters and I was allowed to take my under water camera with me. After these 2 dive you are a certificate diver for the rest of your life!
Dive shop info & costs
Dive shop: Panorama Divers
Costs: MYR1000 ($250) for the Open Water course including 4 nights accommodation in a 20 bed dorm.
Booking: You can book the course in advance by sending an email to email@example.com. If you have time, you can also just show up on the island a see if they have place for you to do the course, you might have to wait 1 or 2 days before you can start.
Want to know more information about Perhantian Island? Read here my blog post about this stunning island.