Barracuda Point, Sipadan:
At the aptly named Barracuda Point, divers find themselves the middle of a swirling vortex of chevron or blacktail barracuda. Grey reef sharks patrol the perimeter, and watch for bumphead parrotfish and turtles.
The Drop Off, Sipadan:
Widely regarded as the best beach dive in the world, the 550-metre/1800-foot drop-off is only steps off the beach. Look for jacks, bumphead parrotfish, white-tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, and green turtles, as well as a wide array of coral and sponges. Great for night dives, the reef is home to crabs, shrimp, octopus, and other invertebrates and nocturnal fish.
This drift dive along a vertical wall features soft corals, navy knotted sea fans and orange gorgonian fans hanging from ledges. Look for pygmy gobies, whip gobies, hawkfish, five-lined cardinalfish, harlequin sweetlips, Sulu fangblennies (known only to northern Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago), schools of moorish idols, redtooth triggerfish, unicornfish, bannerfish, round batfish, napolean wrasse, and bumphead parrotfish.
Turtle Cavern, Sipadan:
Sipadan is famous for its population of green turtles and the smaller hawksbill turtles. Turtle cavern is possibly their mausoleum where they come to die, or maybe they became lost in the caverns at night and drowned. The entrance to the cavern located at about 18 metres/60 feet and inside you will see the skeletons of many turtles. Deeper penetration of the system reveals the shoals of fish specifically adapted to the low light environment.
White-tip Avenue, Sipadan:
The wall at this site is full of terraces, crevices, ledges and vertical chimneys covered in multicolored sponges, black coral colonies, and gorgonian fans. Watch out for groupers, emperor angelfish, moorish idols, triggerfish, parrotfish, clownfish, boxfish, scorpionfish and butterflyfish, and (of course) white-tip reef sharks.
Crocodile Avenue, Sipadan:
A favorite of macro photographers, this sandy slope hides seahorses, crocodilefish, ghost pipefish, and other shy reef animals. Night dives reveal nocturnal cuttlefish, nudibranchs and crabs.
Eel Garden, Sipadan:
The sandy seafloor at 18 metres/60 feet is home to a colony of garden eels, as well as coral heads, gobies, blue ribbon eels, cleaner shrimp, frogfish, the rare lemon-colored moray, wrasses, damselfish, and mantis shrimp.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah:
The five islands of the Marine Park are characterized by shallow waters, coral gardens, and white sandy beaches. Look for scorpionfish, blue-spotted rays, cuttlefish, mantis shrimp, and the occasional green or hawksbill turtle. To dive in the marine park you must contact one of the local dive centers based in Kota Kinabalu.
Layang Layang is a small oceanic atoll rising 1800 metres/6,000 feet from the seafloor in the middle of the South China Sea, making it a wall diving mecca. Noted for dense schools of hammerhead sharks (sometimes hundreds) year-round, the site also boasts coral gardens, pristine reefs, and a spectacular array of reef life.
Luconia Shoals, Sarawak:
Underwater topography ranges from shallow coral gardens to magnificent drop-offs. To the south, the reef is covered with coral, gorgonian fans, sponges and various fish species. Large pelagics like sharks, dogtooth tunas, rainbow runners and snappers can be seen in the vicinity. The wall to the north features a drop-off to 30 metres/100 feet, with soft and hard corals, barracuda, snappers, tuna and occasionally manta rays.