Ever considered to learn Scuba diving? For only 229€ (1065 MYR) including food and accommodation for 4 days you can dive into a yet unknown and mysterious world and breathe underwater.
Sounds too good to be true?
That’s what I thought and it was the best decision I had ever made!
HOW TO GET TO PERHENTIAN ISLANDS?
This incredibly valuable offer can be found on Malaysia’s Perhenthian islands in the Northeast. Not only are these islands incredibly beautiful, you can also snorkel with sharks if you feel like it.
Just fly to Kota Bharu and then take a bus or taxi (1 hour) to Kuala Besut jetty. There are cheap mini busses for 25 MYR – don’t take a cab.
Or get a bus from wherever you are (Kuala Lumpur has two per day) and drive directly to Kuala Besut. Busses are around 173 MYR and can be booked here.
From there you take a ferry to Perhenthian Kecil, which is the smaller of the two islands and the more relaxed one. The ferry is 70 MYR per person (35 MYR one way).
NOTE: there won’t be a ferry after 5pm, so choose your bus wisely or you’ll end up having to spend a night at Kuala Besut, which happened to us and it’s quite boring there.
There’s an additional entrance fee when you enter the ferry, which is 35 MYR.
The ferry- which is more like a shaky speed boat takes around 30 minutes to the stand and you won’t have much space inside. Nonetheless it will bring you to your destination.
Here you’ll make your way to “Angel Divers”, which is located at Long Beach. You’ll sign up for scuba diving and will be provided with a bunk bed in a dorm. The dorm is extremely uncomfortable and there’s only electricity from 7pm until 7am, but it’s cheap.
Instead of booking into the dorm (which is included in the price), you can get your own double room (which is around 100 MYR, but can be bargained down to 80 if you’re lucky). In that case you only pay 1000 MYR for the diving and food. It is just a little more comfortable than the dorm, but doesn’t have ants inside.
NOTE: Budget accommodation on Perhentian islands is in general not the best unless you pay insane amounts of money. Don’t expect too much. The island itself is so beautiful though, which totally makes up for that.
WHY ANGEL DIVER?
There are several diving agencies on Long Beach, why this one? Well first, the price is unbeatable and second the people are amazing. Make sure to book your PADI OPEN WATER course with Wendy. She’s funny, straight forward and makes sure you’ll have a great time. I had been having trouble with my equalizing my ears when diving down and she was extremely patient with me and took all the time I needed.
Another reason to learn how to dive with Angel Diver is the equipment. They’ve got professional equipment and (unlike other diving agencies) you do not have to walk with it along the beach. After a dive just get out of the boat and head back to Angel Diver. I’ve seen other diving schools that had their boats a bit further away and made the people walk a long way at the beach. Keep in mind you’ll have weight belts on and those tanks are heavy as f***.
WHICH COURSE DO I TAKE?
If you’re a beginner you have to start with the PADI OPEN WATER course, which will teach you all the basics you’ll need to know. Once you’re certified (generally after 4 days) you can dive down to 18 meters.
If you’re then like “daaamn I want more!” Go on and make your PADI ADVANCED for another 3 days. This one will be around 965 MYR with accommodation (and 800 without). Here you can go as deep as 30 meters and choose some special training (such as buoyancy control or diving through wrecks and stuff).
Still hyped? Continue with the PADI RESCUE and after that you can learn how to be a dive master yourself.
I stopped after the PADI OPEN WATER and was more than happy with that. But up to you – it will nowhere be as affordable as there- just saying.
HOW’S THE COURSE LIKE?
The course starts with theory you’ll have to study on your own. I’d recommend to start on your own and then revise the next day. The book has 5 chapters and it’s a lot. But it’s easy. You read a chapter- answer the questions and then watch a video about that section. You do this 5 times and after several hours your head will smoke and you’ll feel like the slightest bit of concentration has vanished forever.
Good thing is that you practice the theory repeatedly – meaning that if you study a bit you cannot fail the test.
The test consists of two parts: theory and practice.
The theoretical exam will be done at the end of your course (enough time to study – you need 75% to pass and the questions are multiple choice and more or less the same as in the book).
The practical “exams” are done while learning to dive and they are alright.
You learn for example how to remove your regulator (the device where the air comes out) while scuba diving under water and plug it back in your mouth, you’ll learn how to dive up with no air in your tank and also how to help your diving buddy underwater in case he runs out of air. One of the most important things to do underwater by the way is to keep on breathing! Even if your regulator falls out of your mouth: get the bubbles going out! Never stop or you’ll injure your lungs.
One exercise I do hate is to remove the mask underwater and put it back on – especially because you’ll have to blow out these bubbles constantly. Damn that one was annoying and I guess I’ve lost most of my hair trying to get it back on, hahaha. Anyways, you’ll get better every dive and at one point it’s getting easy.
I was also always panicking the first minutes under water and just kept breathing heavily until my heart beat slower again. Here I can only stress to find a diving instructor you trust – one that is patient! If you do not feel comfortable CHANGE your instructor! I was lucky with Wendy and can only recommend her to you!
At the beginning you might be low on air soon. My first dives lasted for 55 minutes, but even if you have to get up after 20 minutes, don’t worry! I heard it’s normal and will improve with time.
ONCE YOU’RE CERTIFIED...
Once you passed all of the course requirements – and don’t worry, you will! It’s time to get your tank on your back and dive! You will be in another world and I cannot stress how happy I was after each dive! I’m stoked now and. Can’t wait to explore more under water.
Keep in mind that if you dive you cannot fly within the next 12 hours. If you dive 2 times a day it’s 18 hours.
DONT FORGET TO SNORKEL!
Oh and don’t forget to snorkel as well. Most fish can be seen while snorkeling – especially the colorful ones. And hey! Do you dare to get in the water with sharks?
Make sure to take a boat ride to Shark Bay and snorkel with these friendly giants. By the way: sharks eat fish way smaller than you – nothing will happen, they are chill!
Knowing the basics now, you can schedule your next adventure! If you’ve got any question feel free to comment below and I’ll answer as soon as possible.