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Macro diving in Langkawi, what to expect.

seahorse macrodiving langkawi

What is the diving like in Langkawi? Not much is written about scuba diving at the small islands...yet. And let’s be honest, Langkawi is not known for having crystal clear water… so, with limited visibility, what can you expect from scuba diving this area on the west-coast of Malaysia? The answer is very enthusiastically: heaps!

Marinelife on the surface and under water

While on a short boat-ride to the divesites, around the small islands, you can spot eagles, hornbills, dolphins, porpoises, otters and monkeys. Those animals are just a bonus to the heaps of marinelife you can spot under water. The usual visibility around Langkawi is between 2 and 4m; with many particles in the water there is just not enough light for many hard-corals, however, the soft-corals are thriving. And since you can’t see very far, macro-diving is the way to go in Langkawi.

Colorful reef

You will find bright, white whip-corals densely covering the bottom, with purple and blue variations in between, red harp-corals and yellow fans where the slow currents bring them nutrition. Enormous purple barrel-sponges with white and pink broccoli-corals all around them. Even in limited visibility there is a lot of color!

Looking closer, in between and under the rocks, in the corals and in the sand, it is full of life. With good buoyancy control, you can focus on the small creatures in the reef: decoratorcrabs, anemone-, whipcoral- and razorshrimps, and nudibranchs are aplenty. But what most people come here for are the seahorses.

Seahorses and other creatures

The seahorse can be found in many colors, once you know where to look for them, of course. They hold to the corals with their tails and spend their time eating plankton, small shrimp and tiny fish. When we are lucky we get to see a pregnant male (yes you read that right, it is the male that will carry the babies to term). They are, however, not very good models and often shyly turn away from cameras; it takes a lot of patience to get a good shot. So far 3 species have been identified in the waters around Langkawi: The common seahorse (H.kuda), the tigertail seahorse (H.comes) and the Spiny seahorse (H. spinosissimus).

Easier to take pictures of are the frogfish. These little “blobs” sit still in the coral waiting to ambush their prey. They have amazing camouflage even when they are orange or pink. They use their little “hands” to hold on to the branches of the rusty gorgonians or the rocks, where they completely bland in.

Have you ever seen a Toadfish? These bottomdwellers are usually found under a rock. The species we have around Langkawi has a very camouflaged face with a beard (like a scorpionfish). The beautiful eyes are at the top of the head and look like they have long lashes. When disturbed, this fish will retreat backwards in its hiding place.

There are only a few fish that swim vertical, among which the seahorse head-up and the razorfish head-down. You can find both around Langkawi. The small razorfish adapted their swim position so they can hide in sea-urchin spines and, in Langkawi, between the whipcorals. Their body is very flat like a razorblade and therefor hard to see from their front or back. They are usually found synchronized swimming in pairs or small schools, are shy and can move much faster than divers.

If you take your time looking in the sand, you might find some small, weird looking purple puffy balls on a stalk. These are Puffballsponges (Oceanapia sagittaria), and are actually just a small part of the sponge, the bigger part is under ground. The small but photogenic puffballs are the part of the organism where water is pushed out after taking food from it.

Experience it yourself

Would you like to come macro-diving in Langkawi? At Langkawi Scuba you dive with only 2 divers per PADI instructor so you can take your time to see all the incredible creatures and take photos. Scuba diving for certified divers and PADI courses are organized on two-tank trips in the morning and single-tank trips in the afternoon. The diveseason is from October till May. Contact Langkawi Scuba at wa +60199049040 or


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