Breathtaking Underwater Photos From Tioman Island, Malaysia

Over the last decade I’ve traveled to countless exotic destinations famous for their world-renowned scuba diving yet for some strange reason I have never been PADI certified. However all that is about to change next month! Needless to say I am super excited!

In a couple weeks I’ll be headed out to Tioman Island, located in the South China Sea between peninsula Malaysia and Borneo. Scuba diving in Tioman is supposed to be incredible and judging from the photos my instructor Grahame has sent me as a teaser, it’s no surprise why.

Hard coral at Salang, Tioman Island

Soft coral fan at Salang, Tioman Island

  Who have I chosen to get certified with? Grahame Massicks, otherwise know as the Scuba Guru of Salang. After all if there is one thing I’ve learned from traveling the globe it’s always trust the gurus ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nudibranch at lunch, Salang, Tioman Island Nudibranch at lunch[/caption]

Lion fish at Tioman Island Lion fish

Cuttle fish in the blue, Salang, Tioman Island Cuttle fish

Grahame is originally from London but has been teaching diving courses in Salang, Tioman for over ten years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Lobster, Salang, Tioman Island

Lobster at Soyak Island, Tioman, Malaysia

You too can be taking photographs like this if you go scuba diving in Tioman.

False clown fish, Salang, Tioman Island

False clown fish, Salang, Tioman Island

Hard coral hideaway at Salang, Tioman Island

Hard coral, Salang, Tioman Island

Stay tuned because next month I’ll be writing more about scuba class, what the certification experience was like and posting my own photos of the amazing underwater sights at Tioman Island, Malaysia. Hopefully I’ll even be able to get enough footage to produce a video about the whole experience too! ๐Ÿ˜€

You can find more of Grahame’s impressive underwater photos as well as information on diving courses offered on his site, It also contains all the information you need to know about Tioman, such as how to get there and where to stay.

  All photos are copyright Grahame Massicks and used only with express permission.

Have you ever been scuba diving?

  Any plans to visit Malaysia soon?

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel." ย  Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

15 thoughts on “Breathtaking Underwater Photos From Tioman Island, Malaysia”

    • Yes, I am quite excited about my upcoming dives. Heard some great things about scuba diving in Malaysia — will let you know how it goes. Really hoping to get some amazing video footage similar to these photos so that I can compile an epic, jaw-dropping video when all is said and done ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Picking jaw up off of floor with these pictures Derek! Wow…..the thing that gets me is the color of these awesome creatures. The nudibranch is just something else. Between some of the amazing animals I’ve seen on land and sea in the tropics the different shades are just stunning. I spotted a techni-colored bug in Fiji that actually had xenon-type headlines that would pop on at night; I still trip when I think about it lol….Enjoy your diving and all the best with this trip!


    • Thanks Ryan. I agree with you, there are some amazingly colorful animals and bugs hidden in the far corners of this globe. Finding them and seeing them firsthand in all their splendor is the most rewarding part.

      But you want to know the best part? There was absolutely no editing done to these photos — other than adding in the watermark, of course, as per Grahame’s request.

  2. For clarity and honesty, I must add that while you did no editing, apart from the copyright, all these images have been processed through Photoshop. The vast majority of images are processed through various bits of software. Water absorbs light, and therefore ‘takes’ the colour out of what you see with the naked eye. A lot of divers carry a torch to replace the light and appreciate the amazing colours that are there. Photographers use ‘strobes’ which are underwater flash lights. Or they can stay shallow and just use ambient light. Editing software replaces the work photographers used to do in the dark room back in the old days! I just want to make the point that these images did not come ‘straight out of the box’!

    • Whoops, my apologies. I suppose I should have inquired about that before responding to Ryan’s comment. Thanks for all the information though Grahame, I didn’t realize about the strobes. The furthest I’ve been down is 100 metres but that was in a submarine in Hawaii and needless to say it was equipped with lights on the outside to illuminate what we were seeing. I realize of course that I won’t be going anywhere near this deep, however I am still quite curious as to what I will see and very excited as well ๐Ÿ™‚

      • No problem Derek – underwater photography is like a ‘dark art’ all on it’s own!
        You will not be going anywhere near 100 meters, and neither will I!! The deepest I have been is 40 m. which is the max for recreational divers. The Open Water course has a maximum depth of 18 m. which is plenty deep enough for your first few dives. And plenty deep enough to see lots of amazing marine life! See you soon….

    • I know! Nudibranches are quite possibly my favorite of all aquatic life forms. They are not only cool and crazy and a bit strange looking but all of the species come in such vibrant colors, it’s amazing! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I want one as a pet hahaha

    • Oh I know, definitely my favorite of the group. Nudibranches are such a fascinating family of species — really hope that I can get some decent photos of them myself. Less than one week to go! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Great photos Derek! These creatures are amazing and the waters are so clear. Do you know what type of camera they used for those shots? The one of the clown fish looks spectacular and so life like. I need to take some swimming lessons before I can ever even think about scuba lessons. My daughter is was taking swimming lessons at 13 months and I still don’t know how to swim and I live in sunny Florida. Go figure huh. Can’t wait to checkout your own photos and hear more about those scuba lessons.

    • Yes, it’s a Olympus — ehhh what’s the point, you didn’t subscribe to receive replies to your comment so you’ll never get this msg ๐Ÿ˜‰

      What, really? How is it your daughter is learning to swim at 13 months yet you as a Florida native have yet to learn? Tsk tsk tsk, that definitely seems like something that needs to be rectified soon. Is it too late to make another new years resolution?

    • Hi Thomas, I just spotted your inquiry about equipment. Some of the shots are old, and I had an Olympus 5050 with a screw on wide angle and macro lenses, while some were shot with my relatively new Olympus Pen E-PM1, both in Olympus housings (the water proof box!) With the old one I had one Sea & Sea YS-110 strobe (underwater flash) and last year I bought another. You can see a picture of my current rig here: and you can see more of my underwater photos here: and here: When you have learnt how to swim come out to Tioman and learn to dive!!


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