This page have been written in collaboration with Anne (2 spots)

Pulau Rawa is part of a string of small islets and reefs lying 5 kilometers northwest of the Perhentian Islands. Around this idyllic island bathed by crystal-clear waters, you will see clownfish, angelfish, stingrays and dozens of other reef fish species. If you stay on the Perhentian, don’t miss this tour, which is one of the best snorkeling experience you can expect in the area.

Coral reef snorkeling at Rawa Island, Malaysia

How to get there?

Rawa Island lies a few miles from the Perhentian Islands. You will need to book a half-day (or full-day) boat tour from your hotel or a dive center to reach this snorkeling site. Tours to Rawa Island leaves daily from Kecil and Besar, and generally includes a second snorkeling stop on Pulau Serenggeh. Lunch is generally not included in day tours, but your guide will drop you at a restaurant. Check when booking.

Water entrance

You will generally enter the water from the boat. Follow the instructions of your guide.

Rawa Island snorkeling map, Perenthian Islands

Exploration

The area to explore covers the reefs located along the beach, on the west side of the island. The seabed is mostly sandy, interspersed with rocks and coral clusters (including branching, lettuce and porites coral), pretty well preserved (↕2-5m/6-15ft). Numerous giant clams, of all sizes, are embedded in the reef.

The underwater life in this spot is rich and varied, and you will most probably spot a wide variety of fish species. Rabbitfish, wrasse, damselfish and triggerfish are easy to see.

Bluespotted stingray at Rawa Island

Sea anemones are living on the reef: most of them contain ocellaris clownfish, better known by kids as “Nemo”. In the deeper areas, you may get the chance to see a shoal of green humphead parrotfish. They can grow up to 3ft/1.30 meters long, and as they are particularly impressive. With a little luck, you will perhaps cross the road of a magnificent blue spotted stingray or a blacktip reef shark.

Giant clam at Rawa island

At this spot, the water is particularly clean and clear, and the visibility is excellent. Sea conditions can vary, on the other hand. Follow your tour guide’s instructions.

Restaurants and accommodation

Rawa Island is an unspoiled site, and there are no restaurant on the islet. Take your own water with you, at least. Lunch is generally not included in day tours, but your guide will drop you at a restaurant. Check beforehand.

  • Level required Intermediary
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a boat
  • Potential DangersStingrays
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsPrice of boat half-day/day tour
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.