Planning your next scuba diving vacation to Asia? You can find the best spots here!
There are thousands of amazing dive sites just waiting for you to discover Asia. From small islands where the only thing is diving, such as Malapascua in the Philippines to exciting destinations like Bali in Indonesia, the world is yours to discover. There are so many places to go that the choice can sometimes be overwhelming but I’ve narrowed it down for you to my Top 10 scuba sites. You won’t be disappointed!
Sipadan and Mabul, Malaysian Borneo
Sipadan, in Malaysian Borneo, is one of the most amazing dive spots in the world. It is a protected island, with only a certain numbers of divers/day, so book early to guarantee your spot. It’s so amazing because all around the island there are almost vertical walls sloping away hundreds of meters into the deep blue. When I was there, I saw hundreds of sharks, more turtles than I could count, a whale-shark, and thousands of schooling Barracudas. And that was just in one day.
And Mabul, in the same area is a macro diving paradise. All sorts of wacky, weird and unusual things for you to find each dive.
Jeju Island, South Korea
This unknown spot is a semi-tropical diving paradise. The best time of the year to go is Sept/Oct/Nov when the water temps are still quite warm, and visibility can get up to 30 m. You can see lots of hard corals, huge schools of fish, macro stuff, and the occasional big thing. The best part about it is that you’ll have dived somewhere very few people in the world have. Currents can be wicked, so this spot is not for the inexperienced. The best company to dive with is Ralf, a German guy who runs Big Blue 33.
Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock, Thailand
The Similan Islands are best seen on a Liveaboard trip from either Khao Lak or Phuket. There is an international airport in Phuket, which makes this a convenient place to dive. There are also speedboats for those with less time.
The Similans are a group of 9 islands which have an astounding array of coral and marine life. Think visibility of 30m, warm water, and white sandy beaches. You can see almost anything here if you’re lucky. And even if you’re not, you’ll still see more than enough to leave you happy you came. Also in the area is Koh Boh, which is Manta Ray paradise and Richelieu Rock, one of the top dive sites in the world. It’s a horseshoe shaped rock formation that is the only thing around for miles, which is why it attracts so much stuff.
Wicked Diving is the best company around for diving in the Similans.
Malapascua Island, Philippines
This is not an easy site to get to, involving a flight to Cebu, a bus and then a short boat ride but it will be well worth your trip. It’s a tiny island where diving is the only gig in town. Most people come to see the unusual and rare Thresher Sharks, but there are plenty of other things to see. Non-divers can enjoy some rest, away from the crowds, and just enjoy some time on the beautiful beaches.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The largest Coral Reef in the world, diving options are endless. You could spend an entire year here and not hit all the sites. Expect to see anything and everything here. The best way to make use of your time here is to find a liveaboard trip. Only diving, minus all the traveling and worrying about logistics and food. Look for an environmentally friendly one, as much of the reef is damaged from overuse.
Indonesia is home to the greatest number of marine species to be found anywhere in the world and Sulawesi is the best spot. Unusual currents can be thanked for this phenomenon. You will see an incredible variety of species on every single dive, and if you’re searching for the unusual, this is your spot to find it. This is a protected area, so expect it to remain stunning for years to come. Visibility is 35-40m, and the water is warm.
Palau consists of 6 small islands that most people haven’t heard of unless you’re a driver of course. It’s a tropical paradise, lying 1000 km east of the Philippines. And, if you are a diver, it is a site that you need to see once before you die.
You can check out WWII wrecks, experience proximity to reef sharks, and impressive coral diversity. A highlight of the trip is floating in a lake of non-stinging jellyfish! There are 1300 types of fish and shark sightings are almost guaranteed.
The only drawback is the expense of getting there. But, it will be worth I’m sure
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Bali, along with being an exciting top-side destination is a macro and pelagic paradise. There are deep drop-offs, which make for some exciting chances to see sharks and other big stuff. There is one of the most famous wrecks in the world and seagrass beds. There are hundreds of dive sites to keep you interested for months, seeing different stuff every day. It’s easy to get to, which flights in and out every day. Non-divers in your family will also find enough to keep them entertained, so it is the perfect destination to check out.
North of the Similans in Thailand, lies more dive sites in the Andaman Sea in Burma. Only opened to tourism in 1997, these sites are almost untouched, and you will have a rare opportunity to dive in places where few have been before. Pristine conditions to be sure! Visibility can be up to 50m, with temps from 25 degree Celsius and up. You can see almost anything, from the rare small stuff to bigger things like whale sharks and mantas. The best way to access these sites is to take a liveaboard from Phuket.
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Palawan is one of the best-kept diving secrets around. Despite having 3 carriers with direct flights from Manila, this place seems uncrowded even during high season. The main attraction is the over 20 shipwrecks from WWll and beautiful coral reefs. There are also plenty of things to do topside here such as horseback riding, white sandy beaches, and kayaking.