Are you ready for an underwater adventure in Southeast Asia? Home to The Coral Triangle, this region attracts scuba diving fans world over. Secondly, the reef system in the Western Pacific Ocean marine region is one of the most significant in the world.
So, strap on your gear, wear your flippers and get ready to plunge into the deep blue sea. Views of stunning reefs, thriving marine ecosystems, and well-preserved wrecks await you. Explore the amazing world underneath beautiful azure waters in these top scuba diving spots.
Before we head out to sea, let’s start by answering some common queries regarding Scuba diving.
Is Scuba Diving Safe?
Yes, scuba diving is safe. However, you need to take safety precautions, undergo proper training, and observe sound diving practices. It’s also important to wear requisite gear such as a life jacket and to be careful when near natural water bodies to prevent any unpleasant incidents.
If you have recently visited your dentist, it is recommended that you consult him first before diving, according to research findings.
Can I Go Scuba Diving In Southeast Asia?
Most definitely! Some of the world’s best diving locations are found in Southeast Asia notably in The Coral Triangle. This biodiversity epicenter is formed by the fusion of the South China Sea, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. The region hosts the widest variety of marine life in the world and offers a great array of exciting diving options.
When are the Best Times of the Year to Go Scuba Diving In Southeast Asia?
It is possible to scuba dive all year round, but the best diving times are from March to October. December to February has the rainy season which affects visibility. Visibility can also be hampered by storms and very strong winds. The best visibility is between November and January.
What are the Top 10 Scuba Diving Spots In Southeast Asia?
The waters of Southeast Asia are for the most part warm and crystal clear. This makes diving possible practically everywhere though some locations really stand out. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will be sure to have an unforgettable experience. Read on to discover the top ten scuba diving spots found here.
1.Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Hailed as one of the world’s best diving sites, Sipadan Island boasts a rich marine habitat –- and the largest barrier reef in Southeast Asia. Situated off the coast of Sabah, Malaysia, it’s perched atop an extinct undersea volcano and is surrounded by deep canyons.
The site has great visibility and you can expect to find a barracuda here or swim beside a vast school of jackfish.
2. Layang Layang, Malaysia
This remote and exotic island in the South China sea offers undisturbed diving adventures. The biggest attraction in this diving site is the scalloped hammerhead shark. Though visibility at the pier is at most two to four metres, shore dives can be undertaken. Manta rays are a common sight here in the deep waters.
Dive season is all year round but it’s much easier to spot sharks during mating season which occurs between the months of April and May.
3. Koh Samui & Koh Tao, Thailand
Are you a newbie diver? Then Koh Tao is the best diving site for you. This location is world-renowned for new diver certifications. Featuring warm, crystal clear waters, it offers a huge array of diving sites, whale shark and green sea turtles too! Koh Samui is no less popular as a diving location with Ang Thong National Marine Park and Sail Rock among the best known.
Koh Samui features shore dives too while whale sharks can be sighted in the deep sea.
4. Similan Islands, Thailand
Found in the Andaman Sea, Similan Islands’s remote location and rich marine life make them an excellent diving spot. Manta rays, turtles, and whale sharks are a few of the wide range of extraordinary marine life available here. The location offers divers near-perfect conditions –- clear visibility, warm waters, and gentle currents.
The Islands also offer dazzling views of white beaches and deep azure waters and the best diving conditions are from November to April.
5. Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
This collection of hundreds of beautiful islands Situated in the centre of the Andaman Sea. It boasts varied marine creatures such as manta rays, whale sharks and mobulas among others. The location is isolated but divers from Thailand have visited the dive site for many years.
The area which has remained pristine for years features amazing sights both above and below the water surface.
6. Malapascua, Philippines
This diving destination is famous for its thresher sharks which can be sighted most mornings. The thresher sharks are a beauty to behold and make a visit to this site worthwhile. The island hosts many dive sites while the stunning beaches and amazing reef and marine creatures add to the grace and beauty of this location.
Divers of all levels can enjoy diving here as they marvel at the beautiful sights.
7. Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, Philippines
This UNESCO world heritage site teems with beautiful marine creatures. Since you need to use a liveaboard boat to access this remote area, it’s one of the best dive spots in the Philippines. This is due to its minimal crowds. It also happens to be situated within the Coral Triangle thus features sharks, green turtles, hawksbill and reef fish.
Your eyes are spoilt for choice as you feast on different types of corals and huge array of wall dives. Strong currents are common hence experienced divers are more suited here.
8. Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
This is a stunning group of islands located in Eastern Indonesia. The diver’s paradise boasts incredibly colorful reef walls, corals and varied marine life. Indeed, the Indonesian Tourism Board features it in its ads showcasing its biodiversity.
Here, you will find schools of tuna and mackerels, reef sharks and manta rays. While visibility is great, strong currents are common. Advanced divers are best suited here.
9. The Gili Islands, Indonesia
Found in the Coral Triangle, Gili Islands are one of Indonesia’s best diving destinations. They host the largest diversity of marine life anywhere in the world. Regarded as the turtle capital of the world, you can easily spot green and hawksbill turtles among other rare creatures as you plunge into the deep waters.
There are three islands in total and the diving site is suitable for all diving levels.
10. Banda Islands, Micronesia
These remote islands are home to a huge number of marine creatures including tropical fishes and a reef system that’s almost 6000 metres deep. Owing to this immense depth, humpback, blue and pilot whales are a common sight-below and above the water!
The islands are remote and feature a low human population. This has led to minimal fishing pressure and has contributed to a thriving, natural, and healthy reef system.
We hope this list has inspired you to consider scuba diving as your next sporting activity. Most of the sites cater to all levels of difficulty hence both newbies and experienced divers are covered. They’re ideal spots to enjoy with your close friends and family. Gear up for your next diving vacation and get ready for an incredible experience!
Nikos Vasilellis is the Founder of Nereids Aquatic Coaching and has a passion and love for aquatic activities which is combined with his care for helping others. Nereids Aquatic Coaching helps children and adults overcome their fear of water by focusing on their individual strengths and helping them enjoy the aquatic environment safely.