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Best Dive Sites in Asia
Kat3rina - 5/24/2019 8:20 AM
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Category: Travel
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Best Dive Sites in AsiaTraveling to Asia is as exciting as it sounds; Asia is the largest and most diverse continent on Earth, so you’ll get more than your money’s worth of culture, beauty, history, and adventure.

Few divers can forget their first exhilarating encounter with a shark and for many, diving with sharks is the ultimate, awe-inspiring experience. From encounters with schooling hammerheads and hunting reef sharks to searching for unique species and snorkeling with the giants of the ocean.

Asia is one of the best places to solo-travel and is also the scuba-dive mecca of the world. However, a continent this big is not easy to navigate – especially underwater. Thus, we’ve rounded up the best scuba diving destinations in Asia.

Thoddoo island in the Maldives

Maldives is a dream destination. It comprises 26 ring-shaped islands formed by coral, which are referred to as “atolls”. The Maldives is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, close to India and Sri Lanka, so you can easily visit if you’re traveling in South Asia.

Thoddoo island has many inexpensive guesthouses. Scuba diving is one of the main reasons tourists want to travel here. Scuba diving is usually offered by most hotels in the Maldives and will have a diving school located nearby.

The diving here is a phenomenon! You can expect to see turtles, manta rays and even sharks. Rasdhoo island is known to have white tip reef sharks in its vicinity.

Malapascua, Philippines

The Philippines has been known for its beautiful beaches and has been a known tourist destination in Asia. The country is made up of 7,107 islands that make it a paradise.

Renowned for the thresher shark sightings, Malapascua is the only destination in the world where these beautiful creatures grace us with their presence every morning and getting a glimpse of the sleek and elegant threshers is one heck of a way to start your day in paradise!

Even though the vast majority of divers head to Malapascua for the thresher sharks, it’s hard not to fall in love with Malapascua’s laid-back island life, stunning beaches, and incredible reefs and marine life beyond the thresher sharks.

There are many awesome dive sites around the island – be sure not to miss Gato Island, Bugtong Bato, Kalanggaman, and Chocolate Island especially if you love macro!

Komodo National Park in Indonesia

The Komodo National Park was established in 1980 and comprises a group of volcanic islands. It was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1986 and has been carefully preserved ever since.

It forms part of the Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversities on the planet. It has 75% of the world’s coral species, 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species and over 3,000 marine fish species.

The result is a paradise for scuba divers. However, currents can be quite strong, so this is best saved for advanced, more experienced divers.

Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Nusa Lembongan is a tiny island located off of the mainland of Bali. Nusa Lembongan and sister islands Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida offer superb diving with beautiful and colorful corals and spectacular marine life.

Due to the massive tourism that has spiked on Lembongan in recent years, many were afraid that the underwater world might have been destroyed – but luckily, the marine life was thriving and just as stunning as it always has been.

There are many things to do around Nusa Lembongan beyond scuba diving, such as surfing, stand-up-paddle boarding, snorkeling, beach hopping, and cliff jumping. Whether traveling solo, as a couple or with friends, there is something to do for everyone on this paradise island.

Tubbataha, Philippines

Tubbataha is without question, the world’s most sought-after dive destination with more than 360 coral species and 600 fish species that make a home in this area of Southeast Asia.

Tubbataha Reefs National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the center of the Coral Triangle. This protected marine park has been a base for marine biology research for decades and has been known to host some of the best diving spots in the Philippines.

What makes Tubbataha unique and desirable is not only its impressive marine biodiversity but also its remote location that is only accessible by a liveaboard in a short window from March to June.

With untouched reefs flourishing in colorful corals and abundant marine life, if Tubbataha doesn’t blow you away I don’t know what will.

Sipadan, Malaysia

Located in northeast Borneo off of Sabah, Pulau Sipadan in Southeast Asia is an unusual island in Malaysia that has been built on top of a non-active volcano. With steep walls surrounding this oceanic island dropping as deep as 600 meters, the unique Sipadan underwater topography is home to beautiful corals and pelagics that attract scuba divers from all over the world.

As Sipadan got on the map as the best diving in Asia, Sabah National Park introduced permit-based entry to protect Sipadan’s ecosystem, allowing only 120 divers to access the protected national marine park on any given day.

Due to the limited distribution of the permits to each dive resort and operators in the area, diving guests are encouraged to book an extended stay (3N/4D and longer), as early as possible. Although a permit cannot be guaranteed at the time of booking, the chance of accessing Sipadan Island increases the longer you stay. Your access to the permit depends on a combination of luck, the timing of booking, duration of your dive package, and which operator you dive with.

Coron, Philippines

Located at the northern tip of Palawan, Coron is also known as the capital of wreck diving.

Even though history indicates that over 20 Japanese vessels were attacked and sunk by the US military in Coron during the Second World War, only about a dozen have been recovered and turned into world-famous dive sites.

Aside from the astonishing shipwrecks, Coron also offers remarkable underwater landscapes with cliffs, tunnels, and caves that are hard to find elsewhere in SE Asia.

Although the sunken Japanese fleets are the highlights of Coron, the idyllic island boasts stunning limestone cliffs, crystal clear lakes, beautiful white sand beaches, and turquoise lagoons that make it a fantastic tropical destination for anyone looking for a paradise getaway.

So be sure to schedule plenty of time in Coron, as there is so much to explore both above and underwater on this magical island!

Alor, Indonesia

Alor is an archipelago located in southeast Indonesia just north of West Timor, known primarily among the diving community. Some speculate that Alor is the “next Raja,” with spectacular diving in the Banda Sea. But due to its remote location, Alor has so far managed to remain under the radar from mass tourism.

Diving in Alor is a real treat for scuba diving fans, as it offers a broad spectrum of marine species, ranging from big pelagics (whales and mola-mola sightings are not rare), superb macro life, spectacular coral diversity, to enormous schoolings of fish.

While there are now a handful of well-established land-based operators on Alor Island, the best way to explore some of the hidden treasures are with liveaboards, as you can cover more “grounds” with a floating resort.

Some dive sites not to be missed are Kal’s Dream, The Cathedral, Mike’s Delight, Paradise Point, The Fault line, Mirror Image, Schools Out, The Bullet, The Backyard, and Coconut Grove.

Sisters’ Island Marine Park, Singapore

Surprising to many, Singapore is not just a stopover for feasting and shopping. Did you know that Singapore also has a range of diving sites?

Because of its compact size, Singapore is very easy to travel and generally safe. It is a top choice for first-time international travel, family trips, and those seeking to indulge in metropolitan luxuries. While costs are significantly higher than the rest of Southeast Asia, a lot of people continue to visit Singapore because of its unique and top-notch attractions that cater to almost every type of traveler.

Opened to the public recently, scuba divers are now able to register to explore the underwater trails at the Sisters’ Island Marine Park. A wide range of marine life has actually been found in the waters and NParks has developed a first dive trial. It’s located at Pulau Subar Laut or the Big Sister’s Island. Divers have spotted huge sea fans and many sea whips along the dive trail.

These are the few dive sites that made the list but I’m sure there are still a lot out there to explore. What are your favorite diving destinations? Let me know in the comments! :)