Diving is one of the top things to do in Asia and with so many coral reefs, protected species, and amazing weather, it comes as no surprise!
A lot of people come to the seaside for some sunbathing and to dip their feet in the water. However, more and more of us are taking up the opportunity to go diving and explore under the sea. After all, less of the ocean floor has been discovered than the surface of the Moon!
But which are the most amazing dive sites in South East Asia? Let’s count up from 5-1:
Kanawa Island is located close to Rinca in Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara region. Tourists are flocking here in their droves nowadays as boating companies and liveaboards start up business in a protected area of the Komodo National Park! Diving around Kanawa Island is an experienced diver’s dream. Observe graceful manta rays, brave the currents with sharks, watch beautiful coral flow by on a drift dive, and marvel at the abundant diversity of marine life!
Bunaken Marine Life Park in the north east of Sulawesi in Indonesia is arguably the second best spot to dive in the whole of the country. It is easily accessible from Manado and the joys of diving off the coasts of Sulawesi include dolphins, manta rays, and giant clams! Bunaken is also at the centre of the so-called “Coral Triangle”, with over 390 different varieties of coral on view.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a protected area of the Sulu Sea, belonging to the Philippines. It is a well-respected marine and bird sanctuary consisting of two large atolls. These uninhabited islands are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travellers from all over the world come here to experience some of the best diving sites in the region, and the park is also the place to spot sharks, whales, and dolphins all year round!
The Mergui Archipelago is a secretive area of the Andaman Sea at the foot of Myanmar, not too far from Thai waters. Consisting of around 800 small islands, the archipelago is home to sharks at such imaginatively-named sites as “Shark Cave” or “Black Rock”. There is usually difficulty in getting permits to dive here in this pristine spot, but some boats will leave Phuket in Thailand for the archipelago and when you arrive you can be sure of almost total privacy, as the area – like all of Myanmar – is still yet to flourish for tourism.
Raja Ampat is located just offshore of the huge Papua island of Indonesia. It is known to be the paradise for all divers, with its clear waters, incredible marine biodiversity, and shipwrecks from World War 2 all scattered around waiting to be explored. There are over 1500 species of fish recorded so far around Raja Ampat waters, with the islands themselves remote and uninhabited by Human foot.
I am lucky enough to have visited Bunaken in Sulawesi, but I have yet to visit the other 4 in this list. Have you visited any top dive sites in Asia? Let me know what you think the best ones were!