10 Top Scuba Diving Sites In Asia

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10 Top Scuba Diving Sites In Asia

Komodo diving coral

Asia is a paradise with beautiful tropical islands, unspoiled beaches and crystal blue waters. it is an amazing destination for hundreds of dive locations in the world that provide amazing underwater adventure, diversity for sealife, diversity of fish species, big marine lifes such as sharks, whales, manta rays, shipwrecks and beautiful corals. We look at 10 top scuba diving sites in Asia constant popular topic of conversation among regional and worldwide divers.

1. Sipadan Island, Sabah, Malaysia

Sipadan Islands Diving

One of the top dive destination in the world, Pulau Sipadan or Sipadan Island is an oceanic island in Malaysia off the coast of Sabah. To go here you need to apply permit and therefore you need to plan your trip some time ahead. What makes Sipadan special is its highest marine biodiversity, colorful corals, turtles, sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and other marine life.

Recommended travel Period: December until the end of April

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Tawau Airport, Sabah.
  2. Transfer to Semporna
  3. Speedboat ride to Mabul island (stay accomodation resort)
  4. Speedboat ride to Sipadan island from Mabul

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2. Ari Atoll, Maldives

Ari Atoll Maldives Diving

Ari Atoll is one of the biggest atolls located at the west of Maldives archipelago. It is the hotspot for scuba divers all over the world famous for its submerged pinnacles with large marine life such as the whale shark, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, grey reef shark and amazing assortment of sea life.

Recommended travel Period: Dry season period, little rain and lower humidity, low current with good visibility is from December until April

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Male Airport, Maldives.
  2. Transfer by speedboat to Ari Atoll.

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3. Andaman Island, India

Andamans Diving

The Andaman islands is in the Bay of Bengal and made of a group of volcanic islands surrounded by deep undisturbed waters that have amazing beach, deep water, corals reefs and diverse marine lifes. There are a few best dive sites at Andaman Island that offers big fish action such as manta rays, silvertip reef sharks, leatherback turtles, beautiful hard and soft coral reefs, and diversity marine life.

Recommended travel Period: December until April, ideal conditions for scuba diving between January and May,

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Chennai International Airport, Chennai, India. Other ways to get there from Calcutta or Vishakapatnam. (Foreigners need to register at Foreigner’s Registration Offices at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and the immigration authorities at the airports)
  2. Transfer by passenger ship to Port Blair from Chennai and voyage takes about three days.

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4. Palawan Island, Philippines

Palawan Diving

The Palawan archipelago is Philipines ‘Last Ecological Frontier’, consists of 1,780 islands covered in virgin forest, pristine flora and fauna, coral reefs making it a great diving site. Finding dive centers and liveboard operators around Palawan is easy and there are plenty of dive sites to go to from such as Dugong Dive Center, diving at Japanese wreck site, and the famous Barracuda Lake. Some of the popular dive sites are located at Tubbataha reef a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, Kalambuyan Reef at Coron Bay, Tabao Island at El Nido, and Bulawit Bay at Linapacan.

Recommended travel Period: December till March

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Puerto Princesa International Airport, Palawan, Phillipines.
  2. Transfer to El Nido via charter flight to El Nido Airport, El Nido is major tourist destination area.

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5. Similan Island, Indonesia

Similan Diving

Similan Island National Park located at Phuket, is a popular scuba diving site in Thailand for divers who return year after year for its great diversity of fish species, popular for underwater photography due to its clear water, superb coral, and famous for the clown fish “Nemo”. This island is only open to public from November to May and closed from May to October due to high winds and rain. There are about 20 dive sites at Similan Island with trips can be arranged through liveboards, most of the the dive sites vary from gentle sloping hard coral reefs to wild current swept rocky landscapes. Some of the popular dive site attractions are the Elephant Head (Hin Pusar), Fantasea Reef, East of Eden, Boulder City (Shark Fin Reef), Breakfast Bend and Christmas Point.

Recommended travel Period: December till March

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Phuket International Airport, Phuket, Thailand.
  2. Take boat from Chalong or Patong to Similan Islands (depending which island in Similan you want to go).

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6. Komodo Island, Indonesia

Komodo Diving

Famous for its Komodo dragon reptile, Komodo National Park situated between Flores and Sumbawa, Indonesia. It is an oceanic paradise for astonishing variety of marine life ranges from, pygmy seahorses, dophins, whales, sunfish, mantas, ghost pipefish, blue-ringed octopus, dugongs, colorful reef gardens, over 1000 fish species, 260 reef-building coral species and 70 sponge species. Plenty of liveaboards diving, dive operators and travel agencies which can be easily organize all your excursions.

Recommended travel Period: April to December during dry season with average temperature of 26°C. We recommend booking your whole trip in advance.

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, Indonesia.
  2. From Bali, fly to Labuan Bajo, Flores. (or also from Bali take ferry to Labuan Bajo).
  3. Labuan Bajo is the base for exploring Komodo National Park, from here you can take liveaboard or private cruise to Komodo National Park.

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7. Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia

Tulamben Diving

Shipwreck diving is an unique experience and makes a great dive for everybody, at Tulamben shipwreck in Bali, you could experience the 120m long coral covered USS Liberty Ship from World War 2 and rich sea life. Variety of fish species can be found at this shipwreck site such as lion fish, scorpion fish and moray eels, angelfish, batfish, puffer fish and hawkfish. Another attraction of big fish you can find here is an elusive fish, the Mola Mola or ocean sunfish. Recommended to live around Amed, Bali with availability of accommodations that have an in-house dive center or dive operator in town making it easy to arrange diving facilities and transport to Tulamben dive site.

Recommended travel Period: April to July and October to November. We recommend booking your whole trip in advance.

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar International Airport), Bali, Indonesia.
  2. Travel by road to Amed for accommodation.
  3. Transfer from Amed by road to port for Liveaboard or speedboat to dive site.

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8. Kerama Islands, Okinawa, Japan

Kerama Islands

Kerama Islands consist of 22 smaller islands are located around 40km from Naha city on Okinawa Island, Japan, known as one of the most popular sites for scuba diving because of the amazing coral reefs and transparent waters. It is estimated about 400 different types of corals, and its warm subtropical waters are full of marine life such as humpback whale, hawksbill turtle, white-tip reef shark. There are more than 50 diving site with it’s turqouise water is incredibly beautiful with coral fish and perfect for oceanic and marine life photography. Recommended dive sites at Kerama Islands are Naka Chinshi, Kamigusuku, Nozaki, Ugan, Twin Rock, Kitsuru Sentan, Tonaki blue corner, Tonaki blue hole, Sand Triangle, Kuba Minami, Buri Jima, Kita Hidaji, Simozone, Kuba Nishi, Taka Chinshi.

Recommended travel Period: Mid June to Mid September.

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Naha Airport, Okinawa, Japan.
  2. Travel by ferry boat from Tomarin Port at Naha, to Kerama island. (**Important Note: Reservations must be made one day in advance for ferry) (Private charter flight available to Kerama Airport)

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9. Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, Philippines

Tubbataha Diving

Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park is a scuba divers paradise situated at the Sulu Sea of the Philippines. It is a UNESCO world heritage site because of its marine biodiversity, importance as a nursery for fish and coral larvae and productive fishing grounds for Philippines and extends as far south as Malaysia and Indonesia. It is considered by many divers as one of the best diving spot in the Philippines for its enormous variety of underwater creatures and variety of coral reefs. There are two coral atolls known as the North and South Tubbataha and a smaller reef known as Jessie Beazley Reef. The reefs are made up of reef flats and vertical walls that drops to over 100m in depth, there are variety of colorful fish, jack fish, barracuda, the endangered sea turtles, the gray reef sharks.

Recommended travel Period: March till June is the best time for diving for its best weather conditions and calmness of water.

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Puerto Princesa International Airport , Palawan. (**Important Note: Dive operators help to apply permit from Tubbataha Management Office (TMO))
  2. Take a liveaboard to Tubbataha from Puerto Princesa. It takes 10 hours to get to the Park from Puerto Princesa. Most dive boats leave after dinner and arrive in Tubbataha early the next morning.

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10. Redang Island (Pulau Redang), Terengganu, Malaysia

Redang Diving

Redang Island situated 45km from the coast of Terengganu, Malaysia, consist of 9 smaller islands that are Lima Island, Paku Besar Island, Paku Kecil Island, Ekor Tebu Island, Kerengga Besar Island, Kerengga Kecil Island,  Batu Ling Island and Pinang Island. Redang Island is a popular dive site of the East of Malaysia known to have the highest number of marine species in the world with crystal clear blue water, deep dives, rich diverse marine life and variety of coral reefs suitable for photography. There are more than 35 dive locations with beautiful hard and soft corals, various fish species such as reef sharks, moray eels, barracuda, napaleon, trigger fish and many more marine species. There are also PADI dive courses and certification available at the resorts for new divers.

Recommended travel Period: March to November and closed during rainy season from November to end of February.

How to get there:

  1. Fly to Redang Airport, Terengganu, Malaysia. (also other way is to fly to Sultan Mahmud Airport in Terengganu and take ferry to Redang Island)
  2. Speedboat or Liveaboard to dive site.

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