5 Perfect Diving Spots in Asia

July 2, 2018

When it comes to diving spots, nothing quite compares to Asia. With a few countries in the region lying at the “Coral Triangle” - a marine biodiversity-rich area where three major oceans meet – you are bound to see over half of all coral species here, as well as thousands of reef fish, critters, and sea turtles.

To help narrow down your choices, here is a list of five of the best diving spots in Asia.

  1. Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park - Philippines

When you've got a diving spot that's an acclaimed UNESCO Heritage Site and a New 7 Wonders of Nature nominee, you know you're in for a serious underwater treat. Tucked in Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park is coveted not only for its unique lagoons, hundreds of coral and fish species, and perpendicular wall, but also for the various endangered species that have made the reef their home. Among these are 11 species of shark – most notably white tip sharks - dolphins, manta rays, whales, jacks, and barracuda. Green sea and hawksbills turtle are a common sighting here too, with the atoll serving as their nesting ground.  

     2. Pulau Sipadan - Malaysia 

Arguably Malaysia's topmost diving destination, Pulau Sipadan off Sabah's eastern coast is known for two unique sites: Barracuda Point at the northern tip of the island, where blacktail barracuda often congregate and encircle divers; and Turtle Tomb, a limestone cave with underwater tunnels and chambers housing the remnants of marine turtles. Other residents of the island include white tip sharks, parrotfish, jacks, and hawksbills and green sea turtles, which often come to nest on shore from April to September. The island is best suited for intermediate to advanced divers.  

  1. Komodo Island - Indonesia  

While Komodo is best known for its resident Komodo Dragons, for divers it's also a must-dive mecca that provides unchartered access to various species of sharks, turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and the blue-ringed octopus, one of the rarest and deadliest of its kind. The venom from this octopus can kill over two dozens of humans in a matter of minutes.

Another popular attraction is the Cannibal Rock at the island's southern end, which contains soft corals and invertebrates, including scorpion fish and frog fish.

  1. Similan Islands - Thailand

One of the most popular dive sites in Thailand is Similan Islands, which consist of 11 islands forming a National Park. Located off Andaman Sea, the islands are pretty secluded, affording divers access to untouched marine life, including whale sharks, rays, and turtles. A striking feature of Similan Islands are its massive underwater boulders that serve as passages for swim-throughs. Beach bums also rave about the islands' powdery sand and glassy, aquamarine waters.

  1. Andaman Islands – India

Andaman Islands is know for its 570-plus islands that serve as a habitat for various crustaceans and fishes, including sailfish, black marlin, and the deep-sea living ribboned sweetlips, which spans up to 1.6 feet. Among the more popular islands are Margherita's Mischief and Neil Islands, whose unspoiled reef draws divers of all shapes and sizes. Neil Islands serves as a more peaceful antidote to the busy Havelock Island, known for its stunning beaches, pristine rainforests, and birds. Other dive sites you can explore are K Rock, Bus Stop, and Junction.

Tip: Before heading out for a dive, make it a point to grab a sturdy dive watch. Not only are dive watches designed to be waterproof at unprecendented depths, they also provide excellent readability even under poorly lit conditions. Above all, they're crucial in reminding you when to swim back to the surface to avoid lung complications. For completeinformation on dive watches, Scuba List Pro has an excellent article on the subject.

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