10 Best Dive Spots in Asia

Asia is one of the most popular travel continents in the world, especially for divers. The Asian waters are a paradise of marine life from vibrant coral reefs to giant sea creatures. Asia has dive spots suitable for all levels of divers, whether you are a seasoned advanced diver or about to take the plunge as a beginner. The most popular south eastern region of Asia offers warm waters and year round diving.

On an entire continent of opportunity we have broken down the 10 best dive spots in Asia for you to explore.

1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Go big or go home. We are kicking off our list with one of the top rated diving locations in the world. A once in a lifetime diving experience overflowing with biodiversity of over 1000 fish species. The remoteness of this dive spot makes it a peaceful and exclusive diving experience where marine life are unafraid of visiting and respectful divers. Raja Ampat offers superb diving year round, but for those looking to spot manta rays October to April is the ideal time to visit. As well as rays you are likely to see black tip reef sharks, sea turtles, buffalo parrotfish, angelfish, and more. The coral in this region is thriving and is some of the brightest and most vibrant in the world. There are shallow dive sites which can be enjoyed by confident beginners, but the water surrounding Raja Ampat have strong currents so an advanced diving qualification is recommended.

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2. Komodo National Park, Indonesia

A landscape of unique underwater architecture awaits advanced divers in Komodo National Park. Submerged mountains covered in colorful coral make this dive spot one of the most breathtaking aquatic adventures. These waters have strong currents so a drift diving specialty might be a smart investment before going. These challenging conditions bring high rewards, due to the strong condition fishermen avoid this area so you can find a wide collection of marine life including surgeonfish, dogtooth tuna, reef sharks, turtles and the rare blue ringed octopus. Indulge in drift dives through channels full of hidden critters and current-shaped rock faces. Komodo National Park is divable year round but the best diving conditions are from March until October, visibility is best from November until January. If you happen to find yourself on land it is a great opportunity to see a real life komodo dragon in the wild.

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3. Similan Islands, Thailand

Adventure into the dramatic archipelago of Similan Islands and explore its clear waters full of micro to mammoth sea life. Manta rays and whale sharks are some of the large marine life highlights of visiting Similan Islands, due to the impact of the monsoon season this diving location is only accessible from the end of October until the start of May. You must be a certified diver to visit Similan Islands but there are plenty of stunning spots suitable for beginners. Similan Islands are even better if you have an advanced diving certification allowing you to discover more marine life hidden at depth, including cuttlefish, ghost pipefish, scorpionfish, and ribbon eels. Whilst you can take a day trip to dive this area, liveaboards are the best way to experience this spot and Thailand offers some of the most affordable liveaboard experiences in the world.

4. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Philippines

The remains of an extinct submerged volcano form the lagoon of Tubbataha with surrounding walls enveloped in coral. These underwater cliff faces are perfect for wall dives and waters are suitable for divers of all abilities. Living within the pristine coral you will find moorish idols, napoleon wrasse, and lionfish. For qualified divers night diving in Tubbataha provides an opportunity to discover moray eels and pufferfish. This diving location is a protected world heritage site and is only accessible from March to June for diving, as diving trips are only accessible via liveaboard it also makes Tubbatbha one of the least crowded diving spots in Asia. Over 20 species of shark and rays can be found at this dive location, advanced divers can enjoy spotting whitetip reef sharks, green and hawksbill turtles at Shark Airport dive site.

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5. Sipadan, Malaysia

Experience being in the center of swirling tornadoes of barracuda and getting up close and personal with obscure bumphead parrotfish. Sipadan in Malaysia has no shortage of unique diving treats which make it one of the best diving spots in Asia. You can dive this location all year round but the best visibility is from March to May. If swimming amongst turtles is your ideal diving experience then visit between April and September when green and hawksbill turtles can be spotted. The waters of Sipadan have strong currents which makes it a perfect location for drift dives but also means it is best suited to advanced divers and strong swimmers. In order to protect marine life the local authorities have a limited number of diving permits given out each day, which also avoids a crowded diving experience.

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6. Kerama Islands, Okinawa, Japan

At Kerama Islands the community has been actively protecting its reef and marine ecosystems since the 80s, resulting in pristine waters and flourishing sea species. These subtropical waters boast high visibility and the opportunity to spot humpback whales who visit these waters during mating season. Kerama Islands has over 70 dive sites meaning divers of all levels will be able to find a suitable location to explore this underwater landscape. Luminous cardinalfish, various turtle species and reef sharks can all be found in these waters, manta rays are also frequent visitors as the reef offers them the perfect stop off cleaning station. If you are looking to catch a humpback whale then you will need to visit during the winter months, otherwise May to October is the best diving season. You can dive in these waters year round.

7. Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

A truly remote diving experience for seasoned divers looking for a new challenge in undisturbed waters. The combination of the mid ocean location of these dive spots plus Myanmar’s difficult military past has meant these waters are an oasis for the adventurous diver. The lack of destructive tourism has led to picturesque coral boasting gorgonian sea fans, orange cup corals and feather stars. This dive spot is best suited to experience advanced divers who will have the opportunity to explore caverns, tunnels, drop offs and giant boulders. Plenty of large fish can be spotted in the Mergui Archipelago including species of sharks and rays. As well as unicornfish, dogtooth tuna, frogfish, and crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. The Mergui archipelago’s dive sites can only be accessed by liveaboards which run from October to May with the best shark spotting time from February to May. For that once in a lifetime trip Mergui cannot be missed.

8. Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Possibly one of the few locations where you can fearlessly dive with jellyfish, Derawan Island has plenty of interesting species to discover. Due to a lack of predators, Derawan Island has stingless jellyfish who have evolved to lose their protective abilities. The endangered giant green turtle can also be spotted in these tropical waters. The best diving conditions are from March to October but it is possible to dive year round. There is plenty of unique sealife to be enjoyed including giant clams, thresher sharks and coconut crabs. The varying conditions at dive sites mean divers of all abilities can have enjoyable and fascinating diving experiences.

9. Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia

Bali offers not only the opportunity to enjoy a plethora of natural underwater beauty but the opportunity to explore sunken wreck which has now transformed into a marine habitat. Find angelfish, hawkfish and pufferfish all at home in the seabed vessel of an old U.S. army transport ship. This wreck is a popular diving site and is best explored outside of summer months with September to November offering good visibility. Both beginners and advanced divers can explore this location but having the ability to go to depth or experience a night dive really elevates your diving experience.

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10. Green Island, Taiwan

Green Island boasts some of the clearest waters in the whole of Taiwan. Ideal for experiencing the stunning underwater scenery formed by volcanic activity. Green Island has dive sites suitable for all levels, though you must have a certification to participate in boat dives. For advanced divers you will be able to explore shipwrecks as well as following giant pyramids of coral into the depth of the ocean. Green Island is divable year round with the opportunity to explore giant reefs and spot marine life such as clownfish, parrotfish and sea snakes. For big fish enthusiasts diving from January to March will give you the best chances of swimming amongst hammerhead sharks.

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