Asia is truly a paradise for any scuba diver since there are thousands of tropical islands for exploring. Also, the waters of Asia are home to 75% of the world’s coral species. It is most notable for its incredible marine life, as well as colorful fish and sightings of rare shark species.
Asia has innumerable sites available; in fact, if you did nothing for the rest of your life but scuba dive, you likely still wouldn’t see all that Asia has to offer. Thus, it can be really challenging to narrow down a list of the best places to scuba dive in Asia. That said, we’ve done the work for you right here so that you have a list to start with if you plan to explore the continent.
Best Places to Scuba Dive in Asia: The Top Five
There are plenty of places in Asia that would easily qualify as the best to scuba dive in the world. Fortunately, we’ve found five of the best scuba diving sites in Asia. You don’t want to miss any of these if you plan on scuba diving your way through Asia!
1. Phuket, Thailand
There are plenty of magnificent dive sites in Asia, and many of them are clustered together. In fact, a few of them are near the island of Phuket, which is in the Andaman Sea. There, you’ll find Richelieu Rock and Shark Point, both of which attract plenty of tourists, given the marine life that can be seen.
Richelieu Rock is a rock formed in the shape of a horseshoe. It offers sea fans, barrel sponges, anemones, and soft corals.
Plenty of smaller species live within the rock’s cracks, too. These include shrimp and pipefish. Outside of the rock, you should also be able to see manta rays, barracuda, whale sharks, and snapper.
On the other hand, Shark Point is for the more adventurous diver. You will be able to see reef shark and leopard shark. You should also be able to spot plenty of tropical fish, snapper, cuttlefish, squid, morays, and scorpionfish.
2. Koh Tong, Cambodia
The island of Koh Tong sits around four to five hours off the coast of Cambodia. It offers plenty of diving sites. Three of the most sought-after of these sites are Three Bears, Sting Ray Alley, and Explosion Reef.
Explosion Reef is home to plenty of staghorn reef along with groupers, triggerfish, rays, and juvenile fish. On the other hand, Sting Ray Alley is a site marked by rocky terrain and is home to octopus, cuttlefish, stingrays, crustaceans, and scorpionfish.
Three Bears is a series of caves that are home to some really bright corals along with barracuda, batfish, and jacks. You’ll be able to do plenty of exploring at this site, given its cavernous terrain.
3. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Raja Ampat has a total of over 1500 small islands. Together, they make up some of the more unique diving locations you can find, mostly because they have an incredible number of species of coral and fish. This includes over 1,074 different species of fish and over 500 different types of coral.
One of the most sought-after locations is Cathedral Rock, which comprises two limestone rocks. The currents have carved each of them. You will witness some really incredible reefs, with both soft and hard corals growing on the top. You will also get to see yellow snapper, unicornfish, batfish, and blue-flash fusiliers.
4. Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
This site is home to some incredible species. You will find 600 different species of fish, 11 species of shark, 13 shark and dolphin species, and 374 coral species.
The reefs are on the Cagayan Ridge, which is made up of volcanoes. You can only get access to the area of a few months out of the year.
It is common to see white tip reef sharks as well as schools of jack, manta rays, barracuda, whale sharks, and tuna. You are also likely to see green sea turtles and hawksbill, which both use the area as a nesting ground.
UNESCO actually made the Tabbataha Reefs National Park into a World Heritage Site back in 1993, and it could easily be considered one of the best places to scuba dive in Asia. The reef was even nominated to be one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. If you are in Asia to do some scuba diving, you really don’t want to miss this site.
5. Ari Atoll, Maldives
This is a natural atoll surrounded by the Indian Ocean in the Maldives. There is a total of 105 small-sized islands. These diving sites are largely considered to be the very best in the Maldives, by anyone who knows anything about scuba diving.
One of the more popular locations is Broken Rocks, which is made up of a canyon that divides the site into two separate areas. You’ll find a beautiful hallway of coral between the two, which is home to turtles, napoleon wrasse, scorpionfish, and sea fans.
Another popular site is Ranhali Madivaru, which is an excellent location if you want to see manta rays. Finally, Maya Thila is a third great option in the Ari Atoll. This third site is a segment of a marine reserve. It is a layered pinnacle that begins at just six meters.
It is no easy feat to narrow down the best places in Asia where you can scuba dive. That is because the area is home to such a huge percentage of the entire world’s coral species.
Any seasoned diver knows that much of Asia offers a paradise for scuba diving, with not only coral to see but also an incredibly wide variety of marine life. If you plan on visiting Asia and want to explore the area through scuba diving, this list of the best places to scuba dive in Asia will serve you well as a guide to the top locations.