Asia’s Little Known Diving Destinations

The many islands, waters, reefs, channels and land masses that make up Asia are home to some of the world’s best diving, attracting huge numbers of experienced divers and first-timers alike to explore the incredible underwater wonderlands hidden below the water. But looking beyond the most popular dive sites can lead you to some hidden gems unlike any other. Here are just a handful of Asia’s lesser known diving areas that offer incredible encounters in untouched environments.

Mergui Archipelago, Burma

The Mergui Archipelago is made up of more than 800 islands. Its waters and land are all largely undisturbed by humans, meaning its natural beauty is preserved for divers to experience. Mergui is full of dive sites that are all lush with marine life of all shapes and sizes. There are beautiful masses of coral and several sites that boast big fish and rays as an attraction. If you’re lucky, you may even be lucky enough to spot a whale shark here.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia

When travellers come to dive Malaysia’s teeming reefs and pristine shores, most head to Siphadan or the Perhentian Islands, completely overlooking the gem of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, off the coast of Sabah. This cluster of 5 islands has some prime diving locations that are free of crowds and feel more like an underwater wilderness. There are many dive spots to choose from, including shore dives off white beaches, WWII shipwrecks and reefs that are home to many unusual marine species, like the Frogfish.

Malapascua Island, Philippines

North of Cebu you can find one of the Philippines’ lesser known diving spots, Malapascua Island. It’s off the main tourist track and relatively untouched compared to many of the more popular diving areas, and the island itself has the feel of an isolated paradise. Malapascua is known as one of the best spots in the world for spotting the illusive thresher shark, and manta rays can be seen daily. Big fish encounters are what draw divers here, with white tip and hammerhead sharks sometimes spotted, and the rays getting up to 6m across. There are lots of exquisite coral reefs to explore and several wrecks too.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao has been said to be Vietnam’s best kept secret when it comes to diving. It’s a small cluster of 14 islands in the South China Sea, south of Ho Chi Minh City. These islands are out far enough to sea that their visibility remains unspoiled by run-off from the Mekong. There’s some great wall diving here and lots of exquisite coral reefs that are thriving with all sorts of marine life. The Hun Trung site, while only suitable for experienced divers due to its strong current, offers shark and dolphin encounters. There is also some interesting wreck diving with many artefacts to discover on the sea floor.

Pulau Weh, Indonesia

Just off the northern tip of Sumatra you’ll find the tiny island of Pulau Weh. Sumatra, due to poor visibility caused by river runoff, is not sought out for diving; however the hidden gem of Pulau Weh creates an exception with incredible diving in an area that’s often avoided by divers. The nutrient-rich currents that pass through here mean a vibrant array of marine life, with dives promising all sorts of fantastic sightings. Pulau Weh is home to Barracuda, turtles, Tuna, Moray Eels and a huge variety of reef fish. There’s also a range of sharks that frequent the dive sites here, including the occasional whale shark and even Orca. There are beach dives, wreck dives, reef dives and even a cave to explore here.

Start planning your tour of Asia’s best kept diving secrets with a travel specialist such as today. There’s so much to explore off the beaten track if you know where to look, and Asia is just full of hidden gems waiting for you to discover.

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