There are few sights as beautiful as a clear blue ocean viewed from a white sand beach, but often the true beauty is hidden just beneath the surface. Visitors to the best diving spots in Asia experience an otherworldly realm below the waves, full of colourful coral reefs teeming with fascinating and diverse marine life. Whether you are an experienced scuba diver or just want to snorkel along the coast, the best diving spots in Asia are sure to provide an unforgettable underwater experience.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The islands of Raja Ampat are famous among divers for their spectacular coral reefs and unspoiled coastlines. Raja Ampat is an archipelago comprised of over 1,500 small islands in Indonesia’s West Papua Province. It is widely considered one of the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world, with thousands of fish and coral species. The combination of diverse marine life, gorgeous island scenery and excellent facilities including luxury hotels and diving resorts, make this truly one of best diving spots in Asia.
Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
Consisting of 400 islands off the southern coast of Myanmar (Burma), the Mergui Archipelago is home to extensive coral reefs and several species of marine mammals such as dugongs, dolphins and whales. The area has long been under pressure from environmental threats such as blast fishing, where explosives were used to kill entire schools of fish, damaging the reefs. The Mergui Archipelago was only recently opened to tourism and many hope that this will help to increase the incentive to protect the area’s fragile ecosystem.
Komodo Island, Indonesia
Famous for its pink sand beaches and as the home of the almost mythical Komodo dragon, this island is also an excellent diving spot with lots of manta rays, reef sharks and other impressive marine life. After exploring under the sea, Komodo Island is a great place to trek around and try to spot some of the 4,000 species of birds living on the island. Komodo Island is sparsely populated with around 2,000 inhabitants, many of whom are descended from convicts exiled to the island.
Kerama Islands, Japan
The Kerama Islands are comprised of 22 islands off the coast of Okinawa in Japan. They are home to sea turtles, manta rays and humpback whales. The clear tropical waters offer some of the best visibility for divers in the world, especially in the winter. The underwater topography is amazing, with deep ravines, caverns and colourful coral gardens dispersed over a huge area.
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao (or Ko Tao), literally means “Turtle Island” and is a major breeding ground for Green Sea Turtles. Koh Tao is less populated and therefore less developed than its neighbor Koh Samui, but is an excellent spot for diving, hiking and climbing. This island is a great place to take a relatively cheap diving certificate, making it very popular with backpackers. The waters are full of brightly coloured sea anemones, angel fish, bat fish and butterfly fish. Koh Tao is considered by many to be THE ultimate place to dive in Thailand.