GREAT DIVING IN SOUTH EAST ASIA
GREAT DIVING IN SOUTH EAST ASIAby 倩怡 2016-11-21
On encountering the crystal-clear beauty of the Asiatic oceans, you will undoubtedly want to dive straight in and explore the underwater oases that exist below. The visibility of the east Asian seas is among the best in the world, with much of the marine landscape enjoying a level of environmental protection: a fact that draws in diving enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.
Yet, with so many islands in the region, which are the best for beginners, and what should one expect from each spot?!
Read on to find out more about a few of our favorites.
Ko Tao | Thailand
So-named for its abundance of turtles, this small island is located in southern Thailand. Though relatively small at 21km-squared, the diverse coral reefs boast a wealth of sea-life making it one of the greatest diving spots in the country, recognized on the international stage as ‘a paradise for diving enthusiasts’.
The expert instructors are responsible for 60% of PADI certificates earned in the region, and offer training from entry-level through to expert tuition. Whether starting out, or more experienced, this is the perfect destination as, with such a high level of marine protection, the diversity of the underwater scenery is unrivalled.
The great news for Chinese tourists is that the island offers lessons in Mandarin for those who struggle with English.
The best season to visit
- The annual average temperature is 28-degrees Celsius
- The cool season lasts from December to April
Recommended diving shops
Infinite Blue, Crystal Dive and Ban's are highly recommended. PADI lessons start from 9800 THB (roughly 2,000 RMB) for four days. Instructors are very professional and expertly-trained, so this is a great place to learn.
Tulamben | Bali
Tulamben is a seaside town in the north-eastern part of Bali, and one of the top-5 diving destinations in the world. ‘An underwater fairyland for divers’, the region is revered for its crystalline waters and incredible visibility.
Wreckages such as that of the USS Freedom – a casualty of the first world war – are of particular attraction, while the waters harbor over 400 species of fish including shark, parrot fish and giant grouper, among others.
Whether wreck diving or shore diving, the offers are limitless and boats are not always a necessity, but flexible fins are recommended as the island has its fair share of volcanic rock, and these fins can make access easier.
Tulamben is the perfect spot for beginners and experts alike, but is ideal for those just learning. For the lucky few, ocean sunfish and whale sharks sometimes frequent the waters and are a marvel to behold while, with the stable climate, conditions remain fairly consistent throughout the year.
The best season
- Warm waters with annual average temperatures of 27-degrees Celsius
- Year-round diving
Recommended diving shops
Villa Alba and Fish are recommended, as these have Chinese coaches. Prices vary by package with two dives costing $55, three costing $80 and four $105. Evening dives cost $35, and divers are free to select the package that suits their needs.
Semporna | Malaysia
In the southern part of Bazhou, Malaysia, Semporna - which means ‘perfection’ in Malay - is a dreamland for divers, yet is often missed by travelers, due to its relatively small size. Enshrined by azure waters, this phenomenally beautiful collection of islands is an unimaginable fairy tale. A powder-white beach, towering coconut palms and iridescent coral reefs boast the most eclectic fish populations in the world.
With its favorable conditions, the area is ideal for snorkeling, cliff diving, wreck diving and cave diving. Few regions have so much diversity, hence the ‘perfect’ nomenclature of the area.
The Best Season
- Annual average temperatures of 23℃ to 34℃
- Earthquakes and hurricanes are infrequent; aquatic sports are suitable year-round.
Borneo Speedy Dive is our favorite provider, a five-star diving hotel run by Chinese management and very popular among Chinese tourists. The diving center employs a number of professional Chinese coaches and provides a range of diving lessons.
Bohol Island | the Philippines
Bohol Island is a province of the tenth island of the Philippines that enjoys a stable climate with no earthquakes or hurricanes to disrupt the diving. With pure white sands bathed in radiant sun, coral reefs sparkle beneath the clear waters.
The stability of the climate and unique nature of the surrounds create a surreal atmosphere at Bohol Island, which is becoming an increasingly popular vacation spot. This is the ideal location for beginner divers—in particular Balicasag and Panglao Island, both of which lie on the south-western point of Bohol Island—as the great visibility and biodiversity offer unbeatable underwater experiences; you may even see sharks in the area.
The majority of the dive spots are off the sides of cliffs, offering unique backdrops. With an average temperature between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius, all manner of species is attracted to the area.
The Best Season
- The climate is very warm throughout the year
- The ideal timing is from November to February
Recommended dive shops
The majority of Chinese diving shops are located at Arona Beach. We recommend either Wuxianlan or Leqian, which offer three to four day classes costing roughly 2,000 THD. With a 25m cliff and a gentle sloping bottom, Arona Beach is the ideal training spot for inexperienced divers.
Find a villa at asiavillas.com
With a newfound urge to discover the crystal-clear diving delights of south-east Asia, now is the time to find idyllic accommodation to match. Asia Villas not only provides a tailored booking service, but also offers comprehensive assistance throughout your trip. Each villa is equipped with a dedicated villa manager to arrange the most invigorating daily activities, allowing you to enjoy the best of your destination.
Whether providing the most important tidbits of information, offering a professional and courteous customer service, or organizing your travel arrangements, you can rest assured that our representatives will go above and beyond in delivering the perfect vacation. Chauffeurs will collect you from the airport and bring you to the villa, while your villa manager will take the reins during your stay.
We have no doubt you will get the most out of your experience, wherever you choose to reside.
The Aquila – Phuket, Thailand
Set on a cliff-top, The Aquila is the perfect vantage point from which to savor surreal sunsets, while breathing in the magnificent seascape. Towering ceilings and expansive glass facades create awe-inspiring views throughout the property.
Misika Bay Water Villa - Koh Samui, Thailand
This beautiful property lies in Hat Mae Nam - otherwise known as ‘Luxury Paradise’ - which boasts one of the longest beaches on the wondrous north coast of Koh Samui. Home to Baan Tai and Bang Po, as well as the livelier BOPP Island, there is easy access to the beach as well as plenty of secluded space, so if you feel the need to escape the hubbub of the surrounds, just recede back into the sanctuary of your villa.
Amilla Beach Great Villa - Maldives
Set on the edge of Baa Atoll, Amilla Beach – or ‘Mini One Kilometer’ – is home to innumerable marine species and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its biodiversity. The villa includes an incredible living room, expansive master bedrooms and capacious guest rooms, plus a kitchen with several bar counters. Alongside billiard tables, sports equipment, table tennis and a PS4, you’ll find little free-time on this vacation.