Most importantly, the best scuba diving in Asia depends on purpose, time of year, and of course how much of a challenge it is to get to. For example, few places in the world are as beginner-friendly as Koh Tao while also having terrific diving. Koh Tao was at one time second in the world for PADI certification. If your trip is not all about diving, then a destination with other experiences and attractions, such as Borneo which features an abundance of wildlife, may be the best choice. See below for top places to dive in Asia
1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, PHILIPPINES ★★★★★
2. Raja Ampat, West Papua, INDONESIA ★★★★★
3. Similan Islands, THAILAND ★★★★★
4. Derawan Islands, BORNEO ★★★
5. Sipadan, BORNEO ★★★★★
6. Koh Tao, THAILAND ★★★
7. Mergui Archipelago, MYANMAR ★★★★★
8. Komodo National Park, INDONESIA ★★★★
9. Kerama Islands, Okinawa, JAPAN ★★★★
★ = Quality
Dive Season Dates (Green = Best time of year to dive):
Season: March to mid-June
The island province of Palawan which includes Tubbataha, is one of the most diverse and captivating in the Philippines archipelago home to rugged steep limestone rocks, white sandy beaches and rich turquoise waters creating amazing sceneries. Tubbataha is one of the best diving destinations in the world. The first National Park within the Philippines covering over 1,800 islands and 100,000 hectares of protected reefs. Coron Bay features the best collection of wreck diving in the Philippines boasting 11 Japanese World War Two ships.
The Raja Ampat Islands are an Indonesian archipelago off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. Famed for its hundreds of jungle-covered islands, Raja Ampat has stunning beaches and pristine clear blue water coral reefs teeming with marine life. Its most famous island is Pianemo, the largest and most picturesque.
Season: October to May
Season: National Park is open from mid-October through to mid-May.
Notes: Also consider excellent diving in other Andaman Sea locales, including Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, and Surin Islands. For convenience and beginners, consider diving in Koh Tao.
Season: March to October.
Season: April to December
Season: March to September
Season: Late October and mid-May
Season: March to October