Best Dive Spots in Asia

Johnny

It’s no secret that South East Asia has some of the best scuba diving in the world. Having dived all around the world including numerous areas within the Caribbean, Africa, Red Sea, and all over Asia, I can say with certainty that Asia has the best diving. You can read about all the places I’ve dived in the world, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on my favorite dive locations within Asia.

 

Sipadan, Malaysia


Located off the coast of Malaysia’s Sabah island, Sipadan is the crown jewel of Malaysia diving. Even the ethereal Jacques Cousteau ranked Sipadan as his favorite dive location in the world. He was obviously onto something.

Sipadan offers some of the most pristine conditions in the world and is the definition of a diver’s paradise. The coral gardens are as huge as they are vibrant. Schools of colorful fish swim all around you including bumphead parrotfish, sharks, angelfish, and countless others. Perhaps the most memorable and famous attraction of Sipadan is its jackfish and barracuda tornadoes. Thousands of jackfish literally envelope divers in their wake, a totally surreal feeling and makes for perhaps the most envious diving photos available.

Sipadan diving

My favorite shot of that huge tornado of fish swimming around me.

Sipadan diving is heavily regulated now and you’ll need to purchase permits well in advance. These permits are hard to come by and most dive shops will only allow you to dive one day out of three. The other days can be spent diving nearby islands like Mabul which is known for its macro and giant sea turtles.

sipadan corals

Sipadan corals on South Point

 

Cebu, Philippines


The Philippines has some fantastic diving, none better than what is offered on the Island of Cebu. There’s something here for everyone but the highlights have to be the majestic thresher sharks of Malapascua and the sardine run in Moalboal.

Malapascua is one of the only places in the world where thresher sharks are regularly scene. I spent a week diving here, waking up at 4am every day to see these stunning sharks. They are known for their scythe-like tails that are almost as long as their bodies. The surrounding diving is also fantastic with an abundance of healthy corals and marine life.

thresher shark

thresher shark

 

Moalboal

Moalboal is located on Cebu’s southwest coast and while it’s not quite as nice as Malapascua, it is still an amazingly quaint diver’s town. The draw in Moalboal is the sardine run. Literally there are millions of sardines that call the Moalboal shoreline home. Take some snorkeling gear with you, and swim 50m and prepare to have your mind blown. For a list of the best snorkeling gear,click here now

Sardines in moalboal

An amazing shot I got from another diver that shows the magnitude of the sardines!

Alternatively, take a tank and dive from the shore and follow the never ending school of sardines. Literally the sardines will blot out the sun as you swim through along the shoreline. We swam perhaps 500m along the shore and there were sardines everywhere. I could have dived here at this dive site for a week on its own!

 

Komodo, Indonesia


Located a few hundred km east of Bali, the Komodo islands are known as the home of the world’s largest lizards, the komodo dragon. However, under the surface is where the real magic happens in my opinion. I spent over a month diving and completing my divemaster certification here and it was too short. The diving here is unmatched and my personal favorite dive destination. The density and variety of marine life here is absolutely terrific. From large schools of fish, to the most curious macro critters, Komodo has it all.

Komodo diving corals turtle indonesia komodo national park

Your average at the Komodo National Park…

The best part? The Manta Rays. Komodo has one of the highest concentration of manta rays in the world. Manta Point and Mawan are the best dive sites to see these beautiful creatures feeding on plankton. It was not uncommon to see dozens of mantas in one dive. In fact, the question of the day was not will we see manta rays today, but how many mantas would we see today?

multiple mantas black morph komodo indonesia diving

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Showing 7 comments
  • Avatar
    PRAVEEN
    Reply

    hi
    Amazing post of Sipadan. Just thinking of going there after reading your review. pl let me know is it suitable for ow divers with 15dives also aged around 55 years.
    particularly about the current in Sipadan

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      HI Praveen, Sipadan is such an amazing place! I think it’s fine for OW divers to go there but I think Sipadan would be a better experience if you have your AOW as you can dive deeper and see more cool things. The area around Sipadan is a popular place for poeple to do their OW and AOW courses so it’s easy to get this done. Otherwise, I didn’t think the current was particular challenging or warranted any extra swimming!

  • Avatar
    Alek
    Reply

    OMG this is amazing. I tried once to dive in a small gulf near Phuket, Thailand but I guess this thing is not for me. Or probably I was not lucky to have good teachers. I would definitely try again next time when I visit this part of the World. Indonesia is definitely one of the best spots in the entire planet for diving.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      yes totally agree! Should definitely try it again, and in Indonesia next!

  • Avatar
    megan taylor
    Reply

    I like most Malapascua because of the thresher shark is available here. Cebu is my on of the best place.

  • Avatar
    Mysterious Trip
    Reply

    Thanks for this post! I’m jealous of the diving you have been able to do and this information is very useful. thank you for sharing

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks, glad it’s of help!

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