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.
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 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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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?
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- The Ultimate Guide To Diving in Sipadan, Malaysia
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