With 71 percent of the Earth’s surface made up of water, and 96.5 percent of the Earth’s water found in the oceans, we truly are the Blue Planet. Marine environments rich and diverse give our planet life, feed us, clean our air and make us strong. Marine diversity is vast, magnificent and Asia in particular is home to some of the most spectacular coral reef systems that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Unfortunately these marine eco-systems are fragile and over 80% of South East Asia’s coral reefs are threatened by human activities like pollution and over-fishing. Some of the dive sites are also being closed by government agencies allowing these sites to recover from coral bleaching. So if you want to enjoy these dive sites, you should plan your trip sooner rather than later!
Here is our pick of Asia’s top five most spectacular dive destinations, home to rays, sharks, whales and a lot more.
- Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
A turtle on land can be a comical sight, but a turtle underwater is elegant, a look back through evolution to a distant past. Diving off the Derawan Islands brings you closer to that distant past, with Chelonia Mydas Turtles, barracuda, curious stingless jellyfish, squid, crocodile jellyfish, sea horses and over 50 different types of coral. Be sure to make one dive off the 200 meter long jetty and discover the curious creatures living below.
- Shark Point (Hin Musang), Phuket, Thailand
Pack your brave heart when heading to Hin Musang, because this isn’t a diving area to take lightly. Just as the English name suggests, you will be diving with sharks here, particularly leopard sharks, reef sharks but there is so much more to be discovered. Float above the hard and soft coral reef while watching morays, squid, scorpion fish and more swim by. And don’t forget to take your camera, because visibility here is an enviable 10 – 20 meters.
- Kerama Islands, Okinawa, Japan
Visibility is even better off the Kerama Islands in Japan, with up around 30 meters giving you a stunning view of humpback whales, manta rays, cuttle fish and more. Suitable to divers of all abilities and home to more than 70 dive sites, the Island’s Marine Science Laboratory monitors, protects and preserves the diving sites, so you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.
- Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
These 800 small islands in the Andaman sea, although off the beaten track, are a spectacular find for experienced divers looking for something rare, truly special, near untouched. Watch schools of red lion fish, unicornfish, lobsters, dogtooth tuna and frogfish swim past while you explore tunnels, drop offs and looming boulders – this is an exceptional diving experience.
- Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Rounding off our top 5 list, the Raja Ampat Islands boasts the highest recorded species of fish and coral on our Blue Planet with over 537 different varieties of coral and almost 1100 recorded species of fish. This has to be on every diver’s bucket list, but one best enjoyed sooner rather than later as over-fishing remains a threat in this region.