Did you know that theÂ Philippinesâ€˜Â Puerto GaleraÂ andÂ AnilaoÂ made it to the list of Asia Pacificâ€™s hottest diving destinations?
Blessed with warm water, tropical climates and an abundance of interestingÂ dive sitesÂ â€“ from pristine coral reefs to sunken warships â€“Â locationsÂ throughoutÂ Asia PacificÂ welcome divers from around the world that come to explore new sites or return to old favorites.
â€œMany of the worldâ€™s bestÂ dive sitesÂ are located in Southeast Asia,â€ says Chris Mitchell, dive journalist and co-author of Thailandâ€™s Underwater World. â€œThere are an endless number of sites for all levels of diver. Baliâ€™s amazing Menjangan Island, the plethora of rare marine life along the coastline of Anilao,Â Philippines, and theÂ Maldives, where you can be in your resort an hour after touchdown and diving theÂ nextÂ morning , are some of my favorites.â€
Most divingÂ locationsÂ in Asia offerÂ PADIÂ courses from beginner to master levels at great prices, andÂ the food, scenery and cultural experience canâ€™t be beat, no matter which country you visit. To wrap everything up nicely,Agoda.comâ€™s comprehensive hotel offerings throughout the region will ensure guests spend less time worrying about theirÂ accommodationÂ and more time concentrating on where to take theÂ nextÂ great dive.
Here are seven of Asiaâ€™s best sites for diving, and a few hotel suggestions to maximize the enjoyment of any trip.
Ko Lanta, Thailand
Located in Thailandâ€™s famous province of Krabi, Ko Lanta is not as crowded or as built up as other hotspots in the area â€“ yet. Drawn by warm, clear water, and plenty of greatÂ dive sites, visitors can choose a speedboat to get in several different dives in one day, or opt for a slowboat that heads to aÂ singleÂ spot but offers a more social experience with your fellow divers.
Pamper yourself with 5-star luxury at the award-winning Pimalai Resort and Spa (5*) in Kan Tiang Bay.
Stay at the Lanta Cha Da Resort (5*), which offers a variety of rooms amid a lush expanse of garden in the shade of swaying palm trees.
Puerto Galera & Batangas, the Philippines
The turquoise water and endless reefs have long drawn divers to the tropical archipelago of the Philippines, which offers a nearly limitless number of sights above and below the water. A strong maritime transport culture ensures easy trips to many of the best sites, be it a small group excursion or a large party dive.
The Atlantis Dive Resort (5*) in Puerto Galera lies within a pristine UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and offers a diverse range of reefÂ dive sitesÂ for every skill level.
If staying at theÂ Eagle Point ResortÂ (3*), youâ€™ll be in the middle of some of the Philippinesâ€™ bestÂ dive sites, all noted for their abundant, colorful marine life.
Whitsunday Islands and Lizard Island, Australia
Australia needs no introduction as one of the worldâ€™s top diving destinations. The unparalleled Great Barrier Reef and almost 60,000km of combined island & mainland coastline provide an astounding number of sites to dive, from old shipwrecks to (caged) encounters with Great White Sharks.
Visit DaydreamÂ Island ResortÂ and Spa (4.5*) to get the most out of the legendary Whitsunday Islands and its dozens of world-famousÂ dive sites.
A stay at LizardÂ Island ResortÂ (5*) will reward you with close-up marine encounters as you hand-feed huge but docile Potato Cod at the world famous Cod Hole.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Seemingly crafted specifically for scuba divers, Bora Boraâ€™s signature coral reef encircles a pristine volcanic lagoon filled with marine life. Most pleasingly, thereâ€™s only a 3Â° difference between average low and high water temperature throughout the year, making diving a perfect pastime any time of year.
The Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (5*) offers access to the islandâ€™s best diving spots and is a member of Green Engage, the groupâ€™s worldwide sustainability program that regulates environmental impact.
After diving with manta rays, lemon sharks and turtles at the Bora Bora Pearl Resort (4*), you can work with the on-site tattooist to design a traditional Polynesian tattoo.
Bali and Lombok Indonesia
Indonesiaâ€™s iconic island of Bali and its neighbor Lombok are smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of the country. As the worldâ€™s largest island archipelago, itâ€™s no surprise that it also has some of the bestscuba divingÂ anywhere.
On Bali, stay at the Mimpi Tulamben Dive Resort (3*), which offers easy access to dozens of topÂ dive sites, including the island of Menjangan with its large reef flats and slow currents.
On Lombok, stay at the Vila Ombak Hotel (4*), situated on one of the Gili Islands, a popular area with divers of all levels who come to dive with sharks, manta rays, and turtles.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The area around Kota Kinabalu offers plenty of great diving spots in some of Asiaâ€™s most colorful waters. Whether you stick to diving just offshore, go northeast up the coast and explore the tip of Borneo, or head southwest to dive down to Labuanâ€™s four famous wrecks, thereâ€™s something here for every level of diver.
If youâ€™re staying at the award-winning Bunga RayaÂ Island ResortÂ (5*), the activities donâ€™t have to stop when youâ€™re done diving. The beautiful blue bay that the hotel looks over is perfect for kayaking, and for a fun jungle trek, all you have to do is turn 180Â° and start walking.
Time spent at the GayaÂ Island ResortÂ (5*) means truly getting away from it all. Only accessible by boat, guests have easy access to amazingÂ dive sitesÂ in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, as well as thick forest and deserted beaches on neighboring islands.
If one were to describe the perfect tropical paradise, chances are it would exist in the Maldives. Stunning blue water, endless white sandâ€¦and then things start to get really beautiful once you head underwater. The biggest draws are colorful coral and a staggering amount of marine life â€“ everything from friendly fish to manta rays to the gigantic whale shark.
Boasting one of the best-equipped dive schools in the country, BandosÂ Island ResortÂ (4*) can provide support, equipment and transport to any of the top diveÂ locationsÂ nearby.
The Adaaran Prestige Vadoo (5*) offers a variety of special dive packages, and training courses are available from beginnerâ€™s introduction to a four day PADI rescue diver course.