Best diving in Asia & the Pacific

From Japan to The Philippines, from Thailand to New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific Islands represent most of the dream destinations for most scuba divers. The Coral triangle formed by Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines has on display some of the most incredible marine biodiversity. The best diving in Asia – Pacific region also includes several Marine World Heritage Sites such as The Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef in Australia, New Caledonia, Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines and the Ogasawara Islands in Japan. The destinations from the “Best diving in Asia” list are also featured on my World Dive Map.

Special notes:

  • You can find my personal favourites with the ♥ symbol.
  • Destinations promoting unethical activities such as feeding and baiting have been excluded from this list.

Thailand

Koh Tao Thailand - best diving in Asia

Diving in Thailand is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Similan Islands National Marine Park and famous dives such as Richelieu Rock in the Similans, the Surin Island, both in the Andaman Sea, but also Chumpon Pinnacle and Sail Rock in Koh Tao. Thailand is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Koh Lanta.

The marine life in Thailand is mostly about whale sharksleopard sharks, manta rays, turtles, batfish, blue-spotted ray and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginner divers, many go to Thailand to pass their Open Water course. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from November to April. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in Thailand:

  • Similan Islands
  • Koh Tao
  • Koh Lanta

Indonesia

scuba diving in Komodo Indonesia  - best diving in Asia

Diving in Indonesia is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as BaliKomodo National Park and Raja Ampat and famous dives such as the Liberty shipwreck and Crystal Bay. Indonesia is a great destination for scuba divers who love muck diving and coral reefs. It is one of the underwater photographers’ favourite destinations for macro photography. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in North Sulawesi.

The marine life in Indonesia is mostly about mola molasmanta rays, reef sharks, pygmy seahorses and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from May to October, but the islands can be dived year-round. The best dive sites can be reached by boat or from the shore.

Best diving in Indonesia:

  • Bali
  • Komodo ♥
  • Raja Ampat, Papua
  • Lembeh, Sulawesi
  • Bunaken, Sulawesi
  • Wakatobi, Sulawesi

The Philippines

Porcelain crab - Diving Visayas Philippines - best diving in Asia

Diving in the Philippines is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Malapascua Island and Coron Bay and famous dives such as the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Philippines are a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving and muck diving. It is one of the underwater photographers’ favourite destinations for macro photography. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Dauin, Apo Island, Balicasag, Puerto Galera and Verde Island.

The marine life in the Philippines is mostly about thresher sharks, turtles, whale sharks, reef sharks, manta rays, mandarin fish, coral reefs, pygmy seahorses and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for both beginners and experienced divers. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from November to June, but the islands can be dived year-round. The best dive sites can be reached by boat or from the shore.

Best diving in the Philippines

  • Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
  • Coron Island
  • Malapascua ♥
  • Moalboal, Cebu
  • Dauin, Negros
  • Balicasag, Bohol ♥

Japan

diving in Okinawa Japan - best diving in Asia

Diving in Japan is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as the Okinawa Prefecture including Ishigaki Island, and famous dives such as Yonaguni Monument and the Kerama Islands National Park. Japan is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving and manta rays. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in the Shizuoka Prefecture, especially around the Izu Peninsula, reachable in 2 hours from Tokyo.

The marine life in Japan is mostly about manta rays, hammerhead sharks, turtles, dragon moray eels, soft corals nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from May to November. The best Japanese dive sites can be reached by boat or from the shore.

Best diving in Japan

New Caledonia

scuba diving in Hienghene New Caledonia

Diving in New Caledonia is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Noumea and the Isle of Pines and famous dives such as the Boulari Pass in Noumea, the Eden Garden in the Isle of Pines and Cathedral in Hienghene. The lagoons of New Caledonia are a UNESCO world heritage natural site and the barrier reef is the second largest in the world. New Caledonia is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving and coral reefs. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Koumac and the Loyalty Islands including Lifou.

The marine life in New Caledonia is mostly about manta rays, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, turtles and nudibranchs. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 5 mm wetsuit. Being in the South Pacific, the best time of the year is often from October to May. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in New Caledonia

Vanuatu

SS President Coolidge Wreck diving Vanuatu

Diving in Vanuatu is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Espiritu Santo Island and famous dives such as the SS President Coolidge shipwreck and Million Dollar Point from WWII. Luganville was an important American military base during the Battle of the Pacific. Vanuatu is a great destination for scuba divers who love wreck diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Efate Island where the Capital Port-Vila is.

It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from April to November. The best dive sites can be reached from the shore.

Best diving in Vanuatu

  • SS Coolidge Shipwreck, Luganville, Espiritu Santo ♥
  • Million Dollar Point, Luganville, Espiritu Santo ♥

French Polynesia

Shark Diving Fakarava Tuamotu French Polynesia

Diving in French Polynesia is one of the best in Asia-Pacific with famous diving spots such as Rangiroa and Fakarava atolls in the Tuamotu Islands and famous dives such as Tiputa Pass and Tamakohua Pass. French Polynesia is a great destination for scuba divers who love shark diving. A little less known, you can also give a try at diving in Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands.

The marine life in French Polynesia is mostly about grey reef sharks, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, humpback whales and marbled groupers. It’s the right place to go for experienced divers mainly. Due to the water temperatures, regarding scuba gear, it is most common to scuba dive there in a 3 mm wetsuit. The best time of the year is often from March to June and September to November. The best dive sites can be reached by boat.

Best diving in French Polynesia:

Top Asia-Pacific diving destinations still on my bucket list

scuba diving Lifou New Caledonia
  • Malaysia
    • Sipadan, Borneo
  • Australia
    • The Great Barrier Reef
    • Ningaloo Reef
    • Rapid Bay
  • New Zealand
    • Cavalli Islands
    • Poor Knights Islands

Are you looking for the best diving destinations all over the world? You should check these other articles:

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