Sometimes, the most beautiful things in the world simply can’t be found on land. What dwells beneath ground level in our vast oceans is like a universe all of its own, and if you have an adventurous bone in your body, you’ll agree that it’s worth exploring. Here at Ampersand, we offer Scuba Diving Experiences across all destinations in Asia. Read on for some of our favourite diving spots.
1| Shark Point, Phuket, Thailand
Rising out of the water off the coast of Phuket is the treacherously-titled Shark Point, otherwise known to the locals as Hin Musang. If you’re expecting to swim with the sharks, this is the ultimate diving spot in Thailand to do so. Although just a small spear of rock, spiking no more than 20 metres above sea level, what resides beneath is something of a surprise to many divers; the reef below is vast with gardens of both hard and soft corals and the water offers around 10 to 20 metres of visibility. As well as being a great dive spot for catching sight of the beautiful Leopard Shark and Reef Shark, you will be able to see many schools of tropical fish and sealife. Typical sights will include Morays, Snapper, Scorpio Fish, Cuttle Fish, Squid, and a whole variety of different coral. Although Reef Sharks and Leopard Sharks are considered safe enough to swim with, diving at Hin Musang is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Despite the slight danger element, this dive spot is suited to all diving levels.
2| Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Diving off the Derawan Islands is an adventure with so much diversity; from big green turtles to barracudas and sharks, the waterlife is simply breath-taking. But amongst all of the different species, one of the most incredible creatures has to be the Stingless Jellyfish. Through evolution, this jellyfish species has lost its natural defence system so you can get up close to these magnificent animals without running the risk of being stung. Other amazing sealife to look out for includes Napoleon Wrasses, Cuttle Fish, Spanish Mackerel, Jacks, Batfishes, Squid, Crocodile Fish, Scorpio Fish, Sea Horses, and over 50 different types of coral. Another notable feature of the Derawan Islands is that the Chelonia Mydas Turtle can be spotted on land hatching their eggs; a rare and beautiful sight.
3| Mergui Archipelago, Burma
Isolated from the rest of the world, the Mergui Archipelago is a hidden gem. Largely uninhabited and consisting of around 800 small islands, this is a fantastic spot for seasoned divers looking for a new, exciting challenge. Truly off the beaten path, this part of the ocean is almost untouched by tourists and since the area was only open to tourism in 1997, diving in Burma is still a very rare and unique experience. Featuring huge boulders and a series of tunnels and drop-offs, this rugged diving location is a top spot for seeing sharks and various other species such as Red Lionfish, Manta Rays, Barracudas, Dogtooth Tuna, Unicornfish, Batfish, Ghost Pipefish, Frogfish, Lobsters, Crabs, Shrimps and more.
4| Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
If you’re looking for the crème de la crème in diving, the Raja Ampat Islands are not to be missed. This unique diving location has the highest recorded species of fish and coral on the planet; over 537 different kinds of coral and 1,074 recorded species of fish. This is much more than just a world-class diving destination; it’s the ultimate diving destination. The Raja Ampat Islands have been resistant to coral bleaching and disease and are, in fact flourishing and reproducing. With this in mind, overfishing can still be a very real threat – as is water pollution. Whilst the islands are thriving, this is the time to visit. Located off the tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula, Raja Ampat (also known as the Four Kings) comprises four main islands and over 1,500 small isles.
5| Koh Rong, Cambodia
The untouched islands of the Koh Rong Archipelago, off the Cambodian coast of Sihanoukville, are home to friendly fishing villages, white sand beaches and warm turquoise waters teeming with colourful marine life. The beautiful coral gardens here breed soft gorgonias, whip corals and big mountain corals, which house a wide variety of tropical fish, cuttlefish, barracudas and giant trevallies. Cambodia’s first and only private island resort resides here; Song Saa spans two discreet islands with 27 private pool villas designed around the theme of a Cambodian fishing village, but with all the luxuries and modern conveniences of a world-class resort. Combine a leisurely scuba dive with a private picnic on the powder-white sands of Five Mile Beach, or explore the many dive sites in the area.
6| Soneva Fushi, Maldives
If you’re looking for a diving holiday with a difference, the private island of Soneva Fushi has to be next on your bucket list. For luxury seekers who want adrenaline-pumping dives in the morning, lavish spa treatments in the afternoon and fine dining in the evening, we highly recommend this paradisiacal resort. As one of the most intimate and extravagant private resorts in the Maldives, the experience can be very much tailored to your needs; you can enjoy a range of different island activities or you can kick back on the glorious white sandy beaches and do nothing at all. This amazing resort has its own PADI diving school so you can enjoy diving and snorkelling every day.