Done with being envious of stunning underwater pictures and ready to take the plunge by getting your diving license? We’ve got a list of some of the best destinations to head to with beautiful marine life and idyllic conditions that’s perfect for learning.
Why: Located at the center of the coral triangle, Philippines has the richest concentration of marine life so it’s at the top of our list of the best places to learn how to dive. The island of Coron is the jumping point to the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world, the Apo Reef Natural Park.
Where To Stay: At the Two Seasons Resort And Spa, the island’s first luxurious and fully self-sustaining resort, with 42 bungalows equipped with modern comforts including BOSE entertainment systems, 55-inch LCD TVs, solar water heaters, rain showers and jacuzzis.
Best Time To Go: This paradise island is good for diving all year round but if you’re not a fan of diving in the rain, go during the warmer and drier months between November to June.
Why: This honeymoon destination isn’t just beautiful on land and sand, its underwater world is a stunner too, with the North Male Atoll boasting some of the best dive sites in the region. With great underwater visibility, rich in tropical marine life and colourful corals, the most popular dive sites include Banana Reef, Kuda Haa and Manta Point.
Where To Stay: Only 25 minutes away from Male airport by speedboat, the award-winning Baros Maldives has a vibrant reef life and a PADI five-star Gold Palm Dive Centre. Sign up for their Diving by Design program, which enables guests to have personal assistance, or follow the twice a day selection of over 30 world-class dive spots, all within 50 minutes boat ride.
Best Time To Go: There’s really no bad time to go to Maldives, but if you want to dive with manta rays in calmer currents, plan to go between November to April.
Why: The warm, clear waters surrounding Koh Samui will thrill all water babies, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts with its wide range of underwater life including sharks, stingrays, manta rays, pink dolphins and the awe-inspiring whale sharks.
Where To Stay: The Anantara Bophut Resort & Spa‘s affiliated diving school offers a two-day diving certification course and many dive tours, plus it’s close to the shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Village and the Bophut pier where you can catch the ferries to nearby islands.
Best Time To Go: Rainy months are from September to November and for a chance to dive with whale sharks, aim to go between February and May.
#4 Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Why: Just off the coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) are lush beauties surrounded by warm, azure blues with mild currents that’s perfect for snorkeling and learning how to dive. Fall in love with Gili Trawangan’s relaxed vibe and underwater world that’s home to more than 3500 species, including thousands of turtles, thanks to the island’s conservation program.
Where To Stay: Nestled in central Gili Trawangan, the two-bedroom Amalika Villa is just a short walk to the beach, bars and restaurants, so guests can easily access nearby restaurants and conveniences.
Best Time To Go: Avoid going between November to April when it’s rainy season, as the rain affects the underwater visibility.
#5 Vanua Levu, Fiji
Why: Consistently rated one of the best diving sites in the world, the Rainbow Reef is one of the most famous dive sites in the Oceania, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: marine life and soft corals in striking hues. It’s also where you can find the Great White Wall, an underwater plateau blanketed in luminescent white corals.
Where To Stay: Located on the Rainbow Reef, The Remote Resort is nestled within a vast coconut palm tree grove, with spacious villas boasting unobstructed ocean views, private sundecks with plunge pools and daybeds to lounge on after a satisfying day in the water.
Best Time To Go: Beautiful and warm all year round, this exotic destination is best to avoid during its wetter and most humid months, between December to April.