Beach Tomato, Diving, East Timor, Iboih Beach, Indonesia, Komodo, Logon Beach, Lospalos, Malapascua, Malaysia, Pantai Merah, Philippines, PKF Beach, Pulau Weh, Sabah, Similan Islands, Sipadan, Southaast Asia, Sulawesi, Thailand
Diving is one of my passions. This feature was written for Beach Tomato earlier this year.
Want your views as stunning below the water as they are above? There are many places to find a weird and wonderful aquatic world but here are just a few of our current picks of Southeast Asia’s dive sites. Go in search of our favourite fish, the brilliantly named wonderpus.
Similan Islands, Thailand
Some of the biggest coral fans we’ve ever seen rest here – up to a whopping 3m across. The Similans, on the Andaman side of Thailand, offer a mix of watery landscapes from challenge to not so, so take a good flip around and see what suits you best; just the ticket for mixed ability dive groups. Richelieu Rock is the highlight; try as we might we didn’t catch sight of the spotted whale shark but the coral covered rock pinnacle was still fun to explore. Send us a pic if you spot one.
Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia
There are so many turtles and reef sharks here, careful you don’t get blasé by the end of the day. Beautiful coral gardens and dramatic drop-offs are the name of the game: our favourite dive was at Barracuda Point, where the ripping currents attract massive schools of the mean-looking fish to swim alongside. Dive Tip: book your dives in advance – only so many befinned humans get to swim with the fishes per day.
Iboih Beach, Pulau Weh, Indonesia
The little dive spot of Pulau Weh, off the northern tip of Sumatra, is a craggy mountainous underwater world teeming with fish. Still talked about in hushed tones by those in the know lest the world finds out, Weh will reward you for your efforts with a bewitching deep blue treat. Pitch up on Iboih Beach for the perfect on and off beach combo. Just don’t tell anyone else.
Logon Beach, Malapascua, Philippines
The island of Malapascua, to the north of Cebu in the midst of the Philippines, has some brilliant sites in its vicinity, but it has to be Monad Shoal, with its near-guaranteed sightings of thresher sharks, that wins hands down. Watching these creatures use their great tails to round up a fishy dinner was mesmerising. Back on Logon Beach sit back and relax as the sun dips down after another blissful day.
PKF Beach, Lospalos, East Timor
Stuff of dive dreams, this is a spot you might want to keep to yourself. Four hours east of the capital Dili sits the totally untouched diving area of Lospalos. PKF Beach (named after the peacekeeping forces that used to dive here) has a magical wall dive where we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of the rather comical seacow. Photograph: Aaron Geddes.
When we say southeast Asia is home to some bizarre sea life, we’re talking about the weird creatures we’ve seen at Sulawesi. Our dives in the Lembeh Strait made us feel as though we were suffering from nitrogen narcosis, as characters straight out of a Lewis Caroll fiction floated and scuttled past.
Pantai Merah, Komodo, Indonesia
If we were only allowed to dive in the warm waters of SE Asia one last time, it would be near UNESCO-protected Komodo. Here, there may be dragons on land but what lays beneath is equally as incredible. Get us underwater to dive with the majestic rays in Manta Reef. The remoteness of this marine park means you have to do liveaboard so not one for the seasick, but the pink beach of Pantai Merah is a wonderfully peaceful place for post-dive R and R.
To see the full article on Beach Tomato’s site, click here.