Top 3 Diving Spots in Asia to Visit in April
Are you waiting for the next break to dive into scenic waters? Well, good news is, the Good Friday and Easter holidays are just around the corner! It’s certainly a good time to take a short break and visit one of the amazing scuba diving destinations in Asia that are worth exploring in April. This is the time where Sipadan in Malaysia is at its best, dolphins are active in the Philippines and you’re likely to catch a glimpse of giant moray eels in Vietnam.
Imagine swimming with large marine life and gliding over gorgeous coral reefs. Just keep in mind that April is one of the busiest travel months due to the Easter holidays. So, if you're planning a trip, you will need to book your tickets and accommodation very soon! This is one of the best times to enjoy cool waters and explore colourful corals with your diving buddies, so we’ve listed some options of the best places in Asia to dive in April.
If you are new to diving, do look for a reputable dive centre that is certified by a recognised scuba diving organisation such as Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) for a beginner open water diver course. No matter if you’re a beginner or advanced diver, these top 3 diving spots in Asia have something to offer everyone!
1. Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Rated as one of the world’s best and most protected dive spots, Sipadan is a wonder to explore. The dive season at Sipadan is all-year round although conditions do vary throughout the year. April is an excellent month for swimming or diving in Sipadan Island with very warm sea temperatures due to the sunny weather. The dry season stretches from March to October with the most settled surface conditions that are typically calm and sometimes glass-like. During the month of April, visibility can reach 160 feet (50 metres). You’ll be able to see reef sharks and schools of barracudas. Furthermore, Sipadan island is one of the few places in the world that has a high concentration of sea turtles.
Just bear in mind that there is a quota for diving permits per day, so it is important to get your Sipadan diving permit in advance. To get your permit, you have to book a diving or non-diving package to Sipadan Island. Budget travellers that find staying on Sipadan too expensive (or when the facilities are fully booked) could also opt to stay at the village of Semporna. This fishing village mainly serves as a gateway to Sipadan and other great scuba diving spots such as Mabul, Kapalai and Mataking.
2. Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
This marine protected reef is home to a bountiful wealth of biodiversity and is a UNESCO World heritage site. It’s home to 600 species of fish, 300 species of coral, 11 species of shark and 13 species of whales and dolphins.
Tubbataha is located 93 miles (150 kilometres) southeast of Puerto Princesa in the Philippines and can only be accessed via liveaboard or houseboat. Diving in Tubbataha occurs during a short diving season from March to June each year in order to increase the conservation of the area. This makes April the middle of the season and one of the best months to visit. However, due to this, liveaboard trips to Tubbataha fill up early, so plan your trip well in advance!
There’s a good mix of dive sites at Tubbataha Reef, meaning there is a liveaboard for every level of diver. Some may require advanced certifications while others are suitable for beginners. The dive sites range from shallow look-arounds to sheer drop-offs. Amos Rock is a particularly beautiful site. Plus, there are two atolls to explore, meaning you’ll need at least a week to see everything.
3. Nha Trang, Vietnam
Vietnam is a contrast of bustling metropolises and tranquil beaches. It’s also one of the top tropical destinations for divers. Underwater, it’s less about ‘big stuff’ and more about the sheer diversity of kaleidoscopic macro life among unspoilt reefs. Indeed, you’ll find nearly 50% of all known coral species in Southeast Asia waters here. You can also see pipefish, frogfish, seahorses, and over 2,000 species of nudibranchs.
Where is the best place to dive? Nha Trang is home to two of the region’s best dive sites.
Moray Beach - For new divers, this is a good place for training dives. It has shallow waters with a sandy bottom and is the best place to spot scorpionfish and giant moray eels. For more advanced divers, you can explore Moray caves.
Madonna Rock - Seasoned divers can explore swim-throughs and caverns, where elusive ghost pipefish wait to be discovered.
Other hotspots include Hoi An’s impressive pinnacles and wreck diving at Con Dao, and Phu Quoc Island, where you’ll find mitre shells, bamboo sharks, as well as catfish. Don’t miss the chance to stop by Halong Bay after dark — it’s one of the top places to see bioluminescence.
While this is a year-round destination, Vietnam’s dive season typically runs from the third month of the year until October, with seas being the calmest during February to June. This makes it one of the best scuba diving destinations in April.
Besides your diving gear, it’s also important to have travel insurance coverage no matter where you decide to go. If you’re travelling with a group of friends, DirectAsia offers an additional 10% discount when you book travel cover for three or more people travelling together. You get to enjoy the same protection coverage at even greater savings. On top of medical expenses, you will be protected if your flight is delayed, cancelled or if your luggage is lost.