Best Places to Scuba Dive in Vietnam
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand automatically spring to mind when we talk about must-dive destinations in South East Asia. Yet the popularity of Vietnam amongst the diving community has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to a mixture of diverse marine life, exotic locations and reasonable prices. There are only a handful of dive sites in the whole of Vietnam and as they’re not as well established as some of the more popular destinations in Asia they tend to be relatively untouched and unexploited by tourism. The coastline of Vietnam enjoys very calm tides and no currents making it a great place to learn how to dive and the weather is pretty stable for divers almost all year round. Most dive centres offer training and certification year-round. From Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand to Con Dao Island to the popular town of Nha Trang, here is our pick of top dive sites in Vietnam.
The most popular diving destination in Vietnam, Nha Trang is a popular seaside resort town on the south central coast of Vietnam. The reason the bay of Nha Trang is the diving centre of Vietnam is quite simple, it has the most diverse and abundant marine life in the whole of the Vietnamese coastline. There are said to be over 350 species of coral in Nha Trang and a large number of species of crabs, shrimps and other small sea creatures. The town of Nha Trang is a lively, urban centre and the pristine beaches surrounding it draw tourists from all over Vietnam year-round. Marine life is protected in Nha Trang as all of the islands surrounding the town are part of the Hon Mun Marine Park. The best time to dive here is between April and October and Nha Trang is said to be one of the best value places in the world to get your PADI certification.
60 Kilometres north of Nha Trang is the desert island known as ‘Whale Island’. One of the only reasons tourists visit Whale Island is for the diving as the area offers an exotic underwater landscape that can easily be explored from the beach. Diving here is simple and safe and the water is clear, making Whale Island the perfect spot for a novice diver.
Con Dao Island
Known amongst the diving community to be one of the best diving locations in Vietnam, Con Dao Islands is a remote archipelago just a short flight from Saigon. Almost as remote as Whale Island, Con Dao is Vietnam’s best kept secret and is relatively tourist-free for much of the year. The island is the location of the country’s only divable wreck and has over 20 dive sites to choose from. Turtles, sharks and Rays can all be found around these sites which range in difficulty from beginners to deep dives and offshore drifts. The best diving is between March and September.
Phu Quoc Island
Let’s start down south, shall we. Phu Quoc is a small, relatively undiscovered island located 100 kilometres off the south of Vietnam. The best diving can be found on the north western side of the island between the months of October and April. The majority of Phy Quoc island is a National Park and is protected as such, meaning its fantastic corals and marine life are undamaged. Diving is shallow, normally less than ten metres, and thanks to its location close to the Mekong Delta region the waters around Phu Quoc are very warm.
If you’re already visiting the beautiful French colonial city of Hoi An, it’s a perfect time to explore the dive options off the central Vietnamese coast. Just 25 nautical miles from Hoi An lie the islands of Cua Loa Cham. There are several islands, the biggest of which is names Hon Loa but most of the better dive sites are situated around the smaller islands. The famous sunken island of Ranh Manh is located nearby, a must-experience dive for seasoned professionals. The best diving can be found here between April and September.