It’s a well known fact that Southeast Asia offers some of the best scuba diving in the world, so it should come as no surprise that there are also equally impressive dive resorts across the region. For an unforgettable diving holiday, check out these spectacular dive resorts that will impress both on land and under the sea.
The name Amanwana means ‘peaceful forest’, which is a fitting name considering the resort is the only one on the tropical island of Moyo, which itself is located the middle of a protected marine park. Book into one of the luxury tents here to enjoy stunning views of the secluded cove and the Flores Sea, sugary white sand beaches and pristine coral reefs. In addition to incredible dive trips, the staff here can arrange tours to Rinca and Komodo to see Indonesia’s infamous Komodo Dragons.
Not your ordinary camping tents, the 20 luxury tents at Amanwana feature hardwood floors and wooden walls with huge windows, special waterproof canvas ceilings, eye-catching Indonesian artwork, king-sized beds, divans, sitting areas and ensuite bathrooms. There are also large wooden decks out front for soaking up the sun or taking in the views of the ocean or jungle.
Amanwana has its own dive operation, so guests can take trips out to the Flores Sea to explore the fascinating underwater world. Sites include sea walls and reefs awash in colorful coral and sea fans, and crawling with turtles, eels, manta rays and whale sharks. You can also take single or multi-day PADI certified dive courses here.
Quirky and unique, Seaventure was once a massive oil rig, but it now has a new life as a revamped and renovated dive resort just a few kilometres from the popular Malyasia dive sites of Mabul Island, Kapalai Island and Sipadan. Besides a comfortable dorm, private rooms and communal dining and chill-out areas, Seaventures also offers a custom-made lift down to the house reef under the rig.
Guests at Seaventures can opt for shared accommodation in the dorm cabins that sleep up to 4 people in bunk beds and include a separate dorm guest-only bathroom with six individual hot water shower stalls. There are also roomy Twin and Double rooms with ensuite bathrooms and large Suite Cabins with A/C, fresh linens and towels, sitting areas and huge bathrooms with hot water showers.
Whether you’re a complete newbie to diving or an experienced underwater explorer, Seaventures offers a range of courses and dive trips for you. Learn the basics with a PADI Scuba Diving Course, up your skills with a PADI Advanced Open Water course or go for a specialty course like the Rescue Diver, Divemaster or PADI Adventure Diver. Once you’ve passed with flying colors, head out to amazing sites like Sipadan for reefs and drops with turtles, barracuda and jack fish, Mabul for macro-diving, or Kapalai for intriguing artificial reefs.
Misool Eco Resort
Located on the private island of Batbitim, Misool Eco Resort is an exotic hideaway made entirely of reclaimed tropical hardwood. Eight cottages sit on stilts over the water with stairs that make their way down to the lagoon, so you can snorkel in the clear waters right in front of your suite. The secluded island also sits inside the 46,000 square meter Raja Ampat Shark and Manta Sanctuary, which makes for incredible diving opportunities.
This exclusive dive resort is located amid 1,220 square kilometres of deserted islands, which means you have all the sugary white sand beaches, lush foliage and impossibly clear waters to yourself. The maximum capacity of the resort is just 32 guests, so you never feel crowded, and the rooms feature shady verandas covered with traditional grass roofs that offer a great deal of privacy.
As an added bonus, Misool Eco Resort is in a No Take Zone, which means that fishing, bombing and harvesting of shellfish and turtle eggs is prohibited. This makes this region in the heart of the Coral Triangle incredibly rich in marine biodiversity. Head out on one of the enlightening dive trips to see untouched reefs, vibrant coral gardens, swaying sea fans and over 1,400 species of fish. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from your stay go towards supporting the resort’s conservation initiatives and local employment.
Raja Empat, Indonesia
Wakatobi Dive Resort
This all-inclusive private dive retreat features beautiful bungalows built out of natural materials like sandstone and wood, and it is located just a short boat ride from over 40 dive sites off of South Sulawesi. One of the key features of the resort is the 3-mile house reef just offshore that offers plenty of thriving coral, glossy sea grass and intriguing drop-offs. You can also feel good knowing that a significant portion of the money from your stay goes towards conserving the reef and supporting the local community.
Guests can choose from three different types of accommodation here: the Villas, Ocean Bungalows or Palm Bungalows. All rooms are bright and spacious and have a king-sized bed or two twin beds, A/C and ceiling fans and balconies with comfy lounge chairs. Some of the rooms even offer hammocks for lazy afternoons spent with a good book and a cold drink, and spectacular views out over the sea.
For an easy diving and snorkeling session, head to the beautiful House Reef directly in front of the resort, or arrange exciting trips farther out to see bizarre sea creatures, unique topography and pristine coral reefs. If you really want to immerse yourself in the underwater world, board the luxurious Wakatobi Dive Yacht, the Pelagian for off the beaten path sites and unforgettable discoveries. Also, unique to Wakatobi is the new science of Fluo-Diving. This involves heading out to the reefs at night armed with a UV light, which illuminates marine life with natural fluorescence in completely different glowing colors, including bright neon pink, green and blue.
Sangat Island Dive Resort
Just the location of this dive resort is enough to make you start packing your bags now. Towering limestone cliffs jut upwards from a 300-meter stretch of pristine white sand beach, native-style cottages and villas look out over the turquoise waters of a tranquil bay, and an abundance of marine life awaits under the surface of the water, including the hulk of a WWII Japanese shipwreck just minutes from your door. When you’re not exploring the sea floor, you can go trekking, rock climbing, sea kayaking or simply lounge on the private beach.
Palawan, the Philippines