Cambodia is exploding with culture and is calling out for the world to experience its beauty. Laying neatly between Thailand and Vietnam, the pristine waters off Cambodia are filled with amazing marine diversity. After viewing the astonishing freshwater dolphins on the mainland and cruising down the Mekong River, diving in Cambodia is an addition that is not to be missed.
A country as big as China has to have a little of everything, and with nearly 14,500 kilometers/9,000 miles of coastline, it is home to some great scuba diving. The main hub for China diving is the island of Hainan, which is also famed for its vibrant food scene.
The country of Malaysia is split in two: there's peninsular Malaysia, which is considered the mainland, and Malaysian Borneo, which takes up most of the north end of the island of Borneo. Diving takes place off the coast of Malaysian Borneo and includes such legendary regions as Sipadan and Mabul, Layang Layang, Sarawak and the dives off Kota Kinabalu. Sipadan Island defines pristine and represents one of the world's top dive havens.
Although the name, Micronesia, makes this wide swath of the north Pacific sound like a small state, it stretches across more 3,200 kilometers/2,000 miles of ocean, comprising several different countries and hundreds of islands. Included in the area known as Micronesia are true superstars of the dive world: Palau, Yap, Chuuk and Guam. Palau has been called one of the "Seven Underwater Wonders of the World" and has so many dive sites that belong at the top of your wish list, it's hard to know where to start. You'll find everything from World War II (WWII) wrecks to shark and manta cleaning stations to caverns.
The numbers are simply astounding. The Philippines include more than 7,100 islands, more than 1,000 species of marine life, hundreds of World War II (WWII) wrecks, dozens of sites that feature such unique encounters as dugongs and thresher sharks, and one Coral Triangle.
With a world of dive experiences as exotic as its culture, Thailand will challenge you with an amazing array of diving destinations to choose from. The diving here is typically good all year, but the Gulf of Thailand is at its peak from May through September while you'll find the best diving from October through April in the Andaman Sea. The Andaman Sea is primarily accessed by live-aboard and has the most well known diving spots and best visibility. Phuket is the base for many of these live-aboards and is also home to a some great sites. Phi Phi, Krabi, Koh Lanta Yai and Koh Lipe are also excellent and popular diving destinations.
Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the global dive scene. But, with a coastline that stretches 3,400 kilometers/2,100 miles along the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea, it was inevitable that divers would begin exploring and then wanting to share their finds with the world. The area off Nha Trang has started to attract savvy divers looking for something untrammeled and unique. With offshore pinnacles and shallow sites off Whale Island that are full of invertebrates, including pipefish, seahorses, dozens of species of nudibranch, frogfish, ribbon eels, and leaf scorpionfish, among others, Vietnam's reputation for the strange and unusual is on the rise.