Pham Ha has gathered a careful selection of great local diving destinations in Vietnam and like to encourage sea-lovers to enjoy its magnificent lagoons embraced by turquoise waters and a rich marine life.
With a sumptuously long coastline that stretches the entire length of the country, Vietnam is fast becoming a top destination for scuba diving, water sports and snorkeling.
With 3,260 km (2,025 miles) of pristine turquoise seas and wide expanses of powdery white sands, these top 5 destinations are the perfect place to dive, swim and have fun!
Cu Lao Cham Island
The “Cham Islands” as they are commonly called, remain one of the favorite destinations for travel professionals who want to show foreign travelers the more subdued side of Vietnam, as well allow them have fun with various water activities.
As natives of Vietnam, we truly prize this wonderful and relaxed part of our country. Here, you can lay about on white sand, snorkel, scuba dive and more.
But, the islands are more than just a spot for fun, but also a UNESCO designated site, and offer some interesting exploration of unique topography and a wide array of species.
You can meet some them in the ever changing coral reefs, as well as in the forest which is home to many animal species, and of course some locals!
It is a short trip from Hoi An, and local boats departs daily for Cu Lao Cham in the early morning. Keep in mind; it truly is a quaint destination, with electricity operating for only a few hours a night.
Also, keep in mind that homestays are the main option should you wish to spend the night rather have a simply day trip from Hoi An or Danang, also easy to get to.
The people, religion and culture al have something to teach you, even after a day of indulging in the acclaimed water based activities if the islands. In fact, your meals are sometimes eaten with a host family, which will re-energize you for another day on the water’s of Cu Lao Cham. .
Top tip: If you are not an experienced diver, but sure to at least snorkel around the easy to navigate coral reefs.
Con Dao Island
Located at the very southern tip of Vietnam, Con Dao Island is considered one of the best-kept secrets of the region. That said, Con Dao is quickly gaining a favorable reputation with visitors.
The island remains unspoiled by urbanization and so provides a relaxing and scenic location. The more than 20 dive sites range from shallow regions that attract snorkelers and beginning divers to 21 meter depths for more experienced divers.
The unique marine life found in the waters of this destination includes a wide selection of tropical fish species in addition to pelagic fish species, rays, sharks and turtles.
Phu Quoc Island
PHU QUOC ISLAND sits not far off the coast of Cambodia and rises out of the Gulf of Thailand majestically, towering above the beautiful, warm waters.
It has grown in popularity in the last fifteen years, drawing new visitors thanks to its soft beaches and water activities. It is beginning to rival some of the other most popular nearby destinations which are favorites of divers and snorkelers.
What sets it apart is its terrain which is unlike much of the rest of the region, giving it a special feel.
The best dive spot often depends on the winds, which are often changing, and the nearby delta sometimes reduces visibility compared to that found in Nha Trang. But it makes up for that with a small number of tourists and the most unique coral reef growth to found.
That said, the best time to go diving anywhere in Vietnam is in summer from May to August, when the water is calm and averages around 20 to 30 meters of visibility.
Nha Trang Bay
On the Vietnam east coast sits the resort of Nha Trang, which a number of nearby islands and the Hon Mun Marine Park. Divers will find many kinds of tropical fish, seahorses and eels, one of the reason the area is Vietnam’s premier beach resort.
You will note a great diversity in the Madonna Rock, Moray Beach, Goat Rock, the Electric Nose, which offer diving from 10 to 50 meters, plenty of colors, plus hard and soft corals.
Most notably perhaps, this is where a young Jacques Cousteau became obsessed with the underwater world.
Diving here is perfect for experienced divers who will enjoy sloping beach dives as well as challenging deep drop offs and drift diving. Of course, there is also the chance of spotting whale sharks and whales!
Sailing Club Diver (sailingclubvietnam.com) and Coco Diver Centre (cocodivecenter.com), Vinadive (vietnamdive.com.vn), offer a wide range of choices for professional and amateurs who like adventures, marine life, the beauty of one the most beautiful bays in the World, Nha Trang.
Emperor Cruises is fit for an Emperor. Inspiration for the cruises came from the recreational activities of Emperor Bao Dai, when he used to stay in his villas in Nha Trang. He took great pleasure in sailing in Nha Trang Bay to go fishing around the offshore islands.
The benefit of a luxury cruise with Emperor Cruises (www.emperorcruises.com) is that, apart from being small boats with personalized service and outstanding facilities on an all-inclusive basis, often there is no bill to pay at the end whether on a day or overnight cruise.
The best time for diving and snorkeling in Vietnam is around May, June, July and August when the water is calm and clear with visibility averaging around 20 to 30 meters. The low season for diving is from November to February, due to high winds.
Whale Island – Van Phong Bay.
As you might guess, this beautiful destination in Van Phong Bay, is known for the high number if…you guessed it….whales! It lies just 90 minutes away from Nha Trang, and is also home to the docile Whale Shark, which migrates through the region in the summer.
But don’t worry, they only eat small plankton and the like, despite the “shark” moniker. The site offers turquoise water and soft, white sandy beaches that surround the basic bungalow resort.
Perhaps most impressive is the White Rock, which lies under the surface and is comprised of walls covered in soft coral, almost as far down as fifty meters. If you dive here, you’ll certainly see rays gliding about coral trees and seeming flying above the species that dwell on the sea floor.
Additionally, other dive spots include Hon Trau Nam which has a colorful floor and amazing rocky peaks.
The there is also Hon Tai aka “Ear Island, which is good for experienced and beginning divers. Here, you will see Nurse Sharks, frogfishes and sea slugs. This site is the most popular site, so be warned, it may be busy! Emperor Cruises unlocks the bays in Khanh Hoa and provide all-inclusive active holidays in the area.
This article is contributed by Pham Ha who is a CEO and founder of Luxury Travel Ltd (www.luxurytravels.asia), the first luxury travel and tour operator in Vietnam. He is also a travel guru, tourism speaker, writer, consultant and a leading designer of luxury tourism industry training programs.