Diving in the Southern hemisphere
September 7, 2005 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Scuba diving in Thailand, Malaysia, Bali or Western Australia? Anybody got any views or experience?

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to do some diving later this year. I am flying from the UK to Australia and could stop over on the way, or fly to Perth for the Ningaloo reef off WA.
Or maybe I should just go to the Great Barrier Reef along with everyone else?
I am interested in value for money as well as good diving spots.
posted by asok to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you considered the Maldives? Fantastic coral, a diver's paradise with all of the facilities. Might be a little pricey but at least the water is clear (you might want to check that, particularly with Malaysia - pollution is an issue).
posted by grahamwell at 5:52 AM on September 7, 2005

thailand is great, but you need to keep in mind that no matter how you cut the cards, odds are that you are going to end up at the similan islands.

i'm not saying that there isn't other diving in thailand, i'm jsut saying that that is where you will probably end up.
posted by bryak at 6:41 AM on September 7, 2005

If you do dive Indonesia, skip Bali and head east to Lombok, or farther if you can find an outfit to take you. Most of Bali's reefs are gone, gone gone.

If I had the choice, I'd head to the Philippines (Boracay).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:07 AM on September 7, 2005

I spent a week in the Perhentian Islands (Kecil) of Malaysia in April of this year. It was fan-freaking-tastic. I thought that it was some of the best water I'd ever seen and I've seen Hawaii / Red Sea / Bahamas. Great pace. Cheap ($50 per dive / $250 to certify) dives. Awesome aquatic life (reef sharks, turtles, rays, profusion of fishes). I didn't dive, so I can't recommend a dive co, but we did stay at Lily (very nice) and Panorama (very inexpensive and good restaurant).
posted by zpousman at 8:40 AM on September 7, 2005

A tiny bit further afield, I spent ten days diving in Palau in July. It was fabulous, squillions of fish, huge napoleon wrasse, reef sharks, eagle rays, giant clams, lettuce coral, interesting wrecks (WWII-era japanese zeroes and ships). We plan to go back. I'll also put in a plug for Sam's Dive Tours who did a great job with very experienced divemasters.

One thing to take into consideration when deciding where to go is weather- I'd suggest deciding where to go based on where the weather conditions are best at that time of year.
posted by ambrosia at 9:38 AM on September 7, 2005

I went to Malaysian Borneo earlier this summer, and the diving at Sipadan Island was excellent (if your are into turtles and sharks) -- and Sipadan is one of the top dive centres in the world (along with every other dive centre I've ever looked at...)

We stayed at The Sipadan Water Village which was a fantastic experience: Two/Four person rooms, on stilts, overlooking the ocean, all linked by wooden walkways. The dive centre schedules 2 boat trips a day, with a total of 3 dives (you can do extra night dives for an extra cost).

The water wasn't as clear as the Red Sea, but it was coral spawning time (apparently), but we did get to see a huge number of things -- fish/coral/turtles/sharks/nudibranches/starfish/stuff. Vis. was still about 20/25 foot mind.

I think that Kuala Lumpur is one of the standard change points from the UK to the antipodes judging by the number of Lions shirted co-passengers we had on the way there and the way back.

If you do go to Sipadan, be prepared to dive, 'cos if you don't, there is literally nothing else to do there. Its just rooms on stilts over the sea, connected by walkways, with a dive centre at one end, rooms at the other and a restaurant/bar in the middle.

The diving was AMAZING though.
posted by couch at 9:40 AM on September 7, 2005

I'll second the Perhentians in Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Palau Redang, which is two hours south.&nbsp It was like diving in a reef tank. Specifically, the Temple site remains my favorite. Fantastic vis, ~30ft. I saw an eagle ray, many species of turtles, moorish idols, sea snakes, I spent two weeks there; my dives cost me about 70R/dive = ~17.5USD. The huge benefit of the Perhentians is that most of the life occurs around 10m above the therm, which means nice long bottom times, even if you haven't dove in a while.

Sipidan is the next place on my list of places to go. On second hand information, I'm told that it's not a forgiving site if you're not on your toes and able to cope with surge. I have been told that Uncle Chang runs the most affordable Sipidan dive package (but he runs boats out to Sipidan, instead of staying on the islands nearby Sipidan).

FYI, Malaysian dive operators all studied my dive log and cert level before letting me dive. I am told that you'd need an PADI advanced open water/equiv. before being able to take full advantage of barracuda point in Sipidan.
posted by soda pop at 6:35 AM on December 19, 2005

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