Idyllic palm-fringed beaches and remote unexplored dive areas are typical of South Central Asia, where you’ll also find Sri Lanka’s famous sperm whales, the Maldives idyllic atolls and whale sharks, plus the untouched Indian Andaman Islands.
An idyllic tropical dive destination, the Maldives is renowned for its beautiful atolls and diverse dive landscapes for all experience levels. Enjoy incredible marine megafauna encounters such as swimming with hundreds of feeding mantas, whale sharks and schooling hammerheads or simply surround yourself with vibrant reef life and delightful macro treasures.
Diving in South Central Asia
The mention of diving in South Central Asia has divers dreaming of clear warm waters and impressive marine biodiversity. The region boasts not only the world-famous Maldives Islands but many remote untouched areas for diving such as Sri Lanka and numerous Indian islands across the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
The region’s turquoise waters and palm trimmed beaches create an idyllic diving location combined with an array of macro life as well as the chance to meet not only the usual big pelagics divers love to encounter but some unique opportunities to meet creatures such as blue and pilot whales in Sri Lanka and even dugongs in the Andaman Islands. Thanks to this wealth of unique diving experiences the islands of South-Central Asia are very popular with divers from all over the world. The coasts are lined with excellent dive centers and resorts and a range of liveaboards offer access to the more remote sites.
Best places to dive
Contained within the glittering Maldives archipelago are over a thousand coral islands that make up its dramatic atolls. The beautiful reefs that trim the edges of these atolls make for excellent snorkelling and diving daily and resort dive centres in the Maldives mean that divers can step out of their bungalow and into the water. There are also many small boats that can take divers on day trips to some of the less accessible sites. The atolls of Ari, Baa and Rasdhoo are known to be some of the best for pelagic encounters with mantas and hammerheads seen here in often great numbers. There is also a good chance to meet the colossal whale sharks which pass by in the currents around these Atolls.
Sri Lanka’s monsoon season has led many dive centers and resorts to have a dive center on both sides of the island to take advantage of both the wet and dry season. From October to May the west has the best conditions making Hikkaduwa the best spot for diving. The area has several beautiful coral encrusted reefs and a huge number of very friendly turtles. From May until the middle of October Mirissa is the most popular spot with wrecks, reefs and the unique opportunity to take snorkelling trips to see blue, pilot and false killer whales. The diving resorts in Mirissa take keen adventurers out each day on a special boat to find the largest mammal in the world in a sea teeming with pelagic life.
India's small clutch of islands that make up half of the Andaman Islands are known for being one of the most untouched regions in the world. So much so that some of the dive sites local dive resorts might take you to are entirely ’undived’. The area is a combination of coral reefs and deep pinnacles where you can find colourful reef fish and manta cleaning stations and the occasional grazing dugong. There are several dive centers in the main town of Port Blair and many diving resorts spread along the coast of the islands, at these locations it is possible to dive from the shore or take a dive boat out to the more remote pinnacles.