Scuba diving is not the cheapest of sports to pursue, but if you're diving in Asia, there are plenty of great dive spots that won't break the bank to explore.
I've dived a lot around South East Asia over the last five years, and I've often been surprised at how cheap the diving can be here. If, like me, you like to dive often and travel specifically for the chance to dive, then there are plenty of opportunities to do so without having to spend a huge amount of cash. Indeed, with the cheap flights provided by AirAsia and other budget carriers in Asia, it's possible to dive in several countries within the space of a few weeks and still not break the bank. (Search on Wego.com to compare AirAsia flights with other airlines).
As such, I thought I would start a list here on Divehappy of cheap places to dive in South East Asia. The list below is by no means definitive and I welcome suggestions in the comments of other places to add to it. I have stuck with places and dive operators that I have personally visited and dived with.
The benchmark I've used is the cost of a one or two fun dives (ie assuming you're already certified to dive) including all scuba gear. Virtually all operators offer package deals which make dives cheaper, so this is just a rough benchmark to help comparisons.
Thailand: Koh Tao
Koh Tao is the most popular place to get certified as a diver in Asia Pacific outside of Cairns and it's a renown backpacker destination.
Price: Fun Dives are 850 Baht each on Koh Tao. So two dives is 1700 Baht = $50 US approx.
Located on the West Coast, Koh Lanta is Koh Phi Phi's sleepy neighbour and much more relaxed as a result. Lanta has access to some of Thailand's best dive sites - Koh Haa, Hin Daeng/Hin Muang and Koh Bida.
Price: 2 dives are twice the price of Koh Tao - 3700 Baht or $110 US approx - because the dive sites are much further away - and you get breakfast and lunch included. The diving here is pretty amazing because the sites are so remote. See AmazingLanta.com for pricing. You can also do liveaboards from Koh Lanta that can help you save on accommodation and food costs.
My site, www.Divehappy.com is a personal guide to scuba diving in South East Asia and Australia edited by me, Chris Mitchell, a…
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