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Scuba diving in Vietnam

Vietnam makes for an unusual dive destination but its popularity is slowly growing with hidden gems like Con Dao and Phu Quoc as well as new divers playground Nha Trang.
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Diving in Vietnam

Quick facts

The words scuba diving and Vietnam are not necessarily synonymous but the long and languid coasts of Vietnam are growing in popularity amongst new and experienced divers alike. Best times to visit the mid to south west coast are between February and October, as the monsoon season kicks in from October to January and can be dangerous. The months of July and August could be too humid making spring time from February to June perfect for diving. However, for diving at Phu Quoc Island and Con Dao archipelago, the best diving season is from November to March thus making Vietnam a year round diving destination.
Nha Trang is the scuba diving hub in Vietnam, about an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Boasting more than 20 dive operators, Nha Trang is a popular place for budding divers looking to get certified in its calm and friendly waters. It is also known to have very competitive rates for multiple types of certification as well as boat dive packages. Water temperature is typically a balmy 82°F (28°C) and a 3mm wet suit will suffice.
Top dive sites in Nha Trang include Hon Mun Island which is also known as The Black Island. Moray Beach and Madonna Rock are other favorite dive sites. Pelagic sea creatures do not frequent this area but there is plenty of macro life and cool caverns to explore at Madonna Rock. Maximum depth is typically 82ft (25m) and is suitable for all levels of divers.
Travel 50miles (80km) up from Nha Trang to find the idyllic Whale Island, where the legendary Jacques Cousteau discovered his passion for the ocean. There is plenty of variety here with macro dives amongst lush soft corals and even exciting drift dives.
Even further up north is Hoi An, a charming French colonial town. From Hoi An, one can access Cham Islands by a 40 minute boat ride. These dive sites boast towering pinnacles and divers will be able to find soft and hard corals teeming with pipe fish, seahorses and nudibranch as well as schooling fish. Diving here goes slightly deeper than other sites in Vietnam as the pinnacles reach to 131ft (40m).
Next, head south towards the Gulf of Thailand to the exciting Con Dao archipelago. The group of 16 islands has the only diveable wreck Vietnam and is the key place to see pelagic animals like hawksbill turtles, sharks and rays. Diving can be light and easy or challenge yourself with drifts and deep dives for critter hunting.
Last but not least is the little known Phu Quoc Island which lies close to Cambodia. Visibility may not be great here because of the run-off from the Mekong River delta but the healthy waters has encouraged plenty of hard coral growth and ample fish life. Top dive sites here include Dry Island and Nudibranch Island.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Con Dao
  • Da Nang
  • Nha Trang

    As Vietnam’s premier scuba location, Nha Trang and nearby Hon Mun Marine Park give divers the opportunity to enjoy 350 species of coral and many quirky creatures in clear waters and calm currents.

  • Phú Quốc

    Only opened for diving in 2002, Phú Quốc’s best diving is still being discovered, but it’s already known to be perfect for beginners and, at the same time, offers challenges for macro-lovers.

Pricing on request

What to see

Macro life is a big feature of diving in Vietnam. Hard and soft corals crowd the reefs off Nha Trang along with colorful reef fish, moray eels, lionfish, nudibranch, and anemone crabs. A closer look whilst exploring the reefs will reveal camouflaged scorpionfish, frogfish, cuttlefish and also hiding octopuses.
Further up north at Whale Island or Hoi An, you might be able to sneak up on resting nurse sharks and white tips. Frequently look out into the blue for potential sightings of eagle rays cruising by. Seahorses are also something to look out for along with their cousins, the pipefish at macro dive sites.
Down south at Con Dao and Phu Quoc, spot hawksbill turtles, passing sharks and rays in these rich waters. Bamboo sharks are a feature at Phu Quoc so be sure to work your dive master hard for a sighting. Sea grass meadows around the islands are also said to have the elusive and almost extinct dugongs.

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