Holidays are always the time to choose from between the mountains and the beaches. The mountains offer you a good chance to see snow and enjoy the serenity of tucked away hamlet. However, if you choose a beach holiday, remember that beaches are more than just sun, sand and waves crashing on the shore.
Scuba diving is increasingly becoming one of the most sought after bucket-list adventure activity. It’s the perfect activity for romantic getaways, adventurous backpacking trips, family holidays, and everything in between.
Whether you’re just a newbie looking to get started or a veteran searching for new places to explore, here’s a list of some of the best places in the world to go diving:
Once a colony for political prisoners, Koh Tao, Thailand, near the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand offers a wealth of underwater treasures. It is also renowned as one of the world’s cheapest spots for scuba fans to get their open-water dive certification.Blessed with crystalline waters and coral reefs that are shallow enough for beginners to explore, Koh Tao is also home to deep granite pinnacles and shipwrecks. Commonly sighted marine life includes the mighty barracuda, bat-fish, giant grouper, moray eels, turtles, sting-rays, cuttle-fish, angelfish, blacktip reef sharks, large green turtles and the occasional harmless leopard shark. Located just off the south coast of Koh Tao, Shark Island – named after its resemblance to a dorsal fin – has several rock boulders covered by brightly fluorescent blue, purple and green soft coral and a huge variety of hard encrusted coral.
* Maldives, Indian Ocean
The Maldives has become one of the world’s compelling scuba diving destinations complete with an abundance of dive sites, coral reefs and superb warm waters.A series of ancient coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise is teeming with rich biodiversity. Maldivian diving beckons with huge shoals of butterflyfish and oriental sweetlips, white tips, hammerheads, whale sharks, eagle rays, giant napoleons and blue marlin, many of which inhabit vast reef-formations. Fish Head, also known as Mushi Mas Mingili, is one of the most famous dive sites on the planet. The underwater scenery is splendid with plenty of sightings of grey reef sharks, dog-toothed tuna, white tip reef sharks and napoleon wrasse.
* Bali, Indonesia
The jewel of Indonesia allures with dazzling aquatic vistas set against a backdrop of sun-kissed beaches, mighty volcanoes and rice paddy terraces. This much-celebrated dive destination boasts some of the world’s best marine biodiversity and plenty of deep-sea surprises.Bali’s dive sites offer great diversity; from limestone shorelines and vertical walls to volcanic outcrops and coral-covered ridges. Underwater marine sights include the hairy frogfish, pygmy seahorses, cockatoo leaf fish, bumphead parrotfish, mantra rays and reef sharks. The mola mola, often called the ocean sunfish, is best seen between July and October. At Tulamben on Bali’s north east coast lies, what is claimed to be the safest shipwreck in the world. The marine life swirling around the coral-encrusted wreck includes sweet lips, thorny oysters, a resident school of jackfish and – occasionally – the great barracuda.
* Oman, Middle East
Set on the south-eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, this is a blissfully little-known diving paradise boasting an exceptionally diverse marine life.Emerging as a diving hotspot with sea life similar to that found in the Red Sea, Oman’s most prominent diving areas include Al Khayran, Al Fahil Island, Dimaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay (Old Muscat) and Al Jissah Beach. The eye-catching marine life includes over 350 varieties of coral, 22 species of whale and dolphin and an abundance of sea turtles and tropical fish.Accessed by boat from the capital Muscat, the beautiful state-protected Daymaniyat Islands offercrystal clear waters, rare coral reefs and 280 different species of fish.
* Grand Cayman, Caribbean
The largest of the three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is located on a plateau in the middle of the western Caribbean Sea measuring 22 miles long by eight miles wide. Rising straight from the mid-Caribbean seafloor, this paradise island offers over 200 diving sites.Many sites are defined by towering canyons, precipitous walls, reefs laced with dramatic swim-throughs and abundant marine life including sea turtles, tarpon, eagle rays, nurse and reef sharks, eels and barracuda. Most sea-worthy is Tarpon Alley, named for the many tarpon (also known as silver kings) who find food refuge in the reef. Considered the world’s ‘Best Twelve Foot Dive’, Stingray City is a unique series of shallow sandbars located in the North Sound area of Grand Cayman.