Get in on the exciting aquatic action with our pick of the best snorkelling spots that combine idyllic conditions with dreamy dive sceneries!
1.Sipadan Islands, Malaysia
Sipadan gained cult status in the diving world when diving celebrity Jacques Cousteau raved about the Malaysian island’s diverse marine life. Winning top spot in Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine Gold List has also propelled the island to diving fame with one of the main draws being a turtle tomb, an underwater limestone cave containing the remains of green sea turtles that were trapped and consequently drowned.
2. Palawan Islands , Philippines
You’re missing out on a lot if you visit the Philippines without making a trip to Palawan Islands. The archipelago, which has been conferred Biosphere Reserve status by UNESCO offers divers the chance to encounter pygmy seahorses, dugongs and manta rays and if you’re a history buff, shipwrecks dating from World War 2 located in dive bases like El Nido, Puerto Princesa and Busuanga are sure to pique your curiosity.
3.Similan Islands, Thailand
If you’d like to see Nemo in real life, head to Similan Islands, where the clown fish is a marine wildlife star. Aside from an incredible assortment of marine wildlife, this protected national park houses some of the most spectacular coral growths in the world, making this snorkelling spot an underwater playground for divers.
4.Kerama Islands, Japan
The Kerama Islands are Japan’s best kept secret in the snorkelling world. Situated in Okinawa, the place, which is a grouping of 20 islands is home to many spectacular reefs, coral fish and unique seascapes. In addition to sharks and turtles, the other common marine life you can expect to see here include butterfly fish, unicorn surgeon fish, lion fish and groupers.
5.Andaman Islands, India
India’s most remote state, the Andaman Islands situated in the Bay of Bengal are the ideal place to get away from it all for a spot of snorkelling. A live volcano and diverse fish life make this truly a one-of-a-kind diving site. Plus, where else can you go snorkelling with swimming elephants?
6.Bunaken Islands, Indonesia
Bunaken Island, ranked amongst the best snorkelling destinations in the world is the best place to head to if you’d like to combine underwater action with a bit of marine bio-diversity. In these crystal clear water, with visibility up to 40 metres is where you’ll see sharks, turtles, schools of barracudas and if you’re lucky – dolphins!
7.North Male Atoll, Maldives
Of course, a list of top snorkelling spots won’t be complete without the Maldives and the best place to get in on the diving action would be the island of North Male Atoll. Beneath the sparkling waters is a treasure trove of marine life that features everything from sharks to manta rays, black snappers, large morays, trevally and Maldivian grubfish. Adding to the excitement is the breathtaking topography with numerous caves, steep drop offs and precipitous overhangs.
8.Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
Without question, the Mergui Archipelago, which consists of some 800 islands, represents the best diving that Myanmar has to offer. The largely desolate area contains huge boulders, caverns and tunnels that welcome divers into a world of sharks, manta rays and venomous red lionfish.
9.Koh Tang, Cambodia
Cambodia is not a country that comes to mind when you want to go snorkelling, but the island of Koh Rong proves to be a pleasant surprise for those who do venture forth into its crystal clear azure waters. If you’re afraid of the big fish, you won’t have to contend with them here as the place is home to an incredible variety of small fish you won’t find anywhere else in Asia. The top attraction is no doubt the Khmer Garden for its vast size and unrivalled coral life.
10.Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Head to Phu Quoc Island if you’d like to dive without contending with the hordes of tourists as the island is still a relatively undiscovered snorkelling spot. The island’s dive sites cater for a wide range of diving activities and it’s here that you’ll have the chance to encounter cuttlefish, bamboo sharks, blue-spotted rays and nudibranchs.
Abana Reef – Brunei
Abana reef is a small reef located approximately 5km NE of the Brunei port of Muara. The depth average on the reef is 11m, dropping off gently to about 20m towards the edges of the reef. This reef is notable for the wide variety of soft and hard corals and the wonderful array of reef fish. Night diving makes the reef looks majestic and out of this world.