Your Guide to Open Water Scuba Diving in Southeast Asia

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Heading to Southeast Asia or maybe you are there now and you’re thinking “I want to get certified in scuba diving?” Well lucky you! We have your guide to open water scuba diving in Southeast Asia right here! We’re here to tell you all about open water certification, where to get certified are and the best places to dive in Southeast Asia.

Your Guide to Open Water Scuba Diving in Southeast Asia

Scuba Diving Certification Options

If you’re looking to get scuba certified, then you’re looking to get your PADI or SSI “Open Water Diving Certification.”

What does this certification get you? Think of it as the foundation you need to do anything else.

Open Water Diving Certification allows you to go as deep at 18 meters (60ft).

The course also teaches you the basics such as hand signaling underwater, what happens when your mask comes off or get filled with water, how to react in emergency situations (ex: running out of air) and loads of other safety information and best practices to use when exploring the big ocean blue.

Once you have your open water certification, it is up to you to decide if you want to get certified further to expand your skills and dive deeper!

For more details on advanced certifications, check those out advanced PADI Certifications here.

Where in Southeast Asia Should I Get Open Water Certified?

For us, we recommend Koh Tao island in Thailand or Perhentian Kecil island in Malaysia. Why?

1) It’s the best bang for your buck meaning CHEAP!

2) The diving is great

3) The dive shops we dove with were amazing at what they do, which is teaching and diving.

Open Water Scuba Diving in Asia
Open Water Scuba Diving in Asia

How Much Does It Cost To Get Open Water Certified?

Know that you are paying for three things when you get certified.

1) Your certification. Which is money that goes to the organization you are getting certified under, i.e PADI, SSI, etc. This is where majority of your cost is.

2) Your gear & dives. Think rentals costs for wet suit, BCD, tanks, etc and 4 dives.

3) Your diving instructor. These folks have to make money too!

For us, the cost to get certified in Koh Tao was roughly $200 per person (June 2017).

How Long Does It Take to Get Open Water Certified?

Give yourself three days to get certified. Two of the three days, you’re in the water.

One day you’ll need to watch some videos, take a few quizzes and then your diving exam.

The “in class room day” isn’t bad. We ended up watching videos in our hotel room and then took quizzes and tests at the dive shop.

Once we passed the exam, you head out to practice what you learned in class and apply it in the water.

You do two dives on the second day and the final two dives on the third day.

Each dive you learn and complete new skills and gradually get to 18 meters (60 ft) of depth.

After your fourth dive on the third day, you’re open water certified!

Scuba Diving in Indonesia
Scuba Diving in Indonesia

Best Dive Shops in Southeast Asia?

Where Is the Best Scuba Diving In Southeast Asia?

In our opinion, Indonesia. Without a doubt!

The coral is insane and the marine life you see is out of this world. From sharks to manta rays to octopuses to bazillions of sea turtles, Indonesia will not disappoint.

If you’re in Asia or heading that way, make sure you make some time to dive in Gili T and around Flores. It’ll leave you speechless.

Below is a list of our favorite dive sites in Indonesia as well as the other sites we dove in Thailand and Malaysia.

  • Halik – Gili T, Indonesia
  • Sunset – Gili T, Indonesia
  • Cauldron – Flores, Indonesia
  • Castle Rock –  Flores, Indonesia
  • Crystal Rock –  Flores, Indonesia
  • Siaba Besar –  Flores, Indonesia
  • Batu Balong –  Flores, Indonesia
  • Karange Makassar –  Flores, Indonesia
  • Twins – Koh Tao, Thailand
  • Chumphon Pinnacle – Koh Tao, Thailand
  • White Rock – Koh Tao, Thailand
  • T3 – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
  • D’Lagoon – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
  • Batu Layar (Snail Rock) – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
  • Police Wreck – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
  • Temple of The Sea – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia
  • Tanjoy Basi – Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

Scuba Diving Travel Insurance

Scuba Diving does not come without risk. You are entering the water and truly anything can happen.

Now, this should not scare you but sound off a little alarm for you to be prepared. Scuba Diving Travel Insurance through World Nomads is something we have and recommend for other travelers.

Whether it’s your first time or you 100th time Scuba Diving, our motto is better safe than sorry. From gear protection to trip protection to the worst case scenarios, World Nomads has you covered above and below the water 🙂


What To Pack For A Scuba Diving Day Trip

Tips On How To Choose A Great Dive Shop

What To Expect When Getting Your Open Water Certification


scuba diving guide to Southeast Asia pin

For more travel tips, guides and awesome travel shots, be sure to poke around our site, follow us on Instagram @wanderingstusPinterest and on Facebook. Oh, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or, just leave us a positive note!

Happy Travels,

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

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