There is superb Vietnam diving along almost every part of the country’s 2,100 miles of beaches. And that’s not even including the several thousand islands that dot the coastline. The country’s incredibly scenic coast and undiscovered islands are fringed with coral reefs, making for wonderful diving holidays.
Some of the best scuba diving in Vietnam (in the entire South China Sea which includes southern China, Malaysia, and Indonesia) is found in Hon Mun Marine Park, the country’s first park dedicated to protecting the marine ecosystem. The park is accessible only by boat or by a scenic ride on the cable car from the mainland. At almost 11,000 uninterrupted feet, it bills itself as the world’s longest cable car.
With Hon Tam Island at its center, the park is located just off the coast of the city of Nha Trang, located about halfway between Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Outstanding diving in Vietnam can be found here at Rainbow Reef with both hard and soft coral; Madonna Rock with underwater caves; Moray Beach with its giant moray eels; down the steep walls of Goat Rock; and in the deep waters around the jagged pinnacles of the Electric Nose. If you can only dive in Vietnam in one place, this is it.
About 55 miles further north is Whale Island, where the legendary Jacques Cousteau first discovered his underwater passion. You won’t find luxury hotels here, but rather a resort area with charming bungalow huts set right on the pristine sands. You will also find Vietnam diving in an underwater ecosystem of amazing diversity. While there are many PADI qualified operators who cater to serious divers, this area is excellent for scuba diving in Vietnam even for beginners. Many excellent spots can be accessed in fairly shallow waters right from the beaches, while the more experienced divers go farther out to sea for deeper dives. There are even diving programs for children as young as eight years old, so this is a great place for family vacations. As with surfers, nightlife is important to many divers, and this area around Nha Trang has some great beach bars and clubs.
There is also excellent nightlife and scuba diving in Vietnam on the other side of the country on the tropical paradise of Phu Quoc Island. This island is just being discovered by tourists who are finding Thailand’s Phuket Island to be too developed. It is the largest in the country and located just off the Cambodia coast in the Bay of Thailand. The best time to go dive in Vietnam on this island is from about mid-October until early April. Pho Quoc offers many other things to do, including an interior of jungle-covered mountains and waterfalls, vast black pepper plantations, and more laid-back nightlife.
Just south of Da Nang is the ancient small city of Hoi An, which has remained almost frozen in time for centuries and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the ideal destination for someone who wants to dive in Vietnam and still delve into the rich maritime history of the country and this beautiful, once thriving seaport. Offshore are the eight islands that make up Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, with more than 200 species of fish and 150 species of coral.
You will be able to enjoy Vietnam diving and snorkeling almost wherever you are on the country’s coast or waters. The number one tourist destination in Vietnam is beautiful Halong Bay in the north, and one of the most popular things to do for visitors here is to take cruises among the islands of the bay. Most of the cruise ship itineraries will include at least some diving or snorkeling. And, there is also excellent diving off Cat Ba Island, largest island in the bay.