South East Asia is one of the most species rich areas in the world. Water that hovers around the 25°C mark, a tropical climate that is tempered by sea breezes, more species than most books cover and a wealth of different marine environments, not to mention idyllic sandy shores for surface interval picnics make diving a special pleasure.
Most diving has been centered on the Gulf of Thailand and from Phuket, in the Philippines from Batangas and the Visayas, in Malaysia from the East Coast and Sabah, and in Indonesia from Pulau Seribo, Manado and Flores. While the majority of the diving is from shore to moderately shallow coral gardens, South East Asia does have some good walls to dive. Indonesia has great walls in Manado, Kupang, Komodo and Irian Jaya; Malaysia has fabulous walls in Sipadan and Layang Layang, and a good one at tiny Tenggol.
The Philippines has plenty of good walls at Verde, Anilao, Nsugbu, Apo as well as dozen more places. And while not particularly widespread, South East Asia has its fair share of wrecks. There are numerous war graves and vessels lost during WW II at Pattaya in Thailand, in the bay of Coron in the Philippines and off Manado and Bali in Indonesia. Then there are fishing vessels that met an untimely end and even the odd dive boat or two that took a dive themselves.
When to Visit South East Asia
Avoid the wet monsoon season, generally Dec-mid-Mar. The dry monsoon of southeast winds curtails the diving in Flores during July and August.