6 short dive trips to take from Singapore

Scuba addicts, consider these six places for the next (long) weekend getaway

Macro hotspot Anilao is easy to get to and extremely popular with underwater photographers (Photo: Sam David)

Contrary to popular belief, scuba diving holidays don’t always have to be seven days long. If there’s a glorious long weekend coming up, or if you can escape the office for just a day and make it a three or four-day weekend, consider these six places to fly to from Singapore (which, don’t forget, is the gateway to many excellent dive destinations after all). 

Anilao, Philippines

A paradise for underwater photographers, Anilao is home to a wide range of the most sought-after Indo-Pacific critters. Shrimp, nudibranchs, cuttlefish, pipefish, frogfish, octopus – so many subjects, so little time. It takes about three hours to get to the area by car from Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Manila: 3 hours 40 minutes

Perhentian, Malaysia

The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia are perfect for a laid-back weekend getaway. Chances are you’ll be able to spot blacktip sharks, stingrays, eagle rays, turtles, and lots more. Currents usually aren’t very strong, which means newbies can explore the islands’ clear blue waters with ease. To get to the Perhentian Islands, you need to find your way to the Kuala Besut jetty (it’s about one hour away from the Kota Bharu airport by car) and hop on a ferry for a 30 to 45-minute boat ride to the islands.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Kota Bharu: 45 minutes

Menjangan Island’s Temple Wall is another fab place to dive in Bali (Photo: Sam David)

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is great for divers of all skill levels. Beginners can consider Tulamben, home to the famous USS Liberty Wreck, or even muck diving hotspot, Amed. Those with more experience can opt for drift dives at Crystal Bay or dive with the graceful mantas of Manta Point; both are located at Nusa Penida, a little island southeast of Bali.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Bali: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Bunaken, Indonesia

In the waters of Indonesia’s Bunaken National Park, you can pretty much see adorable turtles on nearly every dive. Expect plenty of wall and drift diving, as well as currents that are rather unpredictable. While admiring the gorgeous sea fans and schools of fish, you need to keep an eye on that dive computer and be sure to watch your depth.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Manado: 3 hours 30 minutes

See how many species of octopus you can spot when diving Lembeh (Photo: Sam David)

Lembeh, Indonesia

It’s not uncommon for divers to visit both Bunaken and Lembeh when they’re in Manado since the two aren’t very far from each other, but if you don’t have the luxury of time, this muck diving mecca is a great option. The macro life in these waters are so wonderfully weird, and the best thing is that no matter which resort you end up choosing, excellent dive sites are usually no more than 10 minutes away by boat.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Manado: 3 hours 30 minutes

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has an interesting mix of dive sites. Spots that attract crowds include the sunken car ferry, the King Cruiser Wreck; Racha Noi, where pelagics like manta rays are known to make an appearance; and Shark Point – which features beautiful soft coral-covered pinnacles.

Estimated flight time from Singapore to Phuket: 1 hour 50 minutes

Val dives to discover the majestic world beneath the surface and shares her experiences through photographs. She waved goodbye to travelling light ever since she first laid eyes on an underwater camera in 2015. When not taking Pokeball (her camera) out for a swim, Val works as an advertising professional based in Singapore.