Diving in Vietnam: Best Dive Sites You Can’t Miss

written by local expert Becky Rogers

Becky is an avid rock climber and outdoor enthusiast and is now living in France as an expat. When she is not writing about travel gear and various destinations she has visited during her travels, you can find her playing with her two dogs.

Vietnam is a stunning country, known for its delicious globalized dishes, friendly locals, and tourist-grabbing natural beauty. What many don’t know is, that with a massive 3260 km coastline, Vietnam is also a diving paradise for diver enthusiasts and non-divers alike! With the majority of its waters still unexplored, the diving sites are largely unspoiled and in amazing condition. If you’re familiar with the beauty of the country top side, why not peak below the waves and discover the charm of the underwater world? To help you make the decision of the best dive spots to hit, we’ve put together a list of the best diving in Vietnam. Get ready to breach the waters and get down under!

Diving in Vietnam

Nha Trang

Location: Khanh Hoa Province

The most popular area for diving in Vietnam is in Nha Trang. Why I hear you say? It’s simple. Nha Trang Bay boasts 12,000 hectares of reef-filled waters known as the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area. The dive sites here are perfect for beginners learning to dive, due to its shallow waters, but are also ideal for experienced divers! Expect to see a range of tropical fish from butterfly and box fish to moray eels and pufferfish, and expect to see them perfectly as the visibility is great in July and August! There are many great dives in Nha Trang, so we’ve listed our best below for you. Enjoy!

Resources: Scuba Diving in Nha Trang Vietnam: Yay or Nay? and Best Places to Stay in Nha Trang

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Dive Sites in Nha Trang

Moray Beach

Although Moray Beach can get quite crowded underwater due to all of the courses being taught, it is a very popular dive site for a reason! For many reasons actually. Firstly, the marine life makes any dive, so expect to see many different species of nudibranch, moray eels, lionfish, flying gurnard, clownfish and sea horses. Secondly, the excellent visibility and vast coral reef make for amazing sea photography! An ideal dive site for all certification levels, this hidden gem of the South China Sea will impress anyone who comes across it!

Highlights: Although a busy dive site, the underwater life at Moray Beach is nevertheless impressive. If you’re looking for something different to do here, enter the Moray Cave on a dive if you dare! You’ll get the chance to see pipefish, razorfish, and the weirdly wonderful devil scorpionfish.

Madonna Rock

For a fun underwater playground, Madonna Rock provides you with that and more! Discover the incredible natural architecture under the waves, where you can swim through tunnels and caves in the rocks at various depths. Explore the ecosystem that has formed on these rocks, and all the nooks and caverns that fish species hide in. With hard and soft corals surrounding you, feast your eyes on millions of small glass fish, flatworms and ornate ghost fish to the bigger unicorn fish, surgeonfish, cobia rays, and octopus. An ideal dive site for deep, multi-level and peak performance buoyancy dives, Madonna Rock needs to be on your list if you’re diving in Vietnam.

Highlights: Obviously the animals and underwater playground are a highlight of this dive site, but wouldn’t you like to see where it got its name? With two large triangular shaped rocks looming from the waters, you’ll struggle to think of anything else but Madonna when you dive here!

Electric Nose

The curiously named Electric Nose dive site mainly consists of a massive pinnacle that rises from a depth of 50m right up to the surface. Covered in masses of soft coral which provide a rich macro life, this great rock is one of the most popular dive spots in Nha Trang because of the diversity that it boasts. As well as the rock itself, the dive site also offers a colorful reef and a cavern, so you can easily spend a few days here and not manage to explore the entire site! Recommended for advanced divers due to the depth and current, this is one spot that offers just as much adventure as species of fish.

Highlights: The best part of this dive site? The massive diversity of species! Over 50 different species of nudibranch were recorded at this one spot, as well as many types of shrimps, crabs, flatworms and mantis shrimps. As well as diversity, the sheer number of life here is also a major bonus! The large swim through the rock is particularly beautiful, as it is covered in hundreds of bright yellow sunflower corals. dive sites vietnam

Hoi An

Location: Quang Nam Province

The coast of Hoi An is teeming with a variety of coral and tropical fish, so naturally, these warm waters make for excellent scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. With deeper dive sites and towering pinnacles covered in sea life, Hoi An offers exciting opportunities for every diver. For the best diving in Vietnam from Hoi An, we’ve chosen our favorite two spots.

Resources: Best Places to Stay in Hoi An

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Dive Sites in Hoi An

Hon Nhan

One for the intermediate divers out there is Hon Nhan dive site. At 40m deep, you will see thousands of nudibranchs scattered all over the seabed as far as you can see; this, together with large schools of fish creating magnificent patterns, makes for an incredible diving experience. Boasting a vast high-rise coral skyline, at this site you will also be able to see hundreds of pipefish, seahorses, barracudas, ribbon eels and triggerfish! With a top-notch diving spot like Hon Nhan, trust us when we say you’ll be fully satisfied when diving in Vietnam if you travel to Hoi An.

Highlights: We love a challenge, so the impressive rock formations, drop-offs, and caverns are our highlights of this dive site!

Hon Mo

Diving in Hoi An is a favorite for travelers, not only for the mysterious and plentiful marine life but also for the fine sand beaches that are just waiting for you to relax on after a great dive or snorkeling session! At Hon Mo dive site, it’s no different. Full of hard and soft corals, this area ranges in-depth from 4-35 meters so is a perfect site for divers of all levels. Due to the range of corals, expect to see that reflected in the sea life as well! Relish in the trumpetfish, clown fish, sea horses and nudibranchs that populate the area.

Highlights: Hon Mo dive site is a short boat ride away from Hoi An, so it’s perfect for a day out diving. Wouldn’t we all like to kickback with a beer on the beach after such an active day out? I can hear the resounding hell yes already! vietnam-diving-seahorse

Phu Quoc

Location: Kiên Giang Province

Although visibility may not be great in Phu Quoc (due to the run-off water from the Mekong River), the healthy water means hard coral growth and an abundance of fish life! Officially opened for diving in 2002, Phu Quoc is surprisingly still being discovered today. A perfect diving area for beginners, yet offering challenging dives for macro-lovers, here are our top picks for dive sites in Phu Quoc.

Resources: Things to do in Phu Quoc Island

Dive Sites in Phu Quoc

Hon Ko (Dry Island)

A dive site in the south of Phu Quoc, Hon Ko doesn’t look like much from above the surface. However, it is so much more than just a few rock pillars peeking from beneath the water! Home to a breathtaking reef system beneath the waves, a dive here will reveal many miter shells, nudibranchs, catfish, rays and bamboo sharks. You may also see parrot fish and butterfly fish that flock here to feed on the abundance of food. With such a remote island bursting with life under the sea, Hon Ko is a hot spot for isolated diving in Vietnam.

Highlights: It’s a completely different experience diving in Hon Ko. For one, the island doesn’t have any vegetation (hence dry island!).

Nudibranch Gardens

In contrast to Hon Ko, you will find another gem of a diving spot in the north of Phu Quoc. As the name suggests, at the Nudibranch Gardens you’ll discover a plethora of nudibranchs and other smaller marine life. Although a very shallow reef to dive in, there are larch coral and rock formations in the deeper sections that are big enough for bamboo sharks to hide underneath. If you’re lucky enough or have the time to search, you may discover some lurking in the reef! Whatever level of diving you’re accustomed to, the Nudibranch Gardens make for an exciting spot for diving in Vietnam!

Highlights: Obviously, the nudibranchs themselves! This diving site is populated with a vast number of Godiva nudibranchs, which are a beautiful bright purple color that fills the ocean floor. It’s an amazing sight to see!

Whale Island

Location: Vạn Ninh, Khánh Hòa

Just a 90-minute drive north of Nha Trang, you’ll find the idyllic Whale Island nestled in Van Phong Bay. This beautiful and sheltered bay is the epitome of a true island getaway, complete with turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. With the whales and whale sharks coming to the archipelago to feed on masses of krill and plankton (between April and July), there is no better name for the island than this. For the best dive spots around Whale Island, check out our top three choices.

White Rock

Although one of the furthest dive sites on Whale Island, White Rock is worth the journey to get there! Sheer walls drop from the water surface down to depths of 40m with huge pinnacles emerging from the seabed; this makes for quite the exciting dive! With the depths being covered in black coral trees and gorgonians, diving here is not for the faint-hearted, especially as many huge black rays swim hauntingly beneath you.

Highlights: This dive site has everything you could want! Deep diving with a dark bottom that adds mystery, and impressive underwater rock formations that are covered in soft corals and nudibranchs. galapagos-manta-rays

Ho Trau Nam (Three King Island)

If you want to be amazed while diving in Vietnam, you’ll need to dive at Ho Trau Nam. Named from the three rock pinnacles that loom above the waves, these three “Kings” are the foundation for the rich ecosystem that has formed below. When diving here, the first thing that you’ll notice is the burst of yellow, white and purple corals and gorgonians that plaster the seabed far below you. Next, you’ll be overwhelmed with the marine life themselves. Expect to see majestic manta, eagle and sting rays that frequently visit this dive site, as well as weirdly wonderful sea slugs that you’ll find deeper down in the reef. Easily one of the most beautiful and spectacular dive spots of Whale Island, Ho Trau Nam can’t be missed while diving in Vietnam.

Highlights: With so many unusual critters and beautiful soft corals decorating the seabed, this dive spot is a perfect location for those divers who love photography!

Whale Island Bay

To finish our best diving in Vietnam list, Whale Island Bay has to take our last spot. A perfect site for an easy dive, you can have some fun here seeing the many types of clownfish and anemones. The area is also home to trevally, groupers, and snapper that tend to hang around the large rocky formations. With the depth ranging from 15 to 50 meters, this dive spot is ideal for divers of all abilities.

Highlights: It has to be the abundance of clown fish in their anemones! Seeing them so colorful and in sheer numbers is a magical sight. best-dive-sites-vietnam

Best Time to Scuba Dive in Vietnam

Dive sites in Vietnam are accessible all year round, but the best time to dive is in the main diving season from March through to October. This is due to better visibility and calmer currents.

Insider’s Tip: Weather will vary greatly from place to place in Vietnam, so make sure to check the weather conditions of each individual place that you are diving in!

As all good things must come to an end, so why not go and check out some of these spots for diving in Vietnam?

An ideal place to challenge yourself or to experience your first ever dive, you’ll be sure to find the best dive site for you in Vietnam!

Need more travel inspiration while in Vietnam? Check out our other articles

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