Dive into luxury
Millions of people flock to coastal regions across the globe each year to soak up the underwater scenery. Gone are the days of arduous commutes from high-end hotels to diving sites or sacrificing a little luxury for a prime location – you no longer need to compromise on comfort.
We’ve put together a list of the best diving sites in South-east Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, renowned not only for panoramic views and impressive biodiversity but also for their luxury resorts.
With smooth beaches and crystal waters, Myanmar is a diver’s dream. The Mergui Archipelago is a key diving site in the Andaman Sea, home to the Lampi Marine National Park. As Myanmar’s only protected marine zone, expect to see abundant wildlife including dolphin, mudskipper and rare reef fish found nowhere else on the planet.
Nestled in the heart of the park is the magnificent Wa Ale Resort which features luxury tented villas and incredible treehouses. Conserving the local environment is at the heart of Wa Ale’s ethos, and every detail is designed to leave as little impact on the landscape as possible. Despite this, guests can still enjoy ultimate luxury including four-poster beds, comfortable social spaces and an elegant on-site restaurant.
Comprising over 7,000 islands, this archipelago nation is a hot spot for divers who want to explore. It’s also great for those just starting out as the Palawan region is considered one of the best local dive-training locations. As well as exotic marine life including butterflyfish, clownfish and barracuda, there are enormous WWII warships resting on the seabed – now home to turtle and sea snake.
In terms of accommodation, you can’t get more luxurious than a private island. Nestled on beautiful Pamalican, Amanpulo features stunning views of the Sulu Sea. Thanks to its location just an hour’s flight from bustling Manila, you can flit between the tranquil wilderness and buzzing city as you wish. To make it even easier, Amanpulo offers twice-daily flights on their private plane. Look forward to fine furnishings, an opulent spa and your own personal assistant.
Indonesia is an underwater paradise complete with historical shipwrecks, abundant fish and exciting opportunities for both reef and drift diving. Located in eastern Indonesia, Raja Ampat offers pristine underwater landscapes and unparalleled biodiversity. Made up of hundreds of islands, Raja Ampat (meaning ‘four kings’) is named in honour of four key islands: Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and Salawati.
The north waters are easily accessible from Bawah Reserve, a luxury hotel bordered by the beach and rainforest. Set across six islands, three lagoons and 13 beaches, accommodation is offered across beach suites, jungle lodges and overwater bungalows. The hospitality here is second-to-none and décor marries fine design with natural materials to blur the boundaries between you and the wilderness.
The best way to explore the south is with liveaboard accommodation. One of the very few five-star vessels registered to sail in Indonesian waters, the Lamima is an impressive ship that epitomises luxury. Cruise in style as you unwind in spacious cabins, and enjoy access to a gourmet chef, two Balinese masseuses and an on-board PADI dive centre.
The warm waters of the Indian Ocean welcome you in Sri Lanka as well as nearly 1,600 kilometres of palm-fringed coastline. Trincomalee, located in the north-east of Sri Lanka, is far from the tourist hot spots and known mainly as a natural harbour area. However, the experiences on offer here are exemplary. Head out on a boat tour in search of the majestic blue whale. Work with an expert photography coach to capture perfectly composed images you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Alternatively, dive the sparkling waters at your leisure on your own underwater adventure.
There’s no better place to rest your head than Jungle Beach. Nestled within a 10-hectare estate, this stunning eco-retreat showcases modern design made from indigenous materials. Guest facilities include a swimming pool, spa and fitness centre as well as gourmet Sri Lankan cuisine prepared by an in-house chef.
Thailand is renowned for white sandy beaches, clear waters and palm-fringed coastlines. With an array of deep drop-offs, shipwrecks, caverns, tunnels and pinnacles, these waters are the perfect obstacle course for divers of all abilities. The abundant underwater flora attracts a diverse range of marine life making the seas a colourful and lively place to explore.
The best way to capitalise on Thailand’s many diving opportunities is by island hopping in a super yacht. The Maha Bhetra yacht, part of the glamourous Amanpuri fleet, is the perfect vessel to charter for this journey of discovery. Set out on an exciting adventure through the Gulf of Thailand into Cambodian and Vietnamese waters. This 27-metre-long motor yacht includes three palatial double cabins accented with sleek décor and 18th-century South-east Asian furnishings.
If you’re feeling inspired to book a luxury diving holiday, why not speak to one of our travel specialists to begin creating your tailor-made holiday?