Into the blue

What mysteries of the deep draw you beneath the translucent waters of Nha Trang’s magical bay of islands? Is it the pure joy of the absolute silence, suspended in an aquatic universe unlike any other? Surrounded by nature in all its beauty, a gateway to another magical world, the senses accelerating into overdrive at this fascinating creation of nature’s brilliance? Whether you are an experienced scuba diver, or a fun loving snorkeler, you can enjoy this cosmos. Nha Trang delivers the best underwater experience in Vietnam, so forget about Hoi An and Phu Quoc, and take the plunge into this undersea adventure. There are a variety of dive sites in the bay, from the amazing swim through caves at Madonna Rock, with moray eels, tropical fish, pinnacles at around 18 meters depth, Moray Beach with its colorful coral, to Hon Mun Marine Sanctuary where everyone can explore the deep, which is a modest 2-5 meters. If you’re snorkeling, just flipper down for a closer view of Elmo and his friends, Lionfish and other flashy characters. There’s multicolored soft and hard corals, a sandy bottom, and a nice ledge to float around. Hon Mun has been a sanctuary for many years now, and whilst you won’t view many larger fish, there is certainly plenty of vibrant marine life to keep you entertained. The next few months, July, August and September, will see low winds, blue skies, calm seas, and excellent visibility, so you have arrived at the best time of the year to dive.

If you are an experienced diver, and have browsed the sites, you might be excused for thinking that Nha Trang is not worth the effort, rest assured, once you are experiencing that wonderful sensation of being weightless, watching the bubbles floating upwards, the warm water, soft and hard coral, in a rainbow of hues, then you will realize, that whilst it isn’t the Great Barrier Reef, you will be pleasantly surprised, and delighted that you dived Nha Trang. If you are wired by a night dive option, it is on the table, but rarely talked about. It is something that you will need to tee up with the dive shop you book with, as there are certain restrictions on boat movements after sunset. For the inexperienced visitors who wish to take a dip into the marine wonderland, and be fascinated by the world beneath the waves, then you will be more than happy with your decision. You can choose from snorkeling and fun-dives or take a course. The courses range from Open Water or Advanced Open Water through to Rescue Diver, taking from 2 days to a month to complete. So, just drop into one of the experienced Dive shops around

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WHO TO CHOOSE?

The world renowned bay, islands and reefs in and around Nha Trang offer the best dive sites in the country without question. Vietnam’s first Maritime Preservation Area is here, and provides protection for the coral and other marine life. Dive in and explore. Here is a quick matter-of-fact guide to choosing a professional operator to teach you how to get wet with a tank.

1. Swimming Pool: Does the dive center provide a swimming pool to train in? This will enable you to become accustomed to the gear and confident in the water before venturing out to the open sea.

2. Certification: Go to the Certification Provider’s website and ensure the shop is currently part of the organization (PADI, SSI). Look for proof of the dive centers renewal for the current year. Remember, once you have your qualification from a recognized dive training organization you can use it across the globe.

3. Check what is being offered. Look for any hidden charges and get a final, all inclusive price. Do your comparisons.

4. Check their safety record. Trip Advisor is a good place to start.

5. Equipment: Diving is an equipment intensive sport, so diving with the best possible gear is essential. Always check the equipment before signing up to dive. Do not just presume it will be ok when you arrive on the boat.

6. Check with fellow divers. Word of mouth is the best guide.

7. Check that your qualification is going to be internationally recognized.

8. If you are already a certified diver then compare the range of dives available to you. Choose the option which excites or interests you. See our list of dive sites in this article.

9. Remember, the more time you spend in the water, the better. Ask the Dive Center how long they spend in the water per dive. Some instructors streamline the skills within the Open Water Diver course to maximize the amount of time you have to practice the core, fundamental know-how required for certification. The techniques produce calmer, and more confident divers.

Dive Sites

The following is a list of the popular dive sites available. Different dive companies will label them with their own monikers but they will know what you mean.

Moray Beach: Superb quality hard and soft coral reef with a sloping wall, two resident giant Morey Eels, Honeycomb, White eyed and White mouthed Moray Eels, Lionfish, Flying Gurnard, Sea Horses, and Sea Pens. Ideal for divers of all certification levels. Maximum depth of 18 meters.

Madonna Rock/ Octopus Rock: Swim throughs, hard and soft corals, Octopus, Barracuda, Unicorn fish, Surgeonfish, Cobia, Rays. Ideal dive site for Deep, Multi-Level and Peak Performance Buoyancy dives. Maximum depth of 28 meters.

Rainbow Reef/Coral Garden: Probably the best quality hard coral reef in Nha Trang Bay, Table Corals, Gogonians, Nudibranchs, Puffer fish, Moorish Idols and Bat fish. Hard corals from 2-14 meters. Maximum depth of 23 meters. Shallow rocky areas are plentiful to enjoy some snorkeling, and deeper rocky and sandy areas down to 23 meters make this a diverse dive site suited to all divers

Tiger Wall: A lovely wall dive to 20 meters is followed by a sloping bottom down to 30 meters. As you descend the face of the wall and then underneath, you will be able to spot a varied display of interesting marine life. It’s ideal for specific training and Advanced Open Water courses. One can find Lionfish, Moray Eels, Angelfish, Grouper and Tiger Cowries.

Debbie’s Beach: A huge bay with gorgeous hard and soft corals and deeper rocky and sandy areas. Snorkelers love the shallow corals at 2-5 meters, and the divers enjoy exploring deeper, from 10-25 meters amongst the rocks. For more experienced divers, close inspection amongst the crevices and vegetation will reveal a myriad of interesting and difficult to spot marine animals such as flatworms and seahorses.

The Electric Nose: Undoubtedly the best dive site in Nha Trang! Because of its location, only advanced divers are recommended to dive here. With a couple of pinnacles jutting from the water, the walls drop down to 35 meters with amazing underwater rocky topography down to 45 meters. This is where the bigger fish hang out along with a huge selection of stunning Nudi branches. A diver’s dream!

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