Beginner and advanced divers can experience the world’s richest reefs from remote sanctuaries in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia
Secret Retreats, a collection of nearly 100 independently owned boutique hotels, restaurants and cruises, invites intrepid travellers to explore Asia’s underwater world with properties and experiences in leading diving destinations including Indonesia’s ‘Coral Triangle’, the Similan Islands and more. In addition to promoting exclusive dive experiences, Secret Retreats is also releasing a series of regularly updated special diving packages that can be found at http://www.secret-retreats.com/offers/dive.
From scuba diving through Komodo on a liveaboard to being one of the few allowed to dive in a former shark finning camp, Secret Retreats’ dive discoveries offer divers the opportunity to experience myriad marine life and vibrant coral colonies while supporting eco-friendly and ethical diving practices to help protect Asia’s oceans for future generations.
Diving in Indonesia
Misool, an eco dive resort and conservation centre located on a private island in southern Raja Ampat, allows guests to discover some of the world’s richest reefs while also directly contributing to the region’s natural preservation. The resort, which features luxurious stilted water cottages and beach villas built from reclaimed wood, not only provides the perfect base for divers to explore the underwater wonders of Raja Ampat – known for the highest recorded marine biodiversity levels on the planet – but directly supports its own marine conservation charity, Misool Foundation, which patrols the resort’s 1,200-square-kilometre No-Take Zone.
Misool offers all-inclusive 7-, 9- and 12-night packages and was featured prominently in the IMAX 3D film ‘Journey to the South Pacific’. The resort was also a finalist in the National Geographic World Legacy Awards in 2017, as well as the prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow awards, and chosen by National Geographic Traveler as one of the world’s best eco lodges.
For another one-of-a-kind experience, divers can board the Silolona, a hand crafted wooden sailing vessel journeys deep into Indonesia’s Komodo Archipelago, home to the famous ‘dragons’, hundreds of secluded beaches, crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs. Featuring its own fully licensed PADI centre, instructors and equipment onboard, the vessel offers 5-day Komodo cruises in the summer and 7-day winter cruises through Raja Ampat. The 5-star experiences envelop guests in understated elegance while also offering world-class cuisine and personal stateroom cabin stewards. From bonﬁres on the beach to discovering underwater wonders like manta rays, whale sharks and sea turtles, no expense has been spared on Silolona’s voyages through Southeast Asia.
Also in Indonesia, Slow Villas and Spa on the island of Gili Air is just a 20-minute boat ride away from famed diving spots that are home to some of the greatest tropical marine biodiversity in the world, including 50% more species than the Red Sea and high likelihoods to encounter numerous turtles on a single dive.
Just 40 minutes by water taxi from Lombok or two hours by speed ferry from Bali, this eco friendly paradise features ten Balinese-style luxury villas, each with their own private swimming pool, along with a variety of activities based on celebrating the slow spirit and living in the moment including cooking, yoga, meditation, snorkelling and diving. The hotel actively supports shark and manta ray conservation, is involved in The Ocean Clean-up’s mission to have a plastic-free sea and supports Gili Eco Trust projects, including bio-rock reef restoration.
Diving in Thailand
On Koh Phra Thong in Surin Islands National Park, Golden Buddha Beach Resort is situated along a 12-kilometre stretch of deserted beach in one of Thailand’s last pristine coastal areas. Thanks to the national park, the region has been protected from overfishing and mass tourism, fostering rich marine diversity and excellent reef conditions with hundred-year-old coral colonies.
With Golden Buddha Beach Resort as a base (only open from November to May), dive trips can be arranged to the Similan archipelago known for its clear shallow waters, striking rock formations and spectacular coral reefs. The nearby Richelieu Rock is considered one of Thailand’s most iconic dive sites and often ranked among the ten best diving spots in the world, famous for finding barracuda, giant trevallies, dogtooth tuna and whale sharks.
Diving in Malaysia
Just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Manukan Island Resort is a private island resort in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Surrounded by a protected coral reef and white sand beaches, the oceanfront retreat offers beach suites and hillside villas, along with unparalleled watersport activities.
Diving is open year round with 50 dive sites located less than 15 minutes away from the resort featuring soft coral, tropical reef fish, turtles and black tip reef sharks. Additionally, the Kumaran Wreck just two minutes from Manukan is expected to soon open for divers to spot schools of barracudas, blue-spotted rays, puffer fish and lionfish, as well as occasional green and hawksbill turtles, cuttlefish, reef sharks and whale sharks.
“Asia is a popular destination for divers and we take pride in offering experiences in the region’s most sought-after dive spots,” said Secret Retreats Managing Director Stéphane Junca. “Along with gaining access to some of the region’s most rich and remote diving sites, travellers with Secret Retreats can also rest assured that the properties they’re staying in also work to help protect the local environments and wildlife.”