Lengthy stretches of beaches, untouched coastlines, and numerous islands offer several options make diving in Cambodia an ideal diving experience.
The Kingdom of Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder
Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country bordering Laos and Thailand in the north, Vietnam in the east, and the Gulf of Thailand in the southwest. Agriculture and tourism are two of the biggest parts of Cambodia’s economy.
Diving in Cambodia
Cambodia is still virtually unknown to many divers internationally, but it has some of the most untouched marine treasures that make it a perfect destination for diving. With similar characteristics compared to the underwater environments in the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia’s untouched underwater territories are yet to crowded by the masses. Numerous rocky reefs provide a marine sanctuary for hard and soft corals and abundant species of fish including eels, rays, and massive macro life. Cambodia’s resort town of Sihanouk Ville is the hub of scuba diving due to its white sandy beaches and good access to the dive sites.
Cambodia’s water conditions are considered ideal for long enjoyable hours of underwater exploration. Water temperature is relatively warm, ranging between 27-31oC (80-88oF). Visibility varies according to weather conditions that can reach up to 40 meters (131 feet) during the dry season from October to June. A majority of Cambodia’s dive sites are comparatively shallow being around 15 meters (49 feet) in depth. The somewhat gentle currents also make accessibility easy, creating an ideal spot for snorkeling adventures as well. Diving in Cambodia is considered perfect for both beginning and advanced divers. There are several dive centers and dive shops scattered along the coasts of Cambodia. Cambodia has a tropical climate similar to other neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. The weather conditions are characterized by a rainy season, which occurs from May to October. Cambodia’s dry season starts in November and ends in April.
Dive Sites in Cambodia
Isolated for several decades from tourists, the waters of Cambodia definitely offer some of the richest and the most untouched dive sites in Southeast Asia. In addition to the great dive sites in Sihanouk Ville, scuba diving in Cambodia will definitely become even better known with these stunning dive sites:
Koh Sdach Archipelago
Koh Sdach Archipelago is one of the hidden jewels of Cambodia’s waters. With pristine coral reefs and flamboyant sea creatures, this dive site definitely offers a fabulous diving experience. Sightings include multiple varieties of eels, crabs, rays, nudibranches, scorpion fish, lion fish and more.
Characterized by shallow waters, Koang Kang is not only ideal for scuba diving but is also great for anyone interested in snorkeling. With an attractive collection of corals and a great diversity of marine species, this dive site should be included on every diver’s bucketlist when visiting Cambodia.
Koh Rong Samloem
The shallow depths reaching only to a maximum of 59 feet (18 meters) make diving in Koh Rong Samloem easy and convenient. Enticing the divers are beautiful species of corals, anemones, sponges and critters. Its rocky reefs are occasionally visited by majestic sharks, turtles and barracudas as well.
With its clear water of excellent average visibility of up to 49 feet (15 Meters), Koh Tang boasts of many large and wild eagle rays and leopard sharks. Its abundant marine life and beautiful sandy beaches have also made this site truly a diver and sea lover’s paradise.
Also known as the “Baby Island”, Koh Kon is a small island offering homes to a wide assortment of corals and marine life such as the boxfish, parrotfish, snappers, stingrays, and cat sharks. With an average of 33 feet (10-meters) visibility, this charming diving spot will amaze both beginner and expert divers.
With its 98 feet (30-meter) average visibility and 65-foot (20-meter) depth, the Condor Reef features an impressive underwater architecture jam-packed with submerged ships and colorful coral formations. This dive site is also an excellent spot for recurrent sightings of sharks, turtles, eels, and whale sharks.
With a great diversity of marine plant and animal life, the beautiful dive site of Set Salam presents a spectacular abundance of colorful corals and vibrant fish inhabitants. Seeing the warm and friendly bonds formed between juvenile fish and their coral shelters also dazzles divers.
Knowing More About Cambodia
In order to gain legal entry to Cambodia foreigners are required to get a tourist visa (except those who are from selected Asian countries). The visa application is available on the Internet and may cost extra but doing it this way doesn’t take up so much of your time. Aside from scuba diving, several other enjoyable activities are available for tourists. Observing the serene scenes of Kampot River and visiting the breathtaking temples of Angkor are among the top attractions chosen by visitors. The Cambodian Riel is the official currency in Cambodia although US dollars are widely accepted as well. In fact, there are ATMs in several common tourist areas dispensing US currency. With several landmines still planted on Cambodia’s terrain, tourists and locals are warned to keep away from entering jungles and undeveloped areas and staying on well-maintained roads and trails to avoid them.