Episode 65: SCUBA Diving in Southeast Asia with Chris Mitchell

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s best regions for SCUBA diving. From wreck diving to focusing on spotting creatures like the whale shark, Southeast Asia has you covered. Whether you’re looking to get certified as a diver or take advanced courses, the region’s warm waters, abundant corals, and of course cultures and things to see above the surface make this an incredible area to choose for diving. Today we’ll talk with a diving enthusiast about his experience in the region under the water.

Download and Listen to Episode 65 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

Scott & Trevor banter about their diving experience in the region: Scott got certified in a glacier-fed lake in Alberta, Canada way back in the 90s prior to a trip to Cuba. He dove a number of times in Cuba then got his Advance certification on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and logged about 50 dives. In Southeast Asia he’s dove off Ko Chang, Ko Tao, Ao Nang Krabi, and Similan Islands, all in Thailand. In Vietnam he dove off Nha Trang in about 1996 and at the Perhentian Islands in NE peninsular Malaysia.

TTA-Mu-Ko-Lanta-National-ParkTrevor snorkeled in the Caribbean before he can remember and did some early diving pre-PADI with his dad and sister in Mexico and around the Caribbean. Eventually he was certified in Samui in 1996 and while he’s done around 50 dives, he never gotten any advanced certification. He’s not against them, he just hasn’t had the need, although he’s managed to do some wrecks and some deep dives. Most of his diving in recent years has been in Hawaii, Indonesia, and Thailand, though he’s dove in Australia and Malaysia too.

Download and Listen to Episode 65 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

What have we liked and not liked about diving in the region? Especially in more recent years, Trevor has found the dive conditions in Thailand disappointing. Trevor thought the water at Similan was great but otherwise he hasn’t been impressed much in a long time. While he still finds Indo pretty awesome, more and more he prefers snorkeling and freediving (though I have yet to take a breathing course). Unless it’s a wreck or there is some cool underwater topography or some really cool marine life, such as sharks or whales, Trevor would rather do shallow reef snorkels where the marine life is impressive.

Scott has just gotten kind of bored with diving as it’s a bit of effort and often see the kind of fish he’s seen many times before. If he is somewhere and it’s affordable and easy, sure. Otherwise, he thinks he needs something new like a wreck, whale shark, or something significant. Scott agrees with Trevor that Thai dive sites are over-rated for the most part.

TTA-Malapascua-AnemoneWhere would we like to dive? Trevor says Palau. Some atoll in the South Pacific where he can do hammerhead drift dives like Michael Crichton describes in Travels. Otherwise, yeah, anywhere there are sharks or whales: stuff like that. Perhaps the Philippines. Scott says he would like to do a liveaboard in Indo: to Flores, Komodo, and around there.

Today’s Guest: Chris Mitchell

Our guest today is a British scuba diving journalist originally from Plymouth, UK. Chris Mitchell has been living and working in Asia for the last 15-years. He co-authored a book, Thailand’s Underwater World and has written for most of the major scuba diving magazines, including Sport Diver and Scuba Diving in the US, Asian Diver and Scuba Diver Australasia. Chris joins us from Bangkok. Hi Chris.

To hear Chris answer these and other questions about SCUBA diving in Southeast Asia, download and Listen to Episode 65 on SoundCloud or iTunes Now!

  • What first brought you to Asia to live and work?
  • When did you first get an interest in scuba diving?
  • What were the early years of diving like for you?
  • How and when did you turn ‘pro’ so-to-speak?
  • From your website and podcast, www.DiveHappy.com, we see that you’ve dove all over SE Asia. How does diving in SE Asia compare to other hotspots around the world?
  • Why Bangkok? Does Thailand still stand up?
  • What makes the region a good area for divers?
  • What’s your favorite country to dive in?
  • What are some of your favorite sites?
  • We’ve heard a lot about coral bleaching and compromised dive sites, how are sites in SE fairing?
  • What areas do you think have “jumped the shark” ie. not really worth visiting anymore?
  • Where should people go to learn to dive and get certified?
  • Which areas are best for more advanced divers and diving?
  • What should people keep in mind when planning a diving holiday to SE Asia?
  • What led you to start a diving podcast and what can people expect from it?

Want to hear more, listen to episode 48: Snorkeling & Diving in Southeast Asia

See a Photo Gallery from this episode!

About our guest: 

To learn more about Scott & Trevor:

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