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Where to Dive Sustainably in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia, with its warm waters, vibrant coral reefs, and unbelievable biodiversity, consistently ranks as one of the world’s most coveted dive regions. It’s a good thing, then, that it’s also currently home to the highest concentration of PADI-accredited Eco Centers on the planet. In this guide to where to dive sustainably in Southeast Asia, we share not only where to dive, but which outfitters to choose for an ocean-first, marine-conscious dive experience with operators who are committed to protecting the environment. 


Dreamy dive spots like Raja Ampat, Komodo, and the Gili Islands are what lure most dive enthusiasts to Indonesia’s diverse ocean depths, and with a record-setting 12 PADI Eco Centers, there’s truly no other place in Southeast Asia where you’ll have this many options to dive sustainably. From Raja Ampat to Komodo, the Nusa Islands, Bali, Bunaken, and Sumbawa, there’s a fully accredited PADI Eco Center to book your dive with. 

PADI-accredited Eco Centers in Indonesia


Situated right at the heart of the coral triangle, the Philippines is home to world-class dive spots like the remote reefs of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the sardine bait balls and whale sharks of Moalboal, and Malapascua’s famous thresher sharks at Monad Shoal. There are well-preserved World War II wreckages to explore and marine sanctuaries protecting pristine reef and rare species like the Persian carpet flatworm, Mototi octopus, and batfish. Currently there are nine PADI-certified Eco Centers in the Philippines, with more already working their way through the vigorous 12-month accreditation process.

PADI-accredited Eco Centers in the Philippines


Atoll lagoons, rock pinnacles (or thilas as they’re formally called), swim-throughs, caverns, and overhangs teeming with life, the Maldives is as much a paradise underwater, as it is above. This low-lying chain of coral islands and atolls, situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is currently home to six PADI-certified Eco Centers prepared to take you out and into its kandus, or monsoon currents. These nutrient-rich channels flow between the atolls, attracting large schools of fish and pelagics for you to take in as you drift down the channel, passing cleaning stations where everything from whale sharks to eagle rays, mantas, and giant turtles come for a service from the wrasse and shrimp happy to help. 

PADI-accredited Eco Centers in the Maldives


Malaysia’s all-level, easily accessible, and widely protected dive spots are concentrated off its east coast. Fortunately, that’s where Malaysia’s most eco-friendly dive centers are also located, ready to guide you to the iconic macro dive sites, barracuda tornadoes, and coral walls hiding rare sea life, like the blue-ring octopus and Ambon scorpion fish. So far, just B&J Diving Center on Tioman Island and Scuba Junkie on Mabul Island are the first dive operators in the country with the PADI Eco Center accreditation. Between the two of them, however, you have access to more than 25 islands for everything from muck dives and wall dives to macro dives and night dives, all while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with going with a company who cares about the ocean and environment as much as you do.  

PADI-accredited Eco Centers in Malaysia


While there’s only one fully accredited PADI Eco Center in Thailand at the moment—Aloha Diving in Phuket—there are a host of other Green Fins and Adopt the Blue member dive operators in the country in popular diving destinations like Phi Phi Island, Koh Tao, Koh Chang, Chumphon, Pattaya, Phuket, and Bangkok. Thailand’s dive sites are known for their overwhelming diversity, exceptional visibility, easy accessibility, and copious opportunities to share the water with everything from whale sharks and leopard sharks to manta rays and other pelagics. The dive spots range from fringing reefs and deep drop-offs to wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles and open ocean seamounts. It’s an underwater world worth exploring and playing your part to protect. 

PADI-accredited Eco Centers in Thailand

Looking to dive sustainably somewhere else in the world? Visit and use the search feature to find a dive operator that’s Eco Center-certified in the destination or region you’re targeting for your next dive trip. 

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