When you think of Singapore, most people think of fabulous eateries, delectable cocktails and shopping ‘til you drop however many few think of Singapore as somewhere that you can scuba dive. Located in Southeast Asia, the Republic of Singapore is a sovereign island city-state. A buzzing metropolis and international business hub, Singapore has a population of over 5.7 million living on some 710 square kilometres (275 square miles) of land, it dominates the Strait of Malacca and is tucked beneath Malaysia and surrounded by Indonesia.

Because Singapore is only located one degree north of the equator, the temperature is fairly stable throughout the year, warm and humid – with average daytime temperatures approx. 31°C (88°F) and the average ocean temperature around 27°C (80°F). For such a small country, Singapore boasts 13 PADI dive shops who each offer a range of PADI Courses, sell scuba gear and rentals and also offer dive trips to neighbouring countries when COVID restrictions are eased.

Image provided by Mohammad Helmy Felany (Mohd)

Dive Sites

Local sites in Singapore are worth exploring no matter what your level of diving experience may be – you just may not get the visibility that you would expect from a tropical country. This is due to Singapore housing the largest port in Asia and because of the incredible amount of boat traffic and commercial fishing that occur offshore, the water is constantly churned. That being said, there is a lot of dive sites to explore off the Singapore coast however they are not are always accessible for different reasons. Two hot spots for scuba diving that are open and ready to be explored by locals and tourists (when they are finally allowed to return!) are Pulau Hantu and Pulau Jong.

With social distancing measures in place and masks mandatory, local scuba diving activities having resumed since 19th June 2020, individual boat captains/diving operators can apply to the Government to increase their boat capacity – application is based on their boat size and approval is at the authority’s discretion.

Image provided by Chua Hui Shan (Coral)

Pulau Hantu

Pulau Hantu sits 13km (8miles) off the southern coast of Singapore, a 30 minute boat ride and you’ve arrived. Named the “island of ghosts”, it was here that ancient Malay warriors once duelled to the death and their ghosts are said to wander the isle. Made up of two inlets: Hantu Besar (Big Ghost) and Hantu Kecil (Little Ghost), the size of the whole island is a result of massive reclamation so it now has a land area of 12.2ha. At low tide, you can walk across between the two inlets however be careful if the tides turn – at high tide you will get stuck on either side and it is advisable not to dive in this area during a high tide.

Pulau Hantu is a popular dive site for the dive shops in Singapore to run the PADI Open Water Diver course – with boat departures in the mornings, it allows your PADI Instructor to maximise the days for your Open Water dives.

You’ll find two main dive sites on Hantu – North Jetty and West Reef. Typical depth is between 4m-20m (13ft-65ft) and on a good day visibility can be 4m-8m (13ft-26ft) however on average expect 2m-3m (6ft-9ft). Coral reefs lie outside the sea wall however be wary of the tide to ensure you are on the correct side when the tide comes in and the reefs around Hantu Besar are more extensive than those around Hantu Kecil. With hard and soft corals, you’ll be able to spot marine life such as clownfish, diamondfish, seahorses, honeyhead damselfish, shrimps, crabs, giant clams, batfish and a wide variety of nudibranchs! If you’re lucky, you may come across giant pufferfish, nurse sharks and even hawksbill turtles!

Image provided by Chua Hui Shan (Coral)

Pulau Jong

Pulau Jong or Junk Island is situated 6km (4 miles) off the coast of Southern Singapore. It is a tiny, unspoiled island approx. 6ha with a healthy fringing reef. Comprised mostly of cliffs and with no landing jetty, it is extremely difficult to access the interior of the island. Currents are known to be strong here, so be sure to check the weather before diving – especially during the monsoon season. It’s due to this reason why the PADI dive shops in Singapore usually only take the more adventurous and experienced divers here, it’s also a popular site for the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course. Pulau Jong has rich marine life, expect to see schools of parrotfish, black-tip reef sharks, blue-spotted rays and reef sharks – pipefish have even more recently been found here! With no scheduled ferries to the island, link up with your local PADI dive shop and join one of their trips to experience this beautiful dive site.

So if you are still yet to dive in Singapore, make sure you tick this destination off your list! With International travel so unstable and lockdowns in place, now is the perfect time to discover the scuba diving in your own backyard.

Seek out your next dive adventure in Singapore on the PADI Adventures App™ – conveniently find and book diving and snorkelling activities online. Download the App from the App Store or Google Play store today or locate a PADI dive shop in Singapore.

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