The 2022 Winter Olympics are the perfect opportunity for us to explore the dive destinations in China that take home the gold. We’ve put together the best dive sites and destinations in China, so you can dive into the best this extraordinary country has to offer underwater while cheering on your favorite olympians.

great wall of china underwater

Underwater Great Wall of China, Beijing

The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic land marks on Earth and one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about China. Construction of the wall started during the Qing dynasty, and it still stands tall 5000 years later. While most people know it’s possible to walk on the Great Wall of China, many people don’t know that it’s also possible to scuba dive it.

Part of the Great Wall has actually been underwater since 1981, when the government flooded an area to resolve water shortages in Tian Jin. The flooded section of the wall is now under 5 to 35 meters (16 to 115 feet) of water. You’ll need to take a boat to cross the lake to the area where the wall is located. The site can be dived all year round, but if diving in the winter months, a drysuit is required. Visibility also tends to be low – expect between 3 to 5 meters on average (10 to 16 feet).

In addition to the Great Wall in general, there is also a tower with swim-throughs, as well as an old building which can be entered.

dive destinations in china qiandao lake

The Underwater Ancient City, Qiandao Lake

Approximately 400km (250 miles) away from Shanghai is Zhejiang Province, which is home to Qiandao Lake. Qiandao Lake is a man-made, freshwater reservoir, which was formed after the completion of the Xin’an River Hydroelectric Station in 1959. The reservoir covers a phenomenal 573 square kilometers (221 square miles) and boasts 1078 islands.

The creation of a reservoir was considered necessary to power the needs of the local economy. The reservoir was designed so that any area below an altitude of 108m / 354 feet above sea level would be flooded. Lion City was within the area that needed to be flooded, and today, the city rests at between 30 to 40 meters/100 to 130 feet underwater. Around 290,000 people had to be relocated from the city, which had been inhabited for over a thousand years.

Diving Lion City in the Qiando Lake is a breath-taking adventure. The buildings are still relatively intact, and you can swim along the city’s streets – a surreal experience!  

Due to the depth of Lion City, deep diving experience and certifications are required as a minimum, and this is an excellent dive for Tec-Rec explorers!

Golden Fish Spring, Beijing

Located just an hour away from downtown Beijing in the Fangshan District is Beijing’s Golden Fish Spring. It’s not the most impressive site in China, but it is extremely accessible for those in the city who have an urge to get underwater. As well as manmade structures, including a car and a fake skull, you can expect to see shrimps and freshwater fish.

Sanya, Hainan

Hainan is an island located in the southernmost part of China. On Hainan, the coastal town of Sanya is a tourism hotspot as well as an important Chinese cultural and foreign trade port. Sanya’s popularity comes from its tropical, coastal monsoon climate, which provides warm weather all year round. All in, when it comes to traveling in China, Sanya is the best destination option for beachside holidays and scuba diving vacations.

Sanya is very popular among scuba divers due to its good visibility, warm water, coral and marine life. Dive sites are varied, and there are sites to suit all levels and abilities. Visibility changes according to the season, so the best time to dive in this area is from April to October. Among the marine life here, you can expect to see lobsters, sea urchins, hermit crabs and starfish. The region is protected as part of the Hainan Sanya Natural Coral Reef Nature Reserve.

The Hainan Sanya Natural Coral Reef Nature Reserve also includes two other reef areas – Yalong Bay and the Xi Mao and Dong Mao Islands in Sanya Bay. Yalong Bay and Dadonghai are often slated as having the best diving in the area, with Baifu Bay and Sun Bay being the most popular dive sites that are reachable by boat.

Old Pian Island, Dalian, Liaoning

Old Pian Island is a popular and accessible drift diving site in the Shenyang Province. With a maximum depth of 30 meters/100 feet, the diving here is suitable for all levels. Currents can be unpredictable at times, so it is recommended to dive with someone who has knowledge of the local area. Visibility is variable, nevertheless there is a variety of marine life to see, including interesting shrimps and other macro critters.

Have you now developed an appetite for exploring the best dive destinations in China? Check out all the diving opportunities in China here.

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