Being a full-time worker, I hardly have time to travel, let alone indulge myself in my favorite pastime – scuba diving. So when my vacation to Nha Trang in Vietnam finally came, I immediately jumped at the chance for a good old diving session. However, I have heard reports about overfishing, bleaching coral reefs, boat pollution and little marine life conservation going rampant across the internet. Scuba diving in Nha Trang can be a hit or miss for diving enthusiasts, and I also carried the similar concerns before my trip. Luckily, with a bit of help from my intelligent local guide, whom I came to know through Inspitrip, all the things to do in Nha Trang, including diving and snorkeling, have become a lot more pleasant.

Nha Trang beach
Flickr: cloud.shepherd

Whether you’re an expert or beginner, there are several things to keep in mind before going out for scuba diving in Nha Trang. From what to expect to the best locations, I have compiled everything you need to know about scuba diving and snorkeling here. Feeling curious yet? Follow me and let’s find out!

Diving programs in Nha Trang

Scuba diving is an extreme underwater sport, requiring many special skills, body strength and resilience to experience. However, this doesn’t mean that inexperienced travelers can’t join in the fun. In Nha Trang, there are various programs that cater to all ages and swimming abilities, from newcomers to experts, which can be referred from this table:

TypeEquipmentDepthLevel
SnorkelingSnorkel1 – 2mBeginner
Try DiveScuba3 – 6mBeginner
Discovery Scuba DivingScuba6 – 12mNovice
Fun DiveScubaElectiveExpert
  • Snorkeling: The most common program new divers opt for. In Nha Trang, you can snorkel in the more shallow areas near the shore and observe colorful coral reefs and fishes. This is what I experienced in a Nha Trang half-day snorkeling tour from Inspitrip.
  • Try Dive: This is a special diving program available in Nha Trang suitable for those without experience. The recommended depth for this diving session is from 3 to 6 meter. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to delve into a little deeper, because there will always be a diving instructor next to you to assist when needed.
Taking selfies underwater
Let’s take some selfies while we’re down here! Instagram: @therezaneesgaard
  • Discovery Scuba Diving: A more advanced version of Try Dive and highly popular amongst international tourists. The diving instructor will help you with the basics of diving, with a maximum depth of 12 meters.
  • Fun Dive: The hardest diving program. You will need a professional diving license or have several years of diving to experience this one. One advantage of the Fun Dive is that you can choose to dive as far and deep as you want. This gives you a sense of freedom to truly enjoy the beauty of the Nha Trang underwater kingdom.

Best places to experience scuba diving in Nha Trang

Nha Trang is home to the salanganes and many beautiful islets and islands. It is a true paradise filled with white sand, blue skies, and diverse wildlife. Each island has its own charms and beauties. However, when it comes to diving and snorkeling, I had to consult with Inspitrip’s local advisors to get the most authentic experiences! After exploring the four must-see islands in Nha Trang, I have concluded that the following three are ideal for diving:

Monkey Island (Lao Island)

Lao Island, or Monkey Island, has a lot of vibrant coral reefs, and many unique species of fish. This area is perfect for both snorkeling and scuba diving. Just follow the stone edges and you can jump straight down for an aquatic adventure. Besides colorful underwater wildlife, the island is also famous for its colony of monkeys that freely roam around anywhere on the island. You can discover Nha Trang’s wonderful nature, both on land and underwater!

Hanging out on Monkey Island is one of the best things to do in Nha Trang
Beautiful beaches that make you want to dive right in. Flickr: Phuong Dinh

Mun Island

There are quite a few diving areas near Mun Island that are suitable for divers of all levels. With its pristine water and a wild selection of sea creatures, the island is a hidden paradise to explore. To reach Mun Island’s diving spots, you need to transfer by speedboat to the checkpoints. With many depth levels, the island is a wonderful stop for both snorkeling and scuba diving in Nha Trang.

A school of fish in Mun Island
A school of fish near Mun Island. Instagram: @eurovietnamdiving

Mot Island

Mot Island
Mot Island. Instagram: @luciapalenickova

Mot Island has quite a lot of coral reefs scattered around the island, located close to the shore. This island is also home to many colorful sea creatures, ranging from small fish to turtles and jellyfish. This spot is very attractive for divers of all levels, as it is more shallow than the rest of the diving zones. If you’re a beginner or a non-swimmer who wants to do some snorkeling, I strongly recommend going to Mot Island for a dip in its freshwater ocean!

Common advice for beginners

Diving for non-swimmer, yay or nay?

Though diving is designed for people who can swim, I would say that by all means, go ahead! For beginners, I’d advise you to choose either snorkeling or diving in shallow areas first. Prior to diving, carefully ask the diving instructor all the basics and take notes in detail. Make sure your devices are working properly, and remember the hand signals for better communication with your diving assistant. Once you’re down for diving underwater, stay close to your company. Furthermore, try not to split up and go for a deep solo dive, as this can be very dangerous.

Best time for scuba diving in Nha Trang

The best season for diving is summer, from June to August. I happened to go during July – which was ideal! The weather during this period is extremely sunny, with sparkly clear water and peaceful currents – perfect for taking a deep plunge under cool water and swim alongside the fishes.

Lionfish caught when doing scuba diving in Nha Trang
Lionfish in Nha Trang. Flickr: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

What to prepare?       

Good health, both mentally and physically, is vital for scuba diving. Before diving, it is essential that you have eaten in the last 1-2 hours, or else once getting down, nausea can seriously affect your underwater journey.

Additionally, you must always check your diving accessories: diving suits, masks, breathing cylinders, so on and so forth. If there is any abnormalities in these items, you must notify the diving instructor immediately. Your safety should always come first.

Notes

Based on personal experience, I would advise you to check the following things before deciding to scuba dive in Nha Trang:

  • Carefully inspect the equipment
  • Check for reviews and recommendations online
  • Find out students to masters dive ratio
  • Inspect the level of your master and the number of the people on board

There are a handful of diving schools and dive shops in Nha Trang, all are willing to cut you a good deal. It’s important that you do some prior research and choose a reputable one, as this can truly make or break your trip. Furthermore, you should have at least some basic knowledge about diving through online materials to minimize risks that can affect your diving session.

Thanks to the local guides, whom I came to know through Inspitrip, I have discovered more tips and tricks for divers of all levels, the best places to enjoy this activity and the best things to do in Nha Trang as well. Their passionate, friendly yet professional attitude really beats all other guides in the area, making my holiday so unique and enjoyable that I can’t wait to go back on another trip with them next year!

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