Many people are quick to dismiss Singapore as a city with mega shopping centres offering big-name brands from around the world, buzzing nightlife with clubs and bars perched on the rooftop of every building, flourishing culinary scene seeing the entry of numerous Michelin star restaurants, and not much else.

Nature lovers might struggle with finding anything to do besides hiking, wake boarding and rock climbing, there’s not much to offer nature lovers.

While there are schools offering PADI courses in the Lion City, avid divers living in Singapore would travel to the Philippines, surrounding islands of Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand. However, here’s a fact you may not know: Singapore’s surrounding waters are actually home to an ecosystem inhabited by rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams, sponges, and other marine life. In fact, more than 250 species of hard corals can be found in Singapore’s waters out of over 500 species within the region.

You can dive in Singapore itself, or take a boat to Batam and Bintan Islands. Whatever you choose, you don’t have to wait until your next vacation to be able to dive again. Here are spots around or near Singapore where you can dive. All you need is your PADI certification and your gear.

Sisters' Islands Marine Park

Sisters Island is popular with yacht owners as a place to dock and spend the day swimming, kayaking, or simply just to have a boat party. However, the waters here are home to a variety of marine life. The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, which spans 40 hectares around Sisters’ Islands and western reefs of both St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor, is a great place for diving. NParks has developed a first dive trail here, opening it up to the public and providing divers with a chance to marvel at the marine life — such as sea fans and sea whips.

Pulau Salu

A small island located to the south of Jurong Island, Pulau Salu is a lesser-known spot home to many coral formations and marine life such as sharks, barracudas, and even dolphins — making it a brilliant dive spot. As the currents here can be very strong, it’s advisable for you to be an experienced diver in order to dive in Pulau Salu.

Labrador Reef

Labrador Park is a nature reserve, so diving here requires the permission of NParks. However, it is worth it. It is home to one of the last remaining stretches of coral reefs on the mainland. The nature reserve is a popular weekend spot for nature lovers and recreational divers.

Sipadan, Malaysia

If you have at least a weekend to spare, grab your passport and head to Sipadan instead. Located on the south of Sabah, Sipadan is one of the most popular dive spots in all of Asia. Its home to the largest barrier reef in Southeast Asia and the world’s highest marine biodiversity. Sipadan is a treasure trove of diving sites, but the most unique spot is the turtle cavern, known to divers as the Turtle Tomb. This eerie cave houses skeletal remains of turtles and dolphins.

Pulau Jong

Pulau Jong is one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. While it is a small island, its waters are home to rich marine life and reefs. Black-tip sharks, schools of parrotfishes, and pipefish which are rarely seen on reefs in Singapore call the waters of Pulau Jong home. Note that due to its location and size, the reefs of Pulau Jong can experience strong and tricky currents of up to 3 knots. Additionally, avoid the monsoon season as it may bring bad weather conditions.

Dewi Nurjuwita
Senior Writer
Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.