Friday, May 24, 2024

5 Spectacular Countries in Asia to Train Deep Freediving


On the cusp of 2022, the world is still a complicated place to navigate when it comes to traveling. But whether we are hopelessly landlocked or free to experience a few destinations, we can still plan for our next deep freediving training destination while training religiously in the pool and on dry! Check out these deeper spots in Asia and practice those mouthfill skills!


Freediver glides over the USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Freediver glides over the USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia


The island of Bali in Indonesia is home to two popular training spots: the towns of Amed and Tulamben. Amed is home to multiple freediving schools and has a mooring line of 50m (164ft) before you have to hop on a boat to get much deeper depths. Waters shift between 27-30°C (81-86°F) with visibility up to 30m (98ft). You can also enjoy some yoga training with Amed’s freediving community.


Tulamben is home to the world-famous USAT Liberty shipwreck (located close to shore from 5-25m / 16-82ft and perfect for fun diving) but also boasts a 70m (230ft) mooring line in a protected bay free from currents. A boat ride away from Tulamben with Apnea Bali will get you the platform of 130m+ (427ft) complete with a counter ballast system for very deep divers. Even if you choose to stay in Amed, Tulamben is only a 20-minute scooter ride away.

Pulau Weh (Sabang)

Off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia lies an island called Pulau Weh, also known as Sabang. Shallow training can be done at 20m (66ft) from shore, but the deep depths lie at a 5-10 minute boat ride, where Freedive WEH conducts deep training with a counter ballast from 80-100m (262-328ft). Diving from March to November will give you no thermoclines, water temperatures between 27-29°C (81-84°F), and up to 30m (98ft) of visibility. For very deep fun dives, you can check out the Sophie Rickmers shipwreck lying at depths of 40-70m (131-230ft) and witness underwater hot springs, or explore the jungle on land when you need a rest from the water.


Freediver diving with the sardines of Moalboal in the Philippines. Photo by SaltyMind Freediving.
Freediver diving with the sardines of Moalboal in the Philippines. Photo by SaltyMind Freediving.

At the time of this writing, Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) has ravaged the Philippines and left a wake of destruction across multiple areas, including the cities below. We are not sure which diving activities are available as parts of the country have to rebuild their infrastructure. Consider donating to the cause to help the relief efforts through the Philippine Red Cross.


Panglao, a small island off of Bohol in the Philippines, is one of the most popular destinations for deep freediving athletes with a few quite famous freediving schools. Water temperatures range between 27-29°C (81-84°F) with no thermoclines. Schools there have mooring lines at deep depths such as 50m (164ft), 80m (262ft), and 130m (427ft), or will take you by boat to areas with limitless depth. Up to 40m (131ft) of visibility will give you clear eyes on your freediving buddy, and nearby Balicasag Island and Pamilacan island give you plenty of marine life to fun dive with.


Moalboal is home to the infamous Sardine Run, allowing you to train in depths of around 30m (98ft) surrounded by a cloud of silver sardines. With a boat (Freediving Planet holds training and coaching sessions), you can also quickly get more than 100m (328ft) of depth the further you get from shore, with similar water temperatures to Panglao and drift diving that is absent of current. With visibility from 10-30m (98ft) and the possibility of a whale shark joining you on your session, Moalboal is an excellent option to train in the Philippines.


Freedivers diving with silky sharks. Photo by Tobias Bernhard.
Freedivers diving with silky sharks. Photo by Tobias Bernhard.

Vanua Levu

The island of Vanua Levu in Fiji is home to a mostly unknown gem of a freediving training spot. Savusavu Bay holds calm, perfect conditions every day, and Liquidstate Freediving, the only purely freediving school in Fiji, has a 75m (246ft) mooring line 500m (1,640ft) away from shore that they access with a boat. Just a little further out, you can boat dive in depths of 95m (312ft) deep. Water temperatures range from 26-30°C (79-86°F) and you can enjoy current- and swell-free diving year-round absent of boat traffic. Freedive with silky sharks when you need a break from depth.


Phuket, Thailand freediving
Phuket, Thailand


Phuket, an island located in the southwestern part of Thailand in the Andaman Sea, requires boat diving for deeper depths. From Patong Beach, a 15-minute boat ride can reach 45m (148ft) of depth, and an hour ride you can find 70m (230ft). Waters range from a balmy 27-30°C (81-86°F) with 20-25m (66-82ft) of visibility, and the best time to dive starts around September until March/April. Enjoy famous fiery curries and take a trip to Koh Phi Phi on your off-days.

Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is known for the Andaman Freediving Challenge, a popular freediving competition that occurred yearly from 2006-2013. With a maximum depth of 50m (164ft), the dive site is near the island of Koh Haa, with temperate waters from 28-31°C (82-99°F) and up to 30m+ (98ft+) of visibility. Diving conditions are ideal between November and April. Enjoy day trips to Bida, Phi Phi Wreck, and Hin Daeng in your free time.


Freediver at BaDaiWan Wreck in Orchid Island.
Freediver at BaDaiWan Wreck in Orchid Island. Photo by Pua Freediving.

Freediving has become extremely popular in Taiwan within the past few years, and while all deep dive sites require a boat, Taiwan is a must-visit for freedivers who want to train off-the-beaten-track and enjoy famous dive sites (and eat delicious food). The best times to dive in most of these sites are around March to June and September to November, with water temperatures ranging from 24-30°C (75-86°F).


In Kenting, perhaps the most convenient spot in Taiwan to train deep depths, you need only to ride 3-5 minutes on a boat to reach 60m (197ft). Another 5 minutes will get you close to 100m (328ft)! Some spots may have strong currents at deeper depths (40m+/131ft+), but it depends on tides and weather conditions, which freediving schools with experience (such as Weirdo Freediving School) know how to navigate. Visibility ranges from 10-25m (82ft).

Xiao Liuqiu

Xiao Liuqiu is a small island in the southwestern part of Taiwan that is famous for the hundreds of protected turtles swimming around the shores. You can reach depths of 30-35m (98-115ft) with a 350m (1,148ft) swim from shore and scattered underwater mooring lines, and you can rent a boat with other divers to reach depths of 80m (262ft) and deeper from a boat.

Green Island & Orchid Island

Famous for crystal-clear visibility (sometimes up to 50m/164ft), by taking a boat from both Green Island and Orchid Island, you can reach depths of 50-100m (164-328ft), although deep currents are often unpredictable. Famous dive sites include BaDaiWan Wreck in Orchid Island (36m/118ft) and the Iron Reef in Green Island (30-32m/98-105ft). Be aware that you cannot dive in Orchid Island during flying fish season (March to June).

Kristina Zvaritch
Kristina Zvaritch
Kris is an AIDA/Molchanovs Freediving Instructor, freelance copywriter, and one of the founders of SaltyMind Freediving on the little island of Xiao Liuqiu, Taiwan. She has written 100+ articles centered around freediving for and co-authored the Molchanovs Wave 4 - Competitive Freediving manual. When Kris isn't writing or teaching freediving, you can find her floating on a wave at the beach or struggling to learn Mandarin on land.