The island nation of Singapore may be small in size, but it is big in everything else. Although only 710 square kilometers, Singapore is a safe and clean country that loves scuba diving, and also shopping. For divers, this means over 40 scuba diving stores and probably the best place to buy dive equipment in Asia. Most shops carry a wide range of gear and several brands, so it's worth adding a bit of ‘shopping time’ to your travel itinerary in Singapore.
Along with shopping, Singapore is also a great place for scuba training. As a country that takes pride in strictly enforcing rules and regulations, any dive course in Singapore is sure to be thorough and done to standards. However, Singapore’s diving is often shadowed by excellent diving found in the near-by countries of Indonesia and Malaysia.
There is diving found around Singapore, particularly several small islands to the southwest where there are reefs and a few wreck dives. Unfortunately with its dense population of over 5 million people, the reefs close to Singapore are heavily dived and show the wear and tear of overuse. Boat traffic is also a problem around the island, so divers must take care around boat channels. Most dive shops offer weekend or weeklong trips to dive other popular Asian dive locations for open water training dives and for dive tours. Several liveaboards depart from Singapore and explore Indonesia and Malaysia, but do not dive in Singapore waters.
Singapore’s Changi Airport (SIN) is a gateway to Asia receiving over 5000 flights from around the world each week. Once in Singapore, getting around the island is easy with the MRT and LRT rapid transit systems that access almost the entire island. Taxis are also available 24 hours a day and there is a clean and safe bus system. Cars are easy to rent as well.
Only 1.5 degrees north of the equator, Singapore has a hot, tropical climate year round with little variation. Air temperatures range from 24-32C in the winter and 26-33C in the summer. Water temperatures are 25-28C. A short, but heavy rain storm usually occurs daily but from November to June is the monsoon season where more rain and storms can occur more often. Singapore uses the Singapore dollar and has English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and Tamil for official languages.
Singapore’s most popular diving can be found just offshore the southwest corner of the island. Pulau Hantu is made up of two islands, Hantu Besar (Big Ghost) and Hantu Kecil (Small Ghost). It is about a 30-minute boat ride from Singapore. Often a slow drift dive, there is healthy mushroom corals, soft corals, clown and anemone fish, crabs, and nudibranchs. Lucky divers might spot a seahorse, turtles, or nurse sharks. Most of the dive is shallow and the max depth is 18m.
Pulau Hantu is a popular dive site, especially on weekends when many boats run morning and afternoon trips to the site. The high density of divers has led to some coral damage and the site looks well used, but it’s the best and quickest spot for diving in Singapore.
Three wrecks are found in Singapore waters (all to the southwest of Singapore.) The Sudong Wreck is located off Sudong Island and may possibly be the HMS Goodwill, a WWII frigate. It sits on its port side with the bottom at 15m and the top at 4m. Currents can be strong and a busy boat channel is nearby, which can both be hazardous. Close to the coast of Hantu, the Hantu Wreck is a small wooden boat that is mostly gone, but wooden beams remain with pretty growth. The Sisters Wreck, or the MV Iran Sarai, is a 50m freighter. It is upside down but some penetration is possible, although the ship is deteriorating.
Also popular for Singapore divers is Pulau Aur, although it is actually part of Malaysia’s Johor Marine Park, northeast of Singapore. Deep waters around two clusters of rocky islands have healthy coral and fish life. Several underwater pinnacles start at 30m and are covered in soft coral growth. Mantas and whale shark encounters are common. This popular city getaway spot can be very busy with visitors on the weekends and holidays.
Singapore is strategically positioned right in the middle of some of the world’s best diving. Indonesia to the south and Malaysia to the north are quick flights, boat rides or short drives. Many residents of Singapore spend their weekends exploring the fantastic diving found to the north and south of them. It’s very popular for dive shops to do pool and book training in Singapore and then the open water portions of courses in Indonesia or Malaysia on weekend trips.
The water is warm in Singapore with the coolest temperatures being in winter (25C) when a 3mm is required. During the summer a shorty is usually fine, as water temperatures exceed 30C.
There are over 40 dive shops to choose from in Singapore. A great way to get current updates on dive shops is from Facebook because almost every shop in Singapore has a Facebook page. Many are maintained at least weekly and have comments and reviews from current customers.
Deep Blue Scuba is a highly rated and highly social dive shop in Singapore. They offer PADI training from Discover Scuba to Instructor and an extensive list of international dive trips. Often their international weekend or week-long trips include training as part of the trip so divers can do their pool and book work in Singapore and finish their training on a weekend trip to Malaysia or Indonesia.
Big Bubble offers PADI dive courses through instructor, has well-maintained rental equipment, sells gear and offers lots of international dive trips with some including courses. They also have day diving trips to Pulau Hantu, a dive site in the southwest corner of Singapore.
For those interested in technical diving, Gill Divers offers TDI technical training. They also have PADI training from beginners to instructors and a wide schedule of dive trips to other dive locations in Asia. Orpheus Dive has PADI courses and a scuba gear service center.
There are no liveaboards that dive the waters of Singapore, but the White and Black Manta liveaboards depart from Singapore most of the year for multiday trips to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Singapore’s Changi International Airport (SIN) receives flights from six continents daily and from 80 international carries. There are many flights to different Malaysia and Indonesia cities each day. To get around Singapore there are two rapid transit systems (the MRT and the LRT) that go almost everywhere on the island quickly and cheaply. Taxis are safe and reliable, as is the bus system. It is possible to rent cars, although traffic congestion is a problem and most find it easier to use public transport. It is possible to rent cars in Singapore and take them into Malaysia, although it’s best to read up on current regulations before doing this. Ferries also depart Singapore to Malaysia and Indonesia.
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