Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia may not strike the seasoned diver as being a potential diving mecca. For so many years it has remained relatively unheard of in terms of marine tourism, but for those who have geared up to encounter its underwater world, they have resurfaced with a sense of awe that only a “great dive” could bring upon them. Perhaps it’s the untouched, under-explored waters which have recently been driving divers to experience Cambodia’s world beneath the waves. A scarred, yet unrivalled beauty like no other, Cambodia is impressive both above and below the waterline. To help you broaden your diving horizons we bring you seven of its best dive sites:

Koh Rong

Surrounded by amazing dive sites, Koh Rong is a relatively untouched village community with a few backpacker hostels sitting on its fringes. A boat from Sihanoukville will takes around two hours to reach the island. The surrounding waters offer you the chance to dive into a diverse underwater world full of curious cobia, scorpionfish, stingrays, sea stars, and nudibranchs.

Koh Rong Sanloem (Samloem)

This island gem a few kilometres south of Koh Rong is famed for its underwater sand safari, the lack of coral structures opening up a wide desert full of bizarre creatures that cling to the seabed. From vibrant horned starfish, to seahorses that hide themselves between the blades of plants, there is much to discover in this seemingly barren land.

Koh Kon (Koh Koun)

Located between the two larger islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, Koh Kon is a compact island with two primary dive sites. The western dive site boasts colourful coral, large parrotfish, boxfish and large schools of yellow goatfish. The southern dive site is considerably shallower and a popular site for night diving, where cat sharks, blue spotted rays and various species of eels dwell.

Koh Tang

Although Koh Tang is a lengthy four-hour boat trip from the mainland port, it is well worth the journey. If you’re looking for a site with great visibility, exploding coral and a range of marine life, Koh Tang is the one. Some say that it is best explored by overnight liveaboard.

Tropical landscape of Koh Rong

Koh Prins

Scale the sandy bottom and wind through the many boulders covered with hard and soft corals. In December and again in May, whale sharks are spotted here in numbers. There is an abundance of life, from marine worms that hide under boulders to barracudas swarming a 30-metre drop-off.

Koh Russel

Closer inland is Ream National Park, which offers an untouched underwater world full of marine life – including anemonefish, pipefish, and gobies – and an abundance of healthy coral. Excellent visibility means you’ll be able to see large schools of fish swaying above the hard corals, which tower like mountains from the ocean floor.

Condor Reef

Considered by those in the know as one of the best dive sites in Cambodia, Condor Reef offers excellent visibility, fantastic underwater natural architecture, and encounters with sharks and big pelagic fish. If you’re lucky, you may even come across a whale shark or two.