5 awesome underwater activities in Asia-Pacific
AS it turns out, diving and snorkeling aren’t the only popular underwater activities in Asia-Pacific.
While they remain the most popular of all the marine-affiliated activities, with well over 22 million certified divers in the world, tour operators and those looking to cash in on the constantly increasing international visitor numbers to Asia-Pacific are developing new ways for people to have fun beneath the surface.
Let’s take a look at the adventures to be had below the water:
Learn to be a real-life a merfolk
Merfolk (mermaids and mermen) have long been a fascination to land-dwelling humans.
In ancient mythology, mermaids were synonymous with fear and death as they supposedly lulled sailors from their boats before drowning them. But in modern times, thanks to the Disney classic The Little Mermaid, the female merfolk have gained an enchanting reputation.
So much so that mermaid and merman swimming schools are popping up around the globe.
These schools don’t just hand over a scaly tail and let visitors frolic in the ocean. They actually teach people of all ages, sizes, and genders how to embody merfolk.
One of the most renowned merfolk schools in Asia-Pacific is Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy.
Each school, located in Cebu, Manila, Anilao, Batangas, and Boracay are certified by the International Mermaid Swimming Instructors Association (IMSIA) and train you to the highest merfolk standards.
The 90-minute introductory class teaches learners the basic swim strokes and breathing techniques to become a mermaid or merman, followed by freestyle time to try out the newly learned techniques. The class finishes with a photo shoot and an IMSIA certificate ceremony.
However, if you’ve already mastered the basics of being a mermaid, Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy has level three, four, and five courses which take you from being an expert mermaid to an instructor.
There’s also a chance to become a fully certified scuba-diving mermaid if you already have your open-water diving license and on the flipside, a non-certification mermaid photoshoot.
You can check out availability and prices here.
Walk on the ocean floor
If you don’t have time to master the skills needed for scuba diving, but still want to admire the amazing marine life in the oceans around Asia-Pacific, why not try sea walking?
As the name suggests, this activity allows a person to walk along the seabed, through reefs, among schools of fish while wearing a 35-kilogram, oxygenated helmet.
This diving alternative is now offered in many locations around Asia-Pacific, but Borneo Reef World off the coast of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia is certainly one of the most impressive as it has the world’s second largest pontoon.
From this pontoon, visitors can explore the aquatic life up to five meters below the surface.
Expect to see clownfish, angelfish, moonfish and triggerfish among much more colorful sea life.
Find out more about sea walking at Borneo Reef World here.
Post a letter
Driving about with a letter in your car that you were meant to post “ages ago” is almost like an initiation into adulthood – we’ve all done it.
But for people posting letters in the tiny South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, it’s not the car they might leave the letter in, but rather their wetsuit.
This is because Vanuatu is home to the world’s only underwater post office.
In 2003, the national tourism board established the unique post office as a wacky tourist attraction given that the island is renowned for its stunningly clear waters and diverse marine life.
The post office is only three meters deep, so mailers can dive or snorkel to it easily and post their specially designed, waterproof postcards.
These postcards can be bought online before reaching Hideaway Island and Marine Sanctuary where the post office is located.
The post office is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00 and cards can be posted in the mailbox beside it outside of these hours.
It seems traditional weddings aren’t favorable with some modern couples any longer. People are opting to get married on rollercoasters, on the wings of planes and even in budget supermarkets.
But in Trang, Thailand, getting hitched underwater is all the rage.
Almost 19 years ago, the Guinness Book of Records recognized the Trang Wedding Festival as the world’s largest underwater wedding and since then, these sopping-wet ceremonies have only gained popularity.
The festival takes place on Valentine’s Day every year and is open to everyone. So, if this sounds like the wedding of your dreams, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Southern) to find out how you can get involved.
Dinner with a difference
Ithaa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is perhaps the most recognizable underwater restaurant in the world, with is 180-degree aquatic ceiling and abundant wild marine life swimming overhead.
The unique underwater restaurant is located five-meters beneath the surface and offers an array of tantalizing lunch, dinner, wine and mid-morning cocktail menus.
It’s the perfect place for those who want to remain dry while admiring the India Ocean’s vibrant marine life and coral reefs.