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Diving in the Singapore Aquarium | Singapore

Gracie the dugong watching visitors


Singapore is unlikely to be the first place any scuba diver would think about for a diving holiday but just like anywhere there are some interesting diving options around this lively Asian island.

Most people who dive here are local trainees and novices. By all accounts there is some exciting marine life to be seen around the small islands to the south of Singapore. Head offshore for less than hour and you will be on Pulau Hantu, Kusu or St Johns. The reefs are shallow and often murky but the water is warm and conditions are easy enough.

Far more exciting though – and for something completely different – try heading down to Underwater World, the Singapore Aquarium, for a dive inside the shark and ray tank. This truly excellent aquarium has a high focus on marine conservation as you will see when you go behind the scenes for the dive brief. Animals that have been rescued from busy shipping lanes nearby are treated then cared for before joining others in various exhibits.

Singapore Aquarium image gallery Scuba diving features

Tank marine Life Blacktip, whitetip, nurse, guitar and leopard sharks
Aquarium exhibits leafy seadragon, weedy seadragon, jellyfish, garden eels
Water temperature 27º C
Flights to Singapore. The aquarium is on Sentosa Island and can be reached by public transport.
Accommodation expensive but many hotels have promotions. We like the riverside area. Hotels like the Novotel, Gallery and Park Regis are well placed for sightseeing and nightlife.

For the short time you get inside the tank, about 30 minutes, this dive may seem expensive but you do get a behind-the-scenes tour of the work undertaken by the facilities marine scientists. Entry to the rest of the aquarium is included and definitely worth seeing with great exhibits on marine animals you may never see anywhere else – the leafy and weedy seadragons tanks are fabulous.

OK, so some people would not regard this as a proper dive, but you do descend to about 3 metres and you do need a tank of air. Equipment is supplied so it's easy to fit this in during a stopover. The opportunity to be inside the perspex tube is quite something as you can get closer to more pelagic species than you might think you would ever see in open ocean. Being inches away from a leopard shark in the wild is a pretty unusual thing, but here it's guaranteed.
This must rank as one of the most intense 30 minutes we have ever had underwater – being able to sit with a huddle of nurse sharks, having an eagle ray land on your head, even watching the fascinated faces of visitors as they move along the travelator beneath you is worth every Singapore dollar. As of late 2009, it also became possible to spend some time with Gracie, the dugong. Next trip!
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Complete reports on this area are in
Diving Southeast Asia.

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