Updated: 12 Nov, 2017
My first post on this subject really should be Vietnam. After all, this is where it all started for me, doing my PADI Open Water course at Sailing Club Divers in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
In Vietnam there really are only two places to go diving.
Now, I’ll start this by saying I haven’t been to Con Dao yet. But I should.
Nha Trang is a fine, easy place to learn to dive. It’s very cheap (cheaper than Koh Tao, Thailand), easy and has reasonable diving for a beginner.
In 2011: prices were between $120USD and $210USD for the Open Water course.
In 2017: prices were between $232USD and $350USD for the Open Water course
(Average price on Koh Tao, Thailand is between $270USD to $300USD, so the gap has closed dramatically)
Con Dao is supposed to be a beautiful, albeit expensive and remote area for diving. I recommend reading the Wikitravel article on Con Dao, as it seems quite thorough.
Vietnam isn’t a world-famous dive location, and fair enough. However, it’s nowhere near as bad as some snobby divers make it out to be, and is definitely worth a look if you are passing through.
My advice: don’t avoid the diving.
I know, it sounds like a really weak advertisement for Vietnam, and I don’t mean it to sound that way. After 800+ dives, I’ve seen some really good and some really bad dive sites. As I think back to where it all started, I have no regrets about starting my diving there. And Vietnam is a simply lovely country to spend some time in.