Thailand is famous for its cuisine, culture, gorgeous beaches, and excellent diving. This welcoming country provides all you need for a fun-packed diving vacation, with beautiful scenery, vibrant nightlife, relaxing resorts, and some fine underwater attractions.
The country of Thailand has the Gulf of Thailand located to the east and the Andaman Sea is to the west; both these locations provide excellent diving opportunities including deep drop-offs, walls, caves and caverns, reefs, tunnels, and open ocean. Within the Gulf of Thailand are some of the diving highlights of Thailand, including diving off the island of Koh Tao as well as dives from Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. Phuket is a good starting point for diving in the Andaman Sea region. The island of Khao Lak and the small island of Koh Phi Phi are also popular with divers and there are many dive sites in Thailand that are easily accessible from these places. And don’t forget Krabi, which puts you within easy reach of the Koh Lanta set of islands. There’s so much to see underwater in Thailand – here are a few ideas.
Best Dive Spots in Thailand
Racha Noi and Racha Yai
These dive sites are located close to the island of Phuket, which is a good base when you want to explore sites in the Andaman Sea. In the Racha Noi and the Racha Yai waters, you can expect to see mantas as well as whale sharks and you could even spot, in season, chevron barracuda, schools of tuna, lagoon rays, and jacks.
Situated around 200km to the north of the island of Phuket, this is another Andaman Sea gem that is waiting to be explored. It is one of the most famous and most popular dive sites in Thailand and boasts huge numbers of tropical fish as well as some whale sharks and rays.
Koh Dok Mai
When in the season you can dive here with whale sharks and baby nurse sharks. The Koh Dok Mai dive site is also notable for its excellent wall and drifts dive experience, with a limestone rock face to explore beneath the water.
This dive site near to the island of Phi Phi is alive with sea turtles and sea snakes, and you can also spot leopard sharks and moray eels prowling the waters. There is a nice variety of coral and there are plenty of extras like parrotfish and clams to keep you interested.
Close to the islands of Koh Lanta and to the coast of Krabi, this is a rock diving site with a variety of caverns and drop-offs to explore. You may see a fine display of manta rays, or you could catch a whole host of smaller creatures waiting to be discovered.
Tarutao National Marine Park
Head outwards from Koh Lipe to find over 30 islands and many different reefs to explore. There is plenty of life under the water in this area.
If you are staying on Koh Samui or on Koh Phangan then you’ll want to head to this site, which is popular among Thailand divers and famous for its granite pinnacle that is surrounded by small rocky outcrops. There are snapper, batfish, barracuda, and more at this site, and whale sharks plus mantas sometimes make an appearance.
Also near to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan is Sail Rock, a great wall dive in Thailand. You’ll see sea anemones, reef crabs, painted shrimp, and morays here as well as many other creatures.
Located near to Koh Tao, this is an artificial reef made up of the old boat that was sunk in 2011 near to the island. The reef houses schools of interesting fish and is a fine place to explore the waters of the Andaman Sea.
Diving in Thailand Throughout the Year
All around the country, visibility is on the whole good and it averages about 30 meters. The water temperature is also good and averages a nice 28-30° C all through the year so you won’t ever need a wetsuit. The climate out of the water is hot and humid, and there are wet months although you can expect rain showers any time through the year.
Diving is good whenever you go to Thailand but travel from May to September and you’ll see peak conditions in the Gulf of Thailand. The Andaman Sea’s diving is at its best from October through to April.
Some of the underwater creatures you can expect to see include puffers, mantas, whale sharks, leopard sharks, morays, and more. Thailand is a good place to learn to dive as there is a wide choice of PADI instructors where you can learn and update your skills.
For more travel information on Thailand, visit PhuketOn. Find out more about travel in Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and more at PhuketOn – you’ll also find travel tips for Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Korea.
Photo credits: Reinhard Link and TimOve via Flickr