The pristine sandy beaches, magnificent temples, museums, archaeological sites, and buzzing nightclubs are without a doubt some of the major tourist charms in Thailand. However, there is surely more to it for people who are looking for a breathtaking experience.
The country gets you enjoying some of the most memorable underwater adventures and diving in Thailand is just one of those activities you don’t want to miss. From skin diving and snorkeling to scuba diving, this is one of the few places that will get you exploring the underwater world like never before. The stunning corals and bountiful schools of fish will make your adventure worth every while.
So, if you are looking for a mind-blowing diving experience, then Thailand should be among the top destinations on your list. Here are the 10 best diving spots in Thailand that will make your trip blissful in every sense.
1. Similan Islands
Located in the Andaman Sea, Similan Islands consist of nine small islands that arguably hide the best spots for Thai diving. The area boasts stunning white beaches, which could be a great bonus for anyone who would wish to play a beach game or two after their underwater adventure.
There is plenty of sea life to see here including the barracudas, batfish, and tiger fish. Those who love scuba diving with sharks would also have a moment of their lives with leopard sharks, white tip reef sharks, and blacktip sharks.
Similan islands house about twenty-five spectacular diving spots, so this is one of those areas where liveaboard boat trips are highly recommended. But don’t worry if you are on a budget and aren’t able to hire a dive boat – there are day trips available from Phuket or Koh Lak.
The waters in the Similan islands have visibility of between 20 and 40 meters, which makes the place ideal for both scuba diving and snorkeling. The area is recommended for skilled and intermediate divers.
2. Hin Muang And Hin Daeng
Hin Muang (Purple Rock) and Hin Daeng (Red Rock) are two neighboring islands that shelter a generous amount of marine life like the mantas, whale sharks, healthy coral, and countless species of smaller fish. The visibility of water in this region is between 25 to 50 meters, making it a diving sanctuary for advanced divers.
Hin Muang is reputed for its beautiful purple coral and Hin Daeng for soft red coral. You can get to the areas through a liveaboard boat trip accessed at Phuket or speedboat day trips from Koh Phi Phi. The best time to schedule your trip would be between November and April.
3. Sail Rock, Koh Tao
Koh Tao is yet another amazing spot for diving in Thailand. Sure, there are hundreds of islands off the mainland but Koh Tao carries the day when it comes to exploring the water gardens.
Newbies and advanced divers alike flock to Hin Bai, popularly known as the Sail Rock and one of the most notable islands in Koh Tao, to enjoy the plentiful amount of sea life that the underwater world has to offer. It will take you an hour and a half to a boat ride to the spot from the main island but the vast and unique marine life that the world below will pamper you with is well worth the journey.
If you have your marine binoculars, you will see the sail rock rising from the Gulf of Thailand and sitting out of the blue waters as you approach. Since this spot is very far from the main island, the aquatic life is abundant and distinctive, seemingly untouched and unaffected by the huge number of tourists who visit Koh Tao.
If you like intense adventures, the cave-like shape of the sail rock will surely give you a challenge. This is one of the areas you don’t want to visit without a few diving safety techniques in your back pocket.
Apart from the mesmerizing sea life that cast a spell on divers, Koh Tao is also the perfect place for any underwater enthusiast who would like to pursue a diving instructor course.
4. HTMS Sattakut
Stretching 48 meters long and 7 meters wide, HTMS Sattakut is among the most visited wrecks in Thailand. It started when USS LCI – 739 was sunk in 2011.
This wreck is located off Koh Tao coast and goes up to 30 meters deep. Though the site is fairly new, it houses plenty of marine life and coral reefs.
The HTMS Sattakut has two cannon guns, one at the bow and the other one at the stern. Underneath the gun cannon at the bow is a penetration point but only a wreck certified diver is advised to attempt penetration.
The gun at the stern is not as huge as the one at the bow but it is still an amazing site to explore. Have your underwater camera ready and capture the huge schools of barracuda, fusiliers, moray eels, groupers, yellowtails, and lionfish that have made these wrecks their residence.
5. Surin Islands
Surin Islands are located in the Andaman Sea and host an abundance of marine life including yellow marked angle fish, barramundi, tomato clownfish, napoleon wrasse, manta rays, and turtles. The visibility is clear, which is why the area is considered one of the best spots for Thai diving.
Whether you are an avid snorkeler and want to take your snorkel gear for a spin in foreign waters or this scuba diving newbie who is curious to find out how their first scuba diving will look like, the waters in Surin Islands have got something for everyone.
And because this spot is not so close to the mainland, people are less likely to come here, leaving marine life unspoiled. In addition to the generous amount of sea creatures you will have an encounter with, you will enjoy the vast and pristine reef this part of the underwater world has been blessed with. If you happen to visit here between February and April, you are guaranteed to have a few encounters with a whale shark.
Pattaya is one of the most accessible dive sites in Thailand. It is situated just a couple of hours from Bangkok and boasts some of the most beautiful underwater sights.
Koh Khrok, a spectacular island located about eight kilometers from Pattaya houses stunning hard and soft coral reefs. The species of corals that you will find here include staghorn, mushroom, table, and brain corals. You will also have unforgettable moments with hawksbill turtles, wrasse, parrotfish, and pufferfish. The beautiful shallow waters are perfect for snorkelers and any diver who is taking their scuba tank underwater for the first time.
West of Pattaya lies Koh Sak, a beautiful spot with extremely calm waters and dazzling beaches. Here, you will get to explore gorgeous corals that host a large number of sea horses, dragonfish, and pipefish. If you are lucky, you will also spot nurse sharks.
7. Koh Chang
Koh Chang is yet another favorite spot for divers in Thailand. Located in Thai’s famous Gulf, this site has high peaks, all covered with gorgeous beaches and lush jungle. Getting here from Bangkok is quite easy, as you can take a bus or flight and then a ferry.
Hin Luk Bat, one of the most popular dive sites in Koh Chang is a small heaven for underwater adventurers. Located only three kilometers south of Koh Chang, the area hosts an abundance of moray eels, shoaling fish, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, bannerfish, and dolphins.
Another spot you don’t want to miss when you visit Koh Chang is Koh Rang. This one is a spectacular multilevel diving site where you will see plenty of sea life.
For a plunges up to thirty meters, head to Hin Ga Daeng. Though you won’t see many reefs here, you will have an encounter with turtles, triggerfish, batfish, barracuda, and groupers.
For divers who are still learning how to improve buoyancy control, how to save air when diving, and such as techniques for staying safe underwater, Hin Ga Daeng may not be the best spot to take a plunge. For shallow dives (sixteen meters), head to Hin Kuak Ma, and the underwater world will pamper you with bountiful of eels, stonefish, stingrays, angelfish, a bamboo shark, turtles, and coral.
8. Koh Tachai
Koh Tachai is an amazing spot for Thai diving, situated twenty-five kilometers from Koh Bon. The site can be accessed by boat from Phuket, Khao Lak, Baan Nam, Koh Phra Thong, or Khem Pier.
Twin Peaks, one of the greatest diving spots in Koh Tachai has a beautiful water garden that houses a variety of tropical fish, nurse sharks, leopard sharks, manta rays, hawksbill turtles, and vast coral. The Southern Rock is excellent for advanced diving and would be a great spot to see rare species of fish.
9. Koh Haa
Koh Haa will be easy to access from Krabi and Koh Lanta. Of all the spots for diving in Thailand, you don’t want to miss this one. The monster caves and caverns, drop-offs, swim-throughs, and a large amount of sea life will surely give your eyes something to feast on.
Home to the gorgeous ghost pipefish and the occasional hawksbill turtle, you will not fall short of sea life to see. Koh Haa is also a cleaning station for manta rays, so be on the lookout for these magnificent creatures. If you take your underwater drone with you, you will also be able to explore the hard to reach areas of the caves and get some sneaky marine creatures on a flick.
10. Richelieu Rock
As the name hints, Richelieu Rock is a magnificent rock that is located North Coast of Phuket, at approximately 120 miles. Its horseshoe shape has made it one of the major attractions for divers who have visited Thailand over the years.
If you ever set foot in Phuket for an underwater thrill, be sure to visit Richelieu and spend unforgettable moments with barracudas tornados, whale sharks, and plenty of smaller fish species like the shovelnose rays, cuttlefish, pipefish, and seahorses found in this spot. You may even spot the Flamboyant cuttlefish, so this is a spot worth your time.
The Best Time To Plan A Diving Trip To Thailand
So here is the thing – the diving season in Thailand runs all year round. There is absolutely no time that you should avoid taking a plunge into the warm, welcoming Thai waters. However, like with most dive spots, some times of the year will give you a more fulfilling adventure than others.
The weather itself is ever warm and humid except for the cities in the north. Those in the south experience a temperature of between 30˚ and 35˚ Celsius.
May to September or October is Thailand’s traditional rainy season, so expect lots of rains and humidity if you will be visiting at this time of the year. The country will get drier and less humid starting from November to March or April.
The period between November and April is considered one of the best times to visit Thai waters in terms of water clarity and the amount of marine life that you will see. This is also one of those times when you won’t need to worry much about staying warm when scuba diving or snorkeling because the water is relatively warm.
If you are interested in whale sharks, schedule your trip for the period between February and May. The graceful manta rays that reside in the Andaman sea will be a sight worth documenting.
For the dive junkies, any time between November and April will be great. There are many liveaboard boat trips to Similan Islands at this time of the year, so if you want to have one heck of an immersive plunge, consider booking your trip at this time.
If you plan on visiting Thailand’s West Coast, avoid going between May and October as this is a rainy season in Thailand. When it rains, the ocean’s calmness and visibility suffer greatly, so if you want to have your getaway at this time, consider the Gulf of Thailand instead. This spot will still offer excellent sightings during this period.
For divers who fancy warmer waters, visiting between February and May is generally perfect. June to October will be ideal for those who fancy colder waters. However, it is worth noting that the water temperature in Thailand rarely goes higher or lower by more than 5˚C. It could be about 30˚C during warmer months and 25˚C during the cooler ones, but basically, the waters will be warm and pleasant for a dive.
Thai waters boast plentiful of beautiful reef and wreck dwellers. Pufferfish, indo-pacific reef fish, moray eels, Moorish idols, tigerfish, and sea turtles, will give the experience to remember. You may also spot some monster marine creatures like whale sharks and leopard sharks if you book your trip at the right time of the year.
Before You Go
On a trip like this, you ought to be adequately prepared. You don’t want any surprises while underwater so it is important to plan properly before you go.
First things first; acquire an open water diving certification. This will prepare you physically and emotionally for any challenges that you might encounter while underwater. Most dive courses will get you to gain different levels of skills. By the end of the course, you will be able to comfortably deal with advanced dives or dive in locations with more severe currents.
But it is also important that you keep practicing even after your certification. If you haven’t been underwater for some time, check to see you still “got it”. If you feel like you need to perfect your scuba diving breathing techniques or improve your buoyancy control, for instance, take a refresher course and get it done already.
Also, remember that this is an activity that includes risk. Any malfunctioning snorkel or scuba gear, oxygen toxicity, nitrogen narcosis, and pulmonary embolism can lead to a very nasty experience. So examine your equipment thoroughly and repair any faults before you go. If you have a pre-existing health condition, make sure your dive instructor knows about it before certification begins. It would also be wise to clear with your doctor just to be sure you are fit for the trip.
Globo Surf Overview
Thailand hosts some of the highly ranked diving spots in the world. The spectacular shipwrecks, stunning caves, and gorgeous marine creatures make Thai waters one of the greatest destinations for divers.
Whether you are just getting started or have been exploring marine gardens all your life, the underwater world in this part of the universe will surely give you the experience to remember. Just make sure to go at the right time and plan adequately for a more pleasurable and safe getaway.
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- The 7 Places For Scuba Diving & Snorkeling in Thailand, gretastravels.com
- Top 10 Diving Spots In Thailand, blog.adrenaline-hunter.com