Like India, Thailand is known for its medical tourism offers. It is also known for its wildlife, cultural diversity and many more. However, did you know that this country has some of the best diving spots in the world, especially in the Andaman Sea? Diving in Thailand is a dream come true for many people.
If you are going to Thailand to catch some diving action, then make sure you visit between mid October and April. Come May, the heavy rains hit the country’s coastlines in torrents and most of the diving sites will be closed. Besides, you also want to catch some of the Giant Manta Rays as well as the whale sharks. Other diving sites however may still allow you a great experience in other months.
Why dive in Thailand?
Thailand is among the top tourists’ destinations in the world with over a million tourists visiting the country every year .This country is home to some of the most beautiful natural sites such as sandy beaches, crystal clear warm waters and islands among others.
It is therefore not a surprise that most divers are very enthusiastic about adventuring in Thailand’s scuba diving sites. It is a great place for the people who want to begin their scuba adventure as well as the intermediate and the advanced divers.
What can you expect when diving in Thailand?
From awesome sea temperatures ranging from 28° Celsius, great diving experience and a very hospitable people, Thailand is the place to visit if you would like to have an experience of a lifetime. The people are very welcoming to foreigners, but you should be careful about their hot curries as such can send tears flying from your eyes. Eat mild food instead because Thais are known for their love of the chili.
Thailand also boasts in its unique cultural diversity ranging from its famous mouth watering cuisine, tourists attractions such as lively cities, wrecks, fringing reefs, walls, deep drop offs, caverns and pinnacles among others. If you love the marine world, Thailand offers you a myriad of opportunities around the country for scuba diving and other water sports.
Below are some of the most beautiful sites to scuba dive or snorkel in Thailand:
Koh Tao Diving
Thailand has some of the world’s renowned scuba diving sites and Koh Tao Islands offers great dives and a chance to see a variety of marine life. With about twenty dive shops on this island, the prices are quite low making it an affordable place for both the scuba diving learners and the advanced ones. In addition, it is a very convenient destination since there are plenty of dive shops to choose from, and thus you can just pop in without making prior booking.
So when is the best time to visit Koh Tao? The dive seasons mostly begin in January but if you want to dive with the whale sharks, visit any time between March and April. Between May and June is still a good time to visit although the wind conditions may dictate the sites you are going to dive in.
It is between July to September that the waters of Koh Tao have the best visibility that can go up to 30 meters deep. November and December is not an ideal time to visit because of the monsoon season that affects the visibility negatively. In addition to diving, Koh Tao has other thrilling stuff to explore such as the bubbly nightlife, bars, cafes offering great cuisine and beaches among others.
Surin Islands snorkeling and diving
Surin Islands are located in the Tha province of Pang Nga, which is 37 miles from the west coast of Thailand. Although these islands are among some of the most remote regions in Thailand, it has some of the best diving sites in the region, with crystal clear waters that offer great visibility and many marine species such as whale shark and manta rays to interact with.
Since the Surin Islands are very far from the mainland, visitors are not very frequent and thus the place is unspoiled by tourists. Because of this, the coral reef is very vast and the marine animals are in plenty of species.
The divers are therefore assured of a great underwater adventure, and in the most famous diving site known as Richelieu Rock, a diver will most certainly spot some whale sharks especially between February to April.
Koh Ma Diving
Koh Ma is postcard perfect. You will believe that when you get there. If you want to become a certified diver or you want to enroll for a diving refresher course, Koh Ma Island is the place to be.
Lying to the North West direction of the bigger Koh Phangan, Koh Ma offers a great dive and snorkeling site for beginners divers. It is connected by a sandbar to the main island but it is usually submerged in high tide.
Located off the island of Koh Phangan, Koh Ma is easily accessible and it is home to great water species such as barracudas, the colorful parrotfish among many others. In addition to it being a great dive destination for both the beginners and the experienced divers, there are several accommodation options on this island making it a tranquil getaway from the busy Koh Phang an Island.
Diving depth is from 2 to 25 meters.
Elephant Head Rock – diving in Thailand
Also known as Hin Pusa, the Elephant Head Rock is an amazing dive destination with massive boulders that create a maze of caverns and tunnels in which the divers can swim through. This dive site is very deep going up to fifty meters deep.
Divers get a chance to interact with many marine species such as leopard sharks, purple fire gobies, white tip reef sharks, jaw fish, mantis shrimp, dwarf wrasse and cuttlefish among others.
This rock offers a good background for photos. So remember to bring along your travel camera.
HTMS Chang – Best Shipwreck Diving
If you are the kind of a diver who gets thrilled from exploring shipwrecks, HTMS Chang that is located off the island of Koh Chang is among the newest shipwrecks in Thailand.
It is the biggest shipwreck in Thailand with a depth of 30 meters and a length of 100 meters. With a vast amount of artificial reef, which sometimes is more stunning than the natural reef, most of the divers cannot get enough of exploring this shipwreck. There are also other things to see in this site such as decaying crafts.
Similan Islands diving
Similan Islands that are located about 50 miles from Phuket are home to some of the greatest dive sites in Thailand and among the most stunning in the world
Comprised of eleven islands, they are protected by the government of Thailand and they are home to a vast number of marine life and abundant soft and hard coral.
The waters are clear, offer great visibility most of the time throughout the year. It is for this reason plus the rich marine life why this site is a great destination for diving in Thailand.
Shark Point Diving
Shark Point is only an hour and a half by boat from Phuket. Just as its name suggests, Shark Point is a dive site that is home to some leopard sharks. Divers should not be afraid of these animals since they are quite submissive and divers get into the waters in groups each day ready to explore the underwater world.
In addition to the leopard sharks, this site hosts other marine life such as the colorful tropical fish, the moray eels and a vast soft coral. The area itself is quite vast and divers can take a number of days before exploring the entire site. The dive depths range from 10 to 30 meters, which makes this site a great dive destination for both the beginners and the experienced divers.
King Cruiser Wreck Dive
Phuket offers underwater explorers a number of stunning diving sites and the most popular of them all is the King Cruiser wreck. This car and passenger ferry that has been submerged for about forty years has attracted many divers and other underwater explorers.
Unlike the many wrecks that are intentionally sunk to make artificial reefs, the King Cruiser sank after it crashed into the Anemone Reef while ferrying passengers and cars between Pukhet and Kho Phi Phi in May 1977, but fortunately none of the over 500 passengers died.
This wreck is now home to abundant marine life and coral ridden toilets. The wreck itself is quite big with a length of 85 meters and a width of 30 meters. It sits about 33 meters deep on the floor of the ocean and the extensive range of marine life together with the coral that continues to grow, makes the interiors and the exteriors of this wreck very stunning and eerie.
Hin Muang – best beginner diving in Thailand
Hin Muang, which means purple rock is an exquisite wall dive lined with vibrant purple corals and it is located in the Andaman Sea.
The divers get a chance to interact with whale sharks, grey reef sharks, manta rays and leopard sharks among other marine species while adventuring in the underwater world.
For the divers who do not want to get too deep into the water, they still get a chance to see the anemones that are mostly found on the shallower depths of the wall.
Sail Rock diving
Sail Rock is located in the north of Koh Samui in between Koh Tao and Pha Ngan. Also known as Hin Bai, Sail Rock is among the best of Thailand’s wall dives. This dive site is flocked by many visitors because diving in this site is so much fun.
The entire site is big enough since it extends to about 40 meters and thus great for exploration by both learners and advanced divers. In addition, the divers stand a chance to see some amazing marine life such as yellow fusiliers, large groupers, batfish, and giant morays and if a diver is lucky enough, he will be able to sight a whale shark.
Ang Thong National Marine Park- best diving in Thailand
If you would like to dive in some of best coral reefs in the world that have not been tainted by human activity, you will find them in the Ang Thong National Marine Park.
You will see marine wildlife that you will not likely see in any other diving spot in Thailand. For example, there are sea snakes, lionfish and even turtles. You can even find ways to swim under the reefs and emerge on the other sides of the reefs. If you are looking for the best snorkeling in Thailand, whether you are a beginner or an advanced diver, this marine park is perfect for you. Diving depths start at 5 meters, all the way to 15 meters. It is shallow, but you will never forget it.
You may even arrange for night diving, with a flashlight to light your way in the water.
Koh Lipe diving
Koh Lipe is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park comprising of a total of 50 islands and 20 distinct dive sites. The backdrops to this site’s reefs are pinnacles, boulders, rocky formations, beautiful soft coral, and many others. Diving in Koh Lipe is thrilling and ideal for all divers both beginners and the experienced ones.
Koh Lipe diving sites are open throughout the year. Thus, it does not matter when you visit Thailand, dive you must! Sometimes, you can choose to stay in a hotel that offers a diving package so that you can enjoy a discount or two.
Ko Phi Phi diving
Koh Phi Phi is not only an amazing holiday destination but also has a range of awesome dive sites. One of Kho Phi Phi great dive sites is Bida Nok, which has a fantastic wall dive.
In Bida Nok, divers are able to see colorful soft corals and sponges. In addition, they are able to interact with great marine species such as the leopard sharks, moray eels, reef sharks, scorpion fish, glassfish and wrasse among others.
There are many dive shops on Ko Phi Phi and therefore hiring scuba diving gear should not be a problem at all. For the wonderful marine life that you will interact with, Phi Phi is a must-dive location for you.
These are just a few of the most fantastic sites for diving in Thailand. There are many more, but these should give you a great time. Do try at least one of them and remember… no hot curry.