Thailand Diving

Having just the perfect conditions for diving, a diverse assortment of marine life and a culture for fine hospitality Thailand has become a magnet for all divers from complete beginners to seasoned travellers.

Bangkok Province

Scuba diving in Bangkok has never been easier, thanks to the abundance of reputable dive centers that call this bustling destination home. While the city itself is a concrete jungle, Pattaya is the closest seaside town within the province where diving is possible. 

Chonburi

Head underwater to discover vibrant reefs, the wreck diving capital of Thailand, and dramatic walls surrounded by a myriad of colorful marine life, and with its proximity to Bangkok providing exciting nightlife, restaurants, water sports, and bustling shops, Chonburi promises a memorable experience.

Krabi

Here you'll find picture-perfect paradise beaches with white sand and glimmering azure waters that are surrounded by dramatic limestone mountains covered in luscious jungle fauna. While below the calm seas you find breathtaking seascapes and vibrant tropical marine life that entice divers to the magical depths that hold seemingly infinite species. Krabi is a destination not to be missed. 

Phang nga

Sitting on the edge of the Andaman Sea, Phang Nga is famed for its crystal-clear waters full of life and the iconic Surin and Similan Islands. Dive in to discover pristine corals and exceptional reefs hosting mantas, whale sharks, turtles and more fish than you could possibly count.

Phuket Province

Sitting by the Andaman Sea and offering a generous mix of world-class diving, bustling nightlife, Thai culture and iconic beaches, Phuket has something for all. Dive sites are suitable for all levels and the marine life is seemingly endless; with thriving corals, reef fish, turtles, sharks and schooling pelagics.

Satun

In Thailand’s pristine Andaman Sea, the province of Satun provides an exceptional diving experience off the beaten track, where healthy coral reefs, exhilarating underwater topography and a plethora of species wait to be encountered by divers of all levels. From the tiniest nudibranchs to dolphins, dugongs and enormous whale sharks, Satun promises endless diversity.

Surat Thani

One of Thailand’s most popular dive regions, beautiful Surat Thani’s 112 islands offer white sand beaches, endless reefs and access to world-famous Koh Samui, Koh Tao and more.  No matter your skill level, you can surround yourself with colourful corals, macro delights, sea turtles and even whale sharks.

Trat

Unspoilt dive sites, few dive crowds, lush jungle-covered scenery and white sands are just a few of Trat’s many highlights for divers and non-divers alike. Discover a wealth of fish life, macro critters, pelagics and whale sharks; all while exploring dramatic underwater topography, wrecks and more.

 

Diving in Thailand

Diving has a long history in Thailand, so much so that it has helped to shape much of the tourist industry and even the culture and economy of the country. Most of the diving activity is focussed around the Andaman Sea on the Western Coast of Thailand. The waters in this area a wonderfully clear, warm and the reefs are filled with the hard and soft corals Thailand is famous for. The fish life is plentiful with everything from chunky napoleon wrasse to the overwhelmingly large whale sharks and mantas.
 
A substantial portion of the diving in Thailand is done on a liveaboard, especially in the Similan and Surin Islands. These two island clusters are home to some of the best dives in the region thanks to their distance from land, strong nutrient-rich currents which draws fish and large pelagics to them like a magnet. Some short dive liveaboards take in only the Similan Islands but many do both the southern islands and Surin. It is also possible to take a day trip out to the Similan Islands if you are short on time.
 
On the Eastern Coast and in the Gulf of Thailand are a number of stunning islands that are also a diving hotspots. In particular, Koh Samui and Koh Tao have transformed into dive focussed islands with dive centers and resorts lining the sandy shores. These are great places to learn to dive, with so many competitors on offer, beginners can get a great price for their course without sacrificing anything in regards to the standards of the course. It is also a great location to go as a diving backpacker with a real culture and diving community found there.

Best time to dive

Thailand enjoys a tropical climate meaning the weather and water temperature is warm for most of the year. However, the monsoon season from May to the end of October brings a little more rain and rougher surface conditions in the Andaman Sea. During this period divers may not be able to take a liveaboard out to the Similan or Surin Islands but local dive centers and resorts will still operate to certain sites, weather dependant. Thanks to this slight uncertainty about specific sites and days this is the least busy and therefore the least expensive time to visit Thailand. As it is a well-loved warm water destination in the winter, December and January are the busiest months all over Thailand. It is advisable to book early if you are hoping to visit during this period both for accommodation and diving. The dive resorts start to quieten down in February and this continues into the end of the season. These months are some of the best conditions in the year and offers the best chance of seeing the bigger marine life such as mantas and whalesharks.

Types of diving

Much of Thailand’s diving is shallow reefs caked with coral and covered with reef fish, sharks and turtles. Many of the dives around Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Krabi can be enjoyed directly from the shore. Training dives for dive courses are also often done at one of the many shore sites around the coast. For more experienced divers the call of deeper waters with pinnacles, walls and wrecks means a boat trip is required. Speed boats and traditional converted fishing boats have been transformed into dive boats all around Thailand. These can take divers on day long trips to the further out sites where WWII shipwrecks, caves and pinnacles await. These dives and multi-day liveaboards offer the chance to see some of the bigger marine life on offer in Thailand. Out in the blue, using the currents to travel are mantas, whalesharks and pelagic shoals.

What to see

Many divers flock to Thailand for the chance to see larger pelagics such a colossal whalesharks and manta rays which pass by the rocky outcrops further out to sea. These majestic creatures are most common in the areas around the Similans and further north in the Surin Islands
 
Closer to shore divers will find that even walking off the beach, a coral encrusted sea floor filled with colour awaits. Brightly spotted octopus, napoleon wrasse and cheeky trigger fish can be found all over Thailand’s reefs and wreck as well as shoals of barracuda and legions of turtles. Critters are everywhere around filling every nook and cranny of the coral reefs pipefish, seahorses, eels and brightly coloured shrimp can be found by eagle eyed divers all over Thailand.
 
For shark lovers the most common types found in Thailand are black and white tip reef sharks who can be found circling around the reefs during the day and hunting during night dives. Leopard and guitar sharks, although a little rarer than reef sharks can also be found and are excellent subjects for underwater photographers.
 

Best places to dive

Elephant Head, Similan Islands

Widely spoken of as one of the best dive sites in the Similans, Elephant head is recognisable in being the shape of its namesake, the elephant. The archway-like shape also betrays the existence of a set of caverns and swim throughs that exist beneath the surface. The islet takes the form of huge boulders underwater around which white and blacktip reef sharks patrol. It is also possible to find the long and graceful leopard shark at Elephant Head, this photogenic shark can often be found in sandy patches or hiding between rocky boulders. It is worth noting that Elephant head can have slightly rougher conditions than some dive spots in Thailand and so is not suitable for complete beginners.

 
Richelieu Rock, Surin Islands

A tiny rocky outcrop poking out of the sea conceals a hidden wonder under the waterline at Richelieu Rock. Often cited as the best dive site in all of Thailand this is a site that really has it all. Currents that whip around the huge boulder shape of Richelieu bringing with them mantas, whalesharks, guitar sharks and huge shoals of pelagic fish. Closer in, the rock itself is encrusted with soft and hard coral with a critter in every hole or clinging to every piece of loose weed. Reef fish can be seen surrounding the entire rock including current blown boxfish, triggerfish and napoleon wrasse. Hunting around for these same fish divers can also see black and whitetip reef sharks.
 

Koh Tao, Surat Thani

The island where diving is king, Koh Tao is a feast for beginners and experienced divers and perfect for those hoping to immerse themselves in the diving culture. This is one of the best places to take a dive course, the competition is rife between centers both in price and diving standards. There is something to everyone’s taste here with several shipwrecks, reefs and cave dives. The marine life is varied with the chance to see reef and bull sharks, eagle rays, whalesharks and mantas as well as seemingly endless turtles. Turtles are particularly common on Koh Tao thanks to the efforts of local and dive centers to protect nesting sites and protect and incubate the eggs until hatching.
 

Krabi

The seemingly endless coastline of Krabi and its steep cliffs make for the perfect diving playground. Krabi offers plentiful caves, swim throughs as well as pinnacles further out where divers have the chance of seeing whalesharks and mantas. The conditions in Krabi are ideal for dive courses with little current and reliably calm and sheltered surface conditions.
 

Koh Samui, Surat Thani

The idyllic island of Koh Samui is one of the best places in Thailand to dive with turtles. Green and hawksbills are found here in great numbers as well as dolphins, blacktip reef sharks and seasonally whaleshark sightings. As the island has a particularly warm climate the best time to see sharks, including whalesharks will be in the cooler months of the season