Kata Beach Diving
One of Phuket’s most popular destinations, Kata Beach offers dive centres and resorts for all budgets, plus liveaboards to nearby iconic dive spots. As the macro diving capital of Thailand, expect to find rare and abundant macro critters at reef and muck diving sites whilst you’re there.
Diving in Kata Beach
On Phuket’s west coast is the picturesque Kata Beach, that boasts scenery typical of pristine tropical paradise, with its white sandy beaches and warm turquoise water. It’s one of the most popular holiday destinations in Phuket, alongside Karon Beach.
Dive centers and resorts that cater to all budgets are in abundance here, and liveaboard trips often take Phuket-dwellers to nearby iconic sites like the Bida Islands, King Cruiser, Shark Point, Anemone Reef, the Phi Phi Islands and the Racha Islands. Dive courses are similarly just as easy to find, and beginners will enjoy taking their open water course in calm, shallow diving conditions in Kata and its surrounding dive sites. Experienced divers can also benefit from advanced courses, with a number of suitable training sites easily accessible by boat.
What’s more, macro lovers here can rejoice, as Kata Beach dive sites are home to some of the rarest tiny critters in Thailand. Nowhere else in the kingdom will you find such a high quantity and quality of macro life.
Best time to dive
Air temperatures range from 25°C-32°C, and water temperature is around 29°C all year, thanks to a sublime tropical climate experienced in Phuket. The high season runs from around November to April and experiences less rainfall. Liveaboards are also abundant in this period and make trips to the Similan and Surin Islands from Phuket. Waves and currents are at their calmest, and visibility at its best in the area, making this season the best time to dive.
The low season from May to October has rougher seas and reduced visibility, but divers won’t be disappointed, as critters don’t disappear, and the water is ever-warm. Also, bargains on accommodation and diving can be had too, which is a plus.
Types of diving
Diving here typically involves easy reef diving, shore, muck, and fantastic night diving. It’s said to be the macro diving capital of Thailand, so for those that adore tiny critters, only places like Anilao and Raja Ampat can rival Kata. For wreck diving, wall and cave diving, you’ll need to head further afield on some of Phuket’s day trips.
What to see
The usual tropical favorites can be seen at Kata Beach, such as colorful hard and soft corals and sponges at the beautiful reef site, along with a myriad of reef fish like angelfish, anemonefish, lionfish, and even cuttlefish, stingrays, eels and sea snakes. Turtles and blacktip reef sharks have also been sighted, and it’s macro critters galore, including nudibranchs, shrimp and seahorses. Reports of super rare creatures come fairly often, including mimic octopus, seahorses of varying sizes, snake eels and much more.
Best places to dive
Kata Beach Reef is just off the shore and is often referred to as a nursery due to the prolific amounts of juvenile species seen. A great place for novices, vibrant life can be discovered while navigating the colorful reefs. The Cubes are hollow blocks that serve as an artificial reef system, hosting an absolute ton of interesting marine species, including rare creatures like ornate ghost pipefish, nudibranchs and flabellina, and a variety of eels.
The Corner is a site on the northern point of Kata Bay and splits Kata and Karon Beaches. Another great shore dive, it’s a fantastic site populated by more macro critters, in addition to the usual tropical reef suspects. Current can sometimes be strong, so it may be better suited to advanced divers. Koh Poo is a small island just off Kata Beach, and also boasts amazing quantities of beautiful marine life.