When it comes to scuba diving, Thailand has a deservedly outstanding reputation. What’s great about diving here is the sheer variety of options available to you; for a start, you can choose between hitting spots in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, while there are possibilities for wreck diving, deep drop offs and spotting large predators.
Of course, this level of variety means that you have a huge array of options. This is by and large a good thing, but it does mean that any newcomers to Thailand’s shores can be pretty easily bamboozled by the sheer breadth of choice! Don’t worry, though, as help is at hand – below, you can learn about some of the nation’s finest diving spots. For places to stay near these, check out Hayes and Jarvis.
Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at the island’s diving scene in a bit more detail. Some of the best destinations for the sport include Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi, where you can enjoy a selection of the finest sites in the gulf. Barracudas, manta rays and whale sharks are just some of the creatures you can expect to see, but of course the marine life does vary – both in terms of species and density – from one site to the next.
As a quick tip, absolute beginners are likely to find Koh Tao a particularly good place to start, with its shallow waters making it well suited to first forays below the waterline.
Now, let’s move on to some of the very best places to dive in Thailand!
We’re beginning our list with one of the finest spots – Richelieu Rock. Located in the Andaman Sea, this horseshoe-shaped rock is around 43 miles from Khao Lak and is quite close to the Surin Islands. What makes it so special is the staggering variety of marine life you can see here, which includes snappers, lionfish, whale sharks, large groupers and titan triggerfish – need we go on?
An added bonus is that its popularity makes it a doddle to get to, particularly if you’re based in one of the local diving hotspots like the aforementioned Khao Lak or Phuket; regular trips here head out from both these destinations.
Shark Point Marine Sanctuary
Next up we have one of Phuket’s most celebrated dive sites, Shark Point Marine Sanctuary. This is approximately 16 miles to the east of Phuket, boasting decent visibility (10 to 20 m) and a high density of fish. Of course, with a name like Shark Point this spot is unlikely to be shark-free, and indeed it’s home to several varieties of the toothsome creature – most notably leopard sharks. Another highlight of coming here is seeing the wreck of the King Cruiser, which was a passenger ferry.
Last on our list is the region of Khao Lak, which is known for both its brilliant seaside resorts and its excellent diving opportunities; you are, no doubt, much more interested in the latter! The average water temperature here is 29 degrees C while the visibility generally stays around the 15 m mark.
A popular site to hit is the Bonsung Wreck, which you should be able to reach by speedboat from Khao Lak. This ship has settled at a depth of 20 m, and you can start exploring it from 14 m, so it’s suitable for a wide range of divers. While it’s no longer fully intact, it’s still an incredible place to discover.