Thailand offers revitalising culture, miles, and miles of pristine tropical beaches and unmatched marine life experience. No wonder why millions of adventurers flock in to explore the underwater world. Whether it's a rocky place with wild current sweeping up the shore or landscapes with vibrant and colourful coral reefs, Thailand ticks off all the boxes on a scuba diver's bucket list. Here's a brief about the best scuba diving sites in Thailand to help you plan your next holiday to the Land of Smiles.
Here is a list of 7 Best Places For Scuba Diving In Thailand:
Be prepared to see exotic marine animals like manta rays and white sharks at the beautiful diving spots here. With the waters so immaculate, the visibility is as clear as glass. This is probably why the best scuba diving spots in Thailand are housed on this island. The island also presents beautiful emerald green waters for snorkeling expeditions. Located 37 miles from the west coast of Thailand, in the Phang Nga, the islands are situated far from the mainland and are not frequented by tourists, keeping the diving spots unspoiled. In addition to the marine life, the coral reefs here are vast and pure, untouched by humankind. This is because the islands have been a part of UNESCO's development project since 1981. The Richelieu Rock diving spot found here is known for the whale sharks that live here, which you will be guaranteed to spot in initial summer months, especially during February to April.
Highlights: Widely considered the best scuba diving experiences in Thailand. Spot reef sharks, whale sharks, tomato anemonefish, barramundi and explore the largest hard coral diversity in Thailand.
Location: Ko Phra Thong, Khura Buri District, Phang-nga, Thailand
Fee: For a day trip diving at Richelieu Rock, a part of the Surin islands, the total cost is around 6000 THB, which includes the prices of diver, park and other equipments. Food, taxis and dive guides are the basic inclusions in such packages.
Similan Islands are arguably the most stunning diving sites in Thailand and all over the world. Located about 50 miles from Phuket, the Similan Islands are a set of eleven remote islands. The islands' beauty is in the hands of the Thai government who are protecting a plethora of hard and soft corals since 1982. There's a wide array of marine animals in the pristine waters that surround the island. You will find around 20 different dive spots in the area within, all boasting exclusive underwater sceneries. The Elephant head (also known as the Hin Pusar) is the most famous dive site here due to its maze-like structure formed by rocks and channels with a depth of over 40 meters.
Highlights: Pristine beaches, shimmering clear waters, abundance of marine life, hammocks under the casuarina trees and one of the best scuba diving experiences in the whole of Thailand.
Location: Lam Kaen, Thai Mueang District, Phang-nga, Thailand
Fee: The prices of day trip diving at Similan Islands start from 5600 THB, which includes 2 great dives without any need for staying overnight. There are liveaboards ranging from 13000 THB and higher.
Phuket attracts herds of tourists - backpackers who are seeking the best of nightlife, families who want to unwind enjoy a good time with their kids, and adventurers who wish to explore the underwater world at breathtaking diving sites. Phuket's most famous dive site is King Cruiser wreck. It's no surprise that ship-wrecks make up for the best diving exploration tours. King Cruiser Wreck is no less. There are coral-ridden washrooms and abundant marine life at this passenger ferry. While many ships are purposely wrecked to make it into a dive site, the King Cruiser Wreck has rich history attached to it. Over 500 passengers jumped out of the ship when it crashed in 1977. Everyone was rescued, except for the ship.
Highlights: Artificial reefs covered with scorpion fish, many species of sharks, a rich array of marine life are some of the striking features of the King Cruiser Wreck. If you are lucky, you can have a look at the big red octopus and the large resident Hawksbill Turtle.
Location: East Phuket, about 9 miles west of Phi Phi Don
Fee: The 3 dive day trip at Phuket Dive Tours start from 4000 THB. The price is for certified divers, with food, water and beverages as inclusions.
True to its name, Shark Point is where divers will come across deadly Leopard sharks. Located a 90-minute boat ride away from Phuket, this diving spot is for the ones who want thrills. Fret not, as the sharks here are not the ones you would have seen in a Speilberg film. These animals are submissive, and as the dives are done in groups, there's no danger. In addition to Leopard Sharks, this unique point also boasts Moray Eels, tropical fishes, and colourful corals all over the place. The site is a large one to explore, and if done professionally, a dive can take a few days to complete. But its worth it. The depth ranges from 10-30 meters, perfect location for amateurs and experts alike.
Highlights: Abundant and soft corals, habitats of thousands of fishes, leopard sharks resting on the sand, the colourful reefs exploding with life, suitable for a wonderful underwater videography.
Location: 16 miles east of Phuket
Fee: The 3 dive day trip for Shark Point for certified divers is 4000 THB. The inclusions are food, water and beverages.
Located on the island of Koh Tao, Sail Rock is a perfect place to go diving in Thailand. Over a thousand islands are housed in Thailand but Koh Tao stands out and remains the top choice for divers. The scuba diving cost here is lower and the experience is just as good as anywhere else in Thailand. Also known as Hin Bai, this diving spot is a 90-minute boat ride away from the main island. Keep your eyes open as you will witness the Gulf of Thailand with rocks rising out of it as the rocks are eight meters above the waters. As the site is far away from the mainland, the marine life here is distinctive and pure. Diving here goes down to 40 meters under the sea and is ideal for beginners and professionals alike. The cave-like structure of the rock (also goes by the name chimney) is famous amongst expert divers for the challenges it throws at them.
Looking for a unique diving spot? Koh Tachai is the place to go. Also known as 'The Dome', this dive spot is situated just off the Koh Tachai island. It is a dome shaped submeged pinnacle made of gigantic granite boulders. The two interesting dive spots are the Pinnacle and the Tachai Reef. The divers can enjoy the swim throughs on the west, hard corals and sea whips on the east, soft corals and sea fans on the north and various glass fishes, barracuda, leopard sharks etc on the smaller pinnacle. While Tachai Reef is for beginners, Tachai pinnacle should be explored only by advanced divers only.
Highlight: Dome shaped, Boulder, Sunset and Night dive Bush and mountain coral, Waleshark and Leopard Shark.
Location: Similan Islands, Thailand
Towards North East of the Similan Islands are the Koh Bon dive sites, which is on the route to most of the Thailand liveaboard trips. There are two major dive sites in Koh Bon - the ridge sticking out from the western side of the island and the deep pinnacle on the northern side. The Koh Bon Ridge is the best place in the area to spot manta rays. There are soft, pastel coloured corals, leopard sharks in the deeper water and elusive purple fire goby. The pinnacle is a great dive for the experienced divers.
With about 25 dive sites to explore, Koh Tao is a diver's paradise. All these diving sites lie around the island and can be accessed by boats. You can avail a two dive trip in the morning, which operates at all of these sites, to explore the plethora of colourful reef fish, coral encrusted rock pinnacles and shipwrecks. Koh Tao gives you the chance to eye passing pelagics like whale sharks and spotted eagle rays. The sites have hard and soft corals, calm shallow bays, limestone formations, coral gardens, reefs nursery and what not. The visibility drops during monsoon time, otherwise diving goes whole year round.
Phi phi islands are a group of islands off the coast of Thailand, spread over an area of 12 Square kilometers. There are many places shallow sea where the coral is easily visible, making the islands a perfect place for both scuba diving and snorkeling. The southern end of the islands is composed of 2 rocky islands which are the best places for diving. There is a natural archway in the soft corals near Koh Bida Nai which is usually full of bait fish. Loh Samah Bay is the east coast of Phi Le which is famous for nighttime diving. Here, there is an extensive network of hard corals which is filled with small to medium sized fishes. There is also a canyon here, which is a photographer's paradise.
Highlights: Night diving, Canyon, Photography, soft and hard corals perfect for underwater videography
Scuba diving runs all year round in Thailand, but the most optimal site conditions are between November to April. If you want to spot whale sharks or manta rays in your dives, you must go for scuba diving between February and May. This is the time for blooming plankton. The temperature of water is warmest from February to May and coldest from June to October. On the West Coast of Thailand, May to October is the off season because the visibility massively drops. Some sites are closed during these periods.