Best Diving in Thailand

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Thailand is a firm favourite amongst scuba divers of every experience level, and it’s easy to see why. Thailand’s coastline offers unparalleled beauty, warm waters and as many variations in interesting marine life as there are temples in this cultural mecca. There are two main areas where scuba diving is concentrated: the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west. Each is unique in terms of its diving, rainy and peak tourist season, but both areas offer superb diving and are well worth a visit.

Explore below more details about scuba diving in Thailand.

Table of Content

Dive Map of Thailand

Thailand Dive Map

Underwater Pictures of Thailand

Best Diving Destinations in Thailand

Thailand’s magnificent gulf on the east includes the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui, which offer impeccable diving throughout the year at dive sites that are fairly protected from heavy weather conditions. Divers can enjoy calm, gentle currents over the reefs and are often spoilt with sightings of majestic rays and whale sharks at certain times of the year. Notable dive sites include Sail Rock, a phenomenal rocky outcrop that sits 15 meters above the surface of the water, and the underwater walls of Chumphon Pinnacle.

For many, the best dive sites can be found on the west coast, specifically in the area of the Andaman Sea that stretches between the ever-popular Phuket and further south down to Krabi. Popular with novice and experienced divers alike, there are a number of shore dives and wreck dives available, but many of the reef dive sites are reached by boat.

Phuket is an island ideally suited as a base for scuba diving enthusiasts with plenty of dive operators along its coast and an array of exotic marine life in its waters. It is also fairly protected and is suitable for diving at almost any time of the year. There are rocky and colourful coral reefs, wreck dives and even a marine sanctuary called Shark Point, known for its concentration of Leopard Sharks. For those looking to experience a little more of a challenge, there are a number of sites surrounding the Similan islands that are well-worth hopping on a liveaboard to visit. In contrast to the relatively calm conditions around Phuket, Richelieu Rock is an exhilarating wall dive that will not leave you disappointed.

Thailand boasts a whopping 26 National Marine Parks which means that all of the dive sites are well-protected. There are even a number of eco dive sites and companies focusing specifically on preservation of the most-dived areas, which is great news for preserving these underwater paradises for years to come. The world-class diving here takes many forms including cave dives, drift dives, pinnacles, walls and of course vibrant reef dives.

When to Visit Thailand

Holiday-makers flock to Thailand at all times of the year to experience this exotic and magical wonder, however there is a monsoon season to be aware of and this differs depending on your location.

The Gulf of Thailand experiences typical tropical weather throughout the year, with the rainy season running between September and November and the most popular time for tourists being in December, January, February and March. Tourists gather in the Gulf of Thailand again in July and August, so a diving holiday is best between the months of May and June to avoid the crowds. Air temperatures remain fairly constant at 28-32°C and the water remains in the region of 29°C, which makes for pleasant diving whenever you choose to visit.

The west coast also experiences a tropical climate with a longer rainy season that runs between the months of May and December. The rain falls especially hard between June and October, making the best time to visit this region in the drier months of January to April, however many divers still choose to visit during the rainy season as the rainfall tends to appear in quick, refreshing bursts at the end of each day rather than a full day of rain. Water temperature is still pleasant at 29°C and the air temperature can vary between 25-32°C.

Getting to Thailand

Thailand’s main transportation hub has always been Bangkok, however there is now an entire network of domestic and international travel options including airports in Krabi, Phuket and Ko Samui, which makes things much simpler for divers to get straight into experiencing all that the waters of Thailand have to offer.

Where to Stay in Thailand

With over 2000km of coastline, choosing where to stay in Thailand can be difficult. Many divers choose to make the most of their diving holiday by opting for a liveaboard trip which is especially worthwhile if you plan to dive at some of the more remote locations.

If you’re looking to experience more than just the magical underwater world during your stay, a dive resort on the popular island of Phuket might be the right choice. With Phuket being such a popular destination for all types of visitors, some divers choose to stay in regular non-diving lodgings and make use of the many diving operations to arrange their dives. Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand is hugely popular with diving holiday-makers due to its easily accessible location nearby Koh Samui airport.

Travel tips

Feeling inspired and raring to go? Check out our Thailand travel guide and start planning your next diving trip!

Dive Destination Reviews in Thailand

The Similan Islands are what Thailand diving is all about. Offering the greatest variety of sites including coral reefs, rocky ...

The Surin Islands boast numerous dive sites that could take up an entire day or two of non-stop, fantastic diving. ...

Koh Lanta is very popular with divers opting for underwater adventures in the southern region of the Andaman Sea. With ...

The hugely popular dive sites at Phi Phi Islands are certainly something to write home about, with an array of ...

For those wishing to learn how to scuba dive, or progress their scuba qualifications, Koh Tao is a top pick ...

Khao Lak is home to some of the most fascinating dive sites Thailand has to offer. Not only does the ...

Aside from being hugely popular with tourists from all over the world, Phuket is very convenient for scuba divers wishing ...

Diving in Koh Chang is great.

Diving in Chumphon is great.

Diving in Krabi is great.

Liveaboard Reviews in Thailand

Operating from October to May throughout the beautiful Andaman Sea, the Sawasdee Fasai is the sister vessel to the M/V ...

The Manta Queen 1 operates from October to May every year, catering for up to 22 guests across its 27 ...

Somboon 3 liveaboard articles goes here. Cabins The Somboon 3 is a liveaboard offering air-conditioned accommodation in each of its 14 cabins. ...

Somboon 4 liveaboard articles goes here.

Dolphin Queen liveaboard articles goes here. Cabins The Dolphin Queen hosts up to 22 guests across its 8 cabins. Each cabin offers basic ...

Operating between the months of October through May, the Manta Queen 5 will take up to 20 divers on its ...

The MV Pawara sets sail for the Similan Islands between October and May and offers fantastic 4-night diving vacations that ...

MV Deep Andaman Queen operates 4-night and 5-night liveaboard scuba diving trips to Similan Islands and Surin National Park, Koh ...

Complete with a total of six private cabins, The Junk is a member of a small fleet that has been ...

Climb aboard the M/V Oktavia and explore some of the highest rated dive sites in the world!

Barry August 12, 2017

When is your next trip to ko losin? What is the cost?

Reply

เพลิน August 14, 2017

สนใจ open water course ค่ะ ไม่ทราบติดต่อขอรับรายละเอียดได้ที่ไหนคะ ขอบคุณค่ะ

Reply

Ellen September 18, 2017

I’m interested in Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Are you still running this itinerary?

Reply

Christina September 26, 2017

Hi, When are your trips out of Songkhla?

Reply

Diane October 06, 2017

I would like more information. I’m coming October 11-16. Can you advise me about costs for diving (I am a PADI Recreational diver). I’m traveling alone, want advice as to reasonable, safe, quiet accommodations.

Reply

    DiveGlobal October 07, 2017

    Hi Diane!
    October is a good month to dive the Andaman sea: for a uiet and safe destination, you could go to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta and dive from there. If you want to experience the best diving in Thailand, then you could join a liveaboard from Phuket or Khao Lak going for a few days to the Similans and Surin Islands. Thailand is safe for sole female travellers. Happy bubbles!

    Reply

Ulrich October 15, 2017

I am interested in your
Third Party Liability ( for bodily injury and damage to property of others – including passengers )
Its a private yacht based in Phuket with British Flag (Turks Island). Cr using area is South East Asia.
Kindly send me an application form by email.
Thanks!

Reply

stephen October 27, 2017

I require third party insurance for cruising yacht for Thai and Malaysian waters please.

Reply

Amir October 29, 2017

Hi there,

I am a representative of the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program on Koh Tao and its Koh Tao Turtle Identification initiative. This initiatives purpose is to acquire data (Photos of both sides of face, dive site, behaviour and date) construct a database of all the resident and transient sea turtles (Hawksbill, Green Sea, Olive Ridley) in the Chumphon Archipelago, from this data we can understand their behavior, movements, and use this to better protect them. Since the projects inception a little over two years ago, we have identified 72 different individuals.
We would like to know if Sea Frog Diving has photos of sea turtles no matter how old it is, willing to send to us and help build our database of sea turtles in the Gulf of Thailand Region (Chumphorn Arcipelago, Pattani and Pattaya)

All photos given to us will be used solely for the purpose of research and conservation and not for any commercial benefit. If you are interested in assisting in this project, it would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Amir

Reply

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