Thailand has been a firm favourite amongst travellers for a whole host of reasons one of which is Scuba Diving. With it’s warm, crystal clear waters that are home to some of the worlds most fascinating and beautiful marine life, it is no surprise that this country is such a well-loved travel destination.
The Andaman Sea is Thailand’s best-known diving spot and is home to some of the best diving that Thailand has to offer. If you’re looking for scuba adventures, then this is the place to visit.
Where To Go
Khao Lak, Phi Phi Islands, Ao Nang Beach, Krabi and Phuket are all top resort locations to visit when travelling to Thailand.
Phuket is an area that best serves the whole region. Not only is Phuket great for relaxing and beach going, it is also a great place for travellers looking to let loose and party.
Ao Nang Beach is set on the spectacular Krabi coastline that really is breathtakingly beautiful and just waiting to be explored.
Khao Lak is the best location if you’re looking to explore and experience the Northern Andaman Sea.
Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands are the perfect spot if you’re looking for sun, see, relaxation as well as experiencing island life.
Thailand’s coastline is covered from top to toe with excellent, professional dive shops that are known for their amazing range of value-for-money dive trips and liveaboard trips. The best thing about these diving shops is that they offer constant trips out to some of the best dive sites that Thailand has, such as the Similan Islands, Hin Daeng and Richelieu Rock.
Top Dive Sites Thailand
Made up of 9 individual granite islands that are covered in incredible jungle and surrounded by bright Blue Ocean and phenomenal beaches, there’s no surprise why this is on of the most beautiful and diverse dive destinations. The Similans became a national marine park in 1982 and since then have thrived. They are the ideal location for divers and snorkelers alike; you’ll see amazing reef fish as well as immense rock and coral formations all within crystal clear waters with excellent visibility. The most popular liveaboard diving cruises travel to this location.
Here you see a shovelnose ray in the Similin Islands.
The Surin Islands are a must-see if you’re new to diving as well as advanced divers looking for spectacular sites with relaxing currents. Reef life is thriving at this location and the Surin Islands are known for having the greatest hard coral diversity in Thailand. You’ll find a range of turtle species here as well as other fish species that you may not find anywhere else throughout Thailand. Keep an eye out for Napoleon Wrasse, Barramundi Cod, Tomato Anemone Fish, Bumphead Parrot Fish and so much more. Unfortunately, not many liveaboard trips travel to the Surin Islands due to their remote location so make sure you do plenty of research before booking a liveaboard trip.
A baby turtle hitches a hike from a jellyfish in the Surin National Park
Richelieu Rock is a world famous dive site, known for diving with Whale Sharks. The best way to experience Richelieu Rock is by liveaboard as Whale Sharks tend to stay in the area for 4/5 days at a time, so staying on a liveaboard means you can get to enjoy them for the duration of your trip.
Whaleshark in Richelieu Rock
Koh Tachai and Koh Bon
These two islands are located between the Similan Islands and Surin Islands so they are great for people travelling on a liveaboard going between both locations. If you’re looking for some one-on–one diving with the majestic Manta Rays and close encounters with White Tip Reef Sharks, then these are the islands for you.
Manta Ray in Koh Bon
Koh Samui is the perfect place if you’re looking to explore dive sites based in the Gulf of Thailand. They may not be as varied as the dive sites based in the northern Andaman Sea, however there are some amazing dive sites around Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Joining a liveaboard that goes to both of these locations as well as combining a stay at one of the many resorts based on Koh Samui will be an excellent dive trip. There are also day trips that go out to the numerous dive sites around Koh Samui, from one of the many dive shops located on the island.
Mapa pufferfish in Koh Samui
Hin Muang and Hin Daeng
If you’re looking for incredible wall dives, spectacular topography and getting up close and personal with Grey Reef Sharks, then these two dive sites are perfect for you. This is also a great location to see more Manta Rays and Whale Sharks.
Great barracuda visit in Hin Daeng in southern Thailand
November through to April is the best time to dive throughout Thailand, however the diving season in Thailand is pretty much all year round. Throughout the end of October to the middle of May, liveaboard set sail around the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
If you’re hoping to see the magnificent Whale Shark, the time to travel to Thailand is between February and May, when the concentration of Plankton increases in the area. This is also the time of year to see Manta Rays however; the amount of Manta Rays visiting the area does change from year to year.
If you’re looking for the warmest waters throughout the west coast of Thailand, the time to travel are the last few months of high seas that falls from February to May. The coldest water temperatures are found between June through to October. To be honest, there really isn’t much of a difference between the hottest water temperature and the coldest water temperatures as they usually stay between 26C to 31C. In peak diving season, visibility usually remains at 30m. However, it is important to remember that if you’re visiting during Wale Shark season, blooms of plankton can affect visibility, but it’s all for a good cause.
May through to October is usually low season, where visibility is low and surface conditions can vary due to the rain. Liveaboard do not often venture out during low season and those that do venture out are often cancelled. It is important to remember that top dive sites like Hin Daeng and Richelieu Rock are usually inaccessible at this time. However, at this time of year the Gulf of Thailand is in full flow and the perfect alternative.
Snorkelling and diving at Koh Surin
Torben Lonne is passionate about diving and snorkelling all around the globe.
Want to know more about his underwater experiences? Visit his website!