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Diving in Phuket

Phuket is not only a great base for exploring some of Thailands great dive sites, but it's also a lively fun packed holiday destination too.

Diving in Phuket

Quick facts

Phuket offers shore and boat diving and is also a jump-off point for liveaboards to the Similan and Surin Islands and the most southern sites too. Leaving from Khao Lak for northern liveaboards means less cruising time, though.

Shore diving in Phuket is possible only between November to April, outside of this time monsoon winds make conditions too dangerous. Mostly shallow dives, these are great for beginners and training however they will delight macro hunters too. Care and attention should be given to overhead traffic.

Boat diving will take you to the two Racha Islands, these lie just two hours cruise away and offer ten sites to explore. Diving here is great for entry level and can attract some of the bigger pelagics too. Koh Doc Mai lies in the direction of Koh Phi Phi. This tiny island is all about the little things. 

The popular trifecta of the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point and Anemone Reef are around 2 hours cruise away. The King Cruiser is a fabulous wreck site but can experience some quite strong current and is not suitable for beginners.

The dive sites around Koh Phi Phi can be accessed from Phuket as well as the southern pinnacles of Hin Deang and Hin Muang. Due to the distance these are best dived from closer points or on a southerly heading liveaboard.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 601Per trip
USD 526Per trip
USD 556Per trip
Shark Point – Protected as a marine sanctuary since 1992, this site epitomises the phrase “the living reef”. Schooling fusiliers pass by in the blue; hunting trevally dart in and out. Reef fish are everywhere and the corals provide a kaleidoscopic backdrop. Leopard sharks rest on the sandy areas at the base of the pinnacles (18 metres / 60 feet to 20 metres / 66 feet) and bamboo sharks are found under the hard corals and rocks. Don’t overlook the small stuff though – you’ll find numerous shrimp species, moray eels, lionfish, scorpionfish, octopus and so much more. Racha Noi South Tip – Interesting topography, great visibility, exhilerating drifts and passing pelagics make this an unbeatable dive. The collection of submerged boulders which rise up from the deep attract manta rays, whale sharks and other larger fish including tuna and schooling jacks. Currents here vary and the drifts can be an exciting ride. Koh Dok Mai - This is a superb wall and drift dive, with hidden caves and crevices lurking in its limestone rock face. Glide by gardens of yellow tube corals and look for moray eels peeking out of the reef. The beauty of this site becomes illuminated with the sun beams from above, and it is home from November through April to baby nurse sharks and whale sharks out in the big blue. The diversity at Koh Dok Mai is among the best in Thailand and no two dives are ever the same. Anemone Reef – This limestone pinnacle, which rises up from 30 metres / 100 feet, is completely shrouded in a stunning mass of multi-coloured anemones. As one would expect, anemone fish are not in short supply here but the pinnacle also attracts a plethora of reef life including fusiliers, snappers, butterflyfish, bannerfish, trumpet fish, sweetlips, triggerfish, moray eels and a range of critters to boot! It’s a colourful dive that’s bursting with life. Bida Nok / Bida Nai – These two limestone islands are breath-taking both above and below the water with stunning walls home to sea snakes and hawksbill turtles. Bida Nai also has numerous caves and overhangs where seahorses and other small critters like to hide out. The highlight here is the wide range of marine life from moray eels, wrasses, barracuda, leopard sharks, ghost pipefish and scorpion fish camouflaged against the reef.

What to see

February to May is the best time to see whale sharks in this area. Leopard sharks can still be seen here too. Expect tuna, grouper and barracuda as well as colourful reef favourites like butterflyfish, angelfish and trumpetfish. If you have keen eyes or a good guide you’ll see seahorse, ghost pipefish, nudibranch, anglerfish, stonefish and scorpionfish.

Calendar

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Area

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, so large that you might not even realise it wasn’t part of the mainland. Bridges join Phuket to the mainland. It lies off the west coast and is 210 miles square (543 sq. km) and home to over half a million people. However, mountains run from the north to the south and cover some 70% of the land mass.

It’s a hugely popular destination, hectic, vibrant, somewhat loud and heavily developed. The main area of Patong is by far the busiest. Outside of Patong, there are quieter and less developed areas to spend your holiday. The best beaches and the concentration of tourist facilities run along the west coast ensuring you a glorious sunset to sip cocktails in front of, every evening of your holiday.

As you might expect for a destination of this magnitude and popularity, it has everything you could need for an exhilarating action packed holiday. Great scenery, great beaches, thumping nightlife, a full range of water sports, shops galore, great restaurants and even an old town and some temples and cultural sites to explore.

Other attractions

Aside from the plethora of activities available, Phuket also has international standard championship golf courses.

Getting there

Phuket International Airport is located in the north of the island and is the second largest airport in Thailand. It is serviced by regular flights to Bangkok, other major cities in Asia and also Europe and Australia. Numerous taxis, shuttles, buses and mini bus services are all available from the airport to your accommodation.

UTC+07:00

Time zone

THB

Currency

+66

Calling code

220-240 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

HKT

Main airport
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