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Diving in Thailand

Thailand has many superb diving destinations from which to choose. All come with beautiful beaches, swaying palms and clear warm water rich with a plethora of marine life that includes manta rays and whale sharks.

Diving in Thailand

Quick facts

At the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand, the "Land of a Thousand Smiles," is a country proud of its unique culture and famous worldwide for its cuisine. You’ll find palm fringed white sand beaches, colourful coral reefs and many exhilarating cultural attractions in some of Southeast Asia’s liveliest cities. With the Gulf of Thailand on the east and the Andaman Sea on the west, diving opportunities include fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. In the evenings, you’ll find entertainment varies from phenomenal dining and chilled out sundowners to night clubbing and lively full moon parties. Dive sites are a rainbow of colours and teeming with marine life. For “big fish” aficionados, whale sharks, manta rays, leopard sharks and other pelagics are a major draw whilst macro-life such as seahorse, frogfish, ghost pipefish and an array of nudibranch and crustaceans can all be seen amongst the reefs.

Recommended training

Thailand is a great destination to learn to dive with the PADI Open Water Divercourse. If you are already PADI certified, look to take the PADI Enriched Air, PADI Deep Diver and PADI Drift Diver courses so you’re prepared for diving the many pinnacles and walls across this destination. The PADI Wreck Diver course is a natural if you plan to dive any of Thailand’s amazing wrecks. Thailand is also an excellent location to become a PADI Pro by taking the PADI Divemastercourse or the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course.

When to go

Its tropical location ensures that Thailand has a hot and humid climate year-round. The country is warm and wet during the May to September monsoon, then dries out from November to mid-March. Air temperatures range from 30–35°C/85-95°F. The diving is typically good all year, but the Gulf of Thailand is at its peak from May through September while the best diving is from October through April in the Andaman Sea.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Khao Lak

    Explore the sparkling, rich waters of the Similan and Surin Islands. Top dive sites such as Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon and Koh Tachai attract manta rays and whale sharks to their rich, colourful reefs.

  • Koh Chang

    Koh Chang has many beaches to explore and even more dive sites. The rich and relaxed diving is a perfect complement to a rejuvenating holiday.

  • Koh Lanta

    Relax and unwind in the tropical peacefulness of Koh Lanta. See manta rays circle Hin Muang and Hin Daeng and enjoy the rich diving available around Koh Haa and Koh Phi Phi too.

  • Koh Lipe

    Koh Lipe is miles from anywhere and as off the beaten path as you are likely to get in Thailand today. The longer journey will reward you with a beautiful, peaceful location with some excellent div...

  • Koh Phangan

    Koh Phangan offers the best access to the Gulf of Thailand’s premier dive site, Sail Rock. With some good local dive sites, access to Koh Tao’s diving and plenty of things to do on land Koh Phangan...

  • Koh Phi Phi

    In a land of beautiful scenery, Koh Phi Phi radiates at the top of the pile. Explore glistening waters rich with life and wonder at the magnificent limestone formations.

  • Koh Racha

    Close to Phuket but miles away in atmosphere, Koh Racha is a great island escape for those wanting peace, beautiful white sandy beaches and some excellent diving options.

  • Koh Samui

    Koh Samui is one of Thailand's most popular holiday destinations and a great base from which to explore the Gulf of Thailand’s southern dive spots.

  • Koh Tao

    Koh Tao is a popular island destination for all levels and disciplines of scuba diving training. With suitable conditions for beginners and children and plenty to do topside it’s a good all round c...

  • Krabi

    Krabi offers a choice of beaches from which you can base yourself to access some great diving. Limestone cliffs dominate the area providing picturesque scenery and great rock climbing.

  • Pattaya

    Pattaya is famous for its shipwrecks and infamous for its nightlife. However, it does have some pleasing entry and intermediate level reef diving too.

  • 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.

  • Ranong

    Ranong is your gateway to the uncrowded Burma Banks and the Mergui Archipelago. Enjoy frontier-like diving and all the rewards that go along with it. You can extend your trip to the Similan and Sur...

  • The Similan Islands

    The Similan’s are undoubtedly famous in diving circles. They offer the best of Thailand’s diving all neatly parcelled up around their nine islands. Best enjoyed by liveaboard, you can dive in magni...

USD 601Per trip
USD 526Per trip
USD 557Per trip

What to see

Expect to be overwhelmed with a riot of colour and clouds of fish. Your first dive could feel somewhat dizzying with the frenetic activity of Thailand’s reef inhabitants. Colourful reef fish of every species and description glide around. You’ll see a variety of angelfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, triggerfish and trumpetfish. Stonefish, scorpionfish, lionfish, sea snakes and morays bring their brand of intimidation. Barracuda, tuna, jacks and even sailfish can be seen hunting the unsuspecting. Expect a variety of rays including mantas; whale sharks and sharks will delight you. Macro lovers will not be disappointed with the chance to see an array of nudibranch, shrimp, pipefish and other tiny oddities.

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

The ‘land of smiles’, Thailand welcomes tourists to its lush tropical shores in droves. Indeed, there is much to offer no matter your budget or what you look for in a holiday. Thailand excels at beautiful beaches and, of course, some fabulous snorkelling and diving. Topside there's the tasty food, huge shopping malls, great nightlife and spas, wellness and spirituality as a counter balance. You can rock climb, and you can hike in national parks with rugged and lush scenery. Culturally there are some fabulous festivals and superb temples and historic sites.

Tourism has brought with it modernisation, but Thailand has still retained its exotic and unique charms. It’s as much pleasure to visit today as it was 30 years ago, although with somewhat easier connections, swifter travel and faster internet.

Thailand is a conservation nation; ladies should not sunbathe topless, and bikinis and swimwear should be covered once leaving the beach or pool. Religious and cultural sites are revered, and you should dress respectfully, covering shoulders and knees, when visiting them. Denouncing the monarchy in any form is punishable by prison. Stick to the laws and keep your wits about you and Thailand is a safe place to visit but it has seen some political unrest recently. Demonstrations were focussed in Bangkok, leaving the tourist areas unmarred.

Other attractions

Bangkok offers connections all over Asia, which makes it very easy to take in great attractions in the region as part of a multi-centred trip. Some choose to shop in Singapore while others might choose the awesome temple complex of Angkor in neighbouring Cambodia.

Getting there

Suvarnabhumi International Airport located in Bangkok is the main gateway to the country and most likely where you will land. Don Muang International Airport is the old main airport also located in Bangkok. This airport mainly serves the budget, domestic and regional international connections. You can get anywhere from Bangkok, most travel agents will be able to book your onward connection to your destination before you fly.

UTC+07:00

Time zone

THB

Currency

+66

Calling code

220-240 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

BKK

Main airport
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