Thailand is blessed with a wide range of dive sites making it an ideal destination for divers of all abilities. There are rewarding sites in the Gulf of Thailand including Koh Tao and Koh Samui which are well-suited to beginner divers and those looking to enjoy the sun and social scene. If you are serious about your diving, the Andaman Coast of Thailand has the best-rated diving in Thailand with the Similan Islands regularly voted as being amongst the best dive sites in the world.
Diving in Thailand: Gulf of Thailand
Koh Samui and Koh Tao are both popular locations with divers in Thailand and with good reason. They both offer a great range of accommodation, good infrastructure, nightlife and some excellent diving.
The granite pinnacle known as Sail Rock is rated by many divers as the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. Located in between Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan, Sail Rock rises 15 metres out of the sea. With colourful coral and plenty of marine life here, divers can expect to see moray eels, barracuda and butterfly fish. If you’re lucky you may see whale sharks.
Also close to Koh Tao, Chumphon Pinnacle is another site which gets good reviews from divers. With the possibility of strong currents, this is a site for more experienced divers with a wide-range of marine life from turtles to eels on display.
For beginner and less experienced divers, the spectacular Ang Thong Marine Park to the north-west of Koh Samui is an excellent introduction to diving in Thailand. With shallower depths and sheltered bays, it still provides some stimulating diving although more experienced divers may be frustrated by the number of day trippers and snorkellers.
Diving in Thailand: Andaman Coast
There are a number of locations on Thailand’s Andaman Coast where divers can base themselves. Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Khao Lak and Phi Phi all have good facilities for divers no matter what your level of experience is. The social scene will vary from place to place, but all of these locations are home to some beautiful scenery and beaches.
Located in the Andaman Sea to the north-west of Phuket, Thailand’s Similan Islands are frequently rated by dive enthusiasts as being amongst the best scuba diving locations around the world. The Similan Islands are made up of nine small islands. Beautiful both above and below the waves, it’s easy to see why divers rate these waters so highly. Classic white-sand beaches, clear water, coral reefs and abundant sea-life all combine to make the Similan Islands a memorable dive experience.
Live-aboard scuba diving trip to the Similan Islands
With 14 dives included in the price of the trip, the 5-day, 4-night live-aboard dive trip to the Similan Islands includes daytime and night-time dives to renowned dive spots such as Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and Surin Island. A live-aboard is the best way to beat the crowds of day-trippers and allows you to optimise your dive time in the best possible conditions. A live-aboard dive tour also means you improve your chances of seeing more marine life such as whale sharks and manta rays.
Thailand scuba diving tours
Operating along the west coast of Thailand, the MV Deep Andaman Queen was refurbished in 2012. At almost 30 metres long and 7-metres wide, the twin-engine steel hull vessel operates to the highest safety standards. The boat is designed specifically with the needs and desires of divers in mind and operates as a PADI dive centre. Specialities offered by the Deep Andaman Queen include PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and the Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver course. With a professional multilingual crew and PADI dive instructors onboard, this is a luxurious and enjoyable live-aboard experience.
All cabins are equipped with air conditioning and feature an en-suite bathroom with shower. There are a range of cabin sizes to choose from and with the boat designed specifically for divers it offers guests one of the largest and most comfortable dive platforms in South-East Asia. Whether you are a newcomer or experienced diver, the Deep Andaman Queen offers a live-aboard experience to remember as you explore the outstanding dive sites of the Similan Islands.
Thailand’s diving season
It’s possible to dive in Thailand all year round, but because of the differing effects of the monsoon on each coast, what can be a good month for diving on the Andaman Coast might not be for the Gulf of Thailand and vice-versa. Generally speaking, the best time for diving Thailand’s Andaman Sea is from November to April with good visibility, warm waters and a diverse range of sea-life. From May to October seas on the Andaman Coast can be rough and visibility for diving at some of the more remote locations far from ideal. However, on the opposite coast, May to August usually sees excellent diving conditions in the Gulf of Thailand.