The paradise island of Phuket is renowned for its diving, its arguably the best in Thailand. But what is the main diving season in Phuket? Surprisingly, the two main diving areas have slightly different times they can be accessed and yet they’re only 100km apart.

What are the main diving areas?

First of all, we need to take a look at the areas for diving in Phuket.

The main two are the south east of the island, accessible via Chalong, and actually just off the island to the north west, accessible via Khao Lak.

Each area has a different diving schedule due to the geographical surroundings and yearly weather cycles. If you look at the map everything to the east of Phuket is open to the ocean; unguarded if you will. The diving to the south east is somewhat protected from the open seas by land masses hence you can dive some sites all year.

High season for diving in Phuket

The main diving season in Phuket runs from around the end of October until April. This time of year all the diving is usually accessible. The Similan and Surin National Parks (from Khao Lak) are closed the rest of the year as the seas can get too rough for boats and divers during this time. It is so exposed to the elements from May-Oct that the authorities close the park in full for safety.

You will find the regularity of trips less during the ‘summer’ season of May-Oct from Chalong. Don’t worry though, there is still great diving to be had. Many people worry about the weather at that time of year as it is considered rainy season. The truth is, it usually rains for an hour or two and then the sun is back out in full for most of that time of year. Do bear in mind that it may be grey and wet for a couple of days on occasion though.

When is best to visit?

To be frank, the best dive site in Phuket is most likely considered Richelieu Rock, up in the Surin National Park. It really is one that should be on your list if you are diving in Thailand. With that in mind, you can only access the national park between late October and early April.

We would highly recommend that you do a liveaboard as the Similan and Surin National Parks are a little way out. Also, there is ample diving for 4-6 days if you include the Koh Tachai and Koh Bon. Liveaboards also give you a better diving schedule as you can often can sleep right near to your next days diving. If you like diving on uncrowded, yet popular sites, it is certainly the way to go. You can be out of the water after your first dive before the day boats even arrive. Very sophisticated.

If you are in Thailand outside of the months of October to April, do dive the south east. There is some nice reef diving and a couple of wrecks, King Cruiser the most well known. As mentioned before, the scheduling will be a little more sparse at that time of year as it is less busy. There will still be plenty of day boats and some liveaboards operating.

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When diving in Phuket what will I see during the season?

As with all diving, there can never be any guarantees although the list below details the likely critters you will encounter.

Harlequin Shrimps
Hawksbill Sea Turtles
Leopard Sharks
Octopus
Manta Rays
Eagle Rays
Turtles
Seahorses
Whale Sharks
Blacktip Reef Shark
Barracudas

Looking for more information? Check out our Scuba Diving in Phuket Price Guide

Featured image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash