Scuba Diving in Thailand: The Ultimate Guide for Scuba Divers



Scuba Diving in Thailand: The Ultimate Guide for Scuba Divers



Scuba Diving in Thailand: The Ultimate Guide for Scuba Divers


Scuba Diving in Thailand – Introduction

Welcome to the underwater world of Thailand, a premier destination for scuba divers seeking adventure amidst vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. Whether you’re a beginner eager to take your first breaths underwater or an experienced diver looking for new challenges, Phuket offers some of the best diving spots in Southeast Asia.

Where to go scuba diving in Thailand

The Epic Similan Islands

Similan Islands - Scuba Thailand - Whale SharkThere is no place else for scuba diving in Thailand like the Similan Islands; a top destination for divers seeking unparalleled underwater adventures. Nestled in the Andaman Sea off the coast a little north of Phuket, Thailand, These islands offer some of the best dive sites globally, renowned for their vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and crystal-clear waters.

The Dive Sites You Can’t Miss

The Similan Islands boast an array of dive sites suitable for all levels of divers. Here are a few must-visit spots:

  • Elephant Head Rock: Known for its challenging swim-throughs and dramatic rock formations.
  • Richelieu Rock: A hotspot for spotting whale sharks and manta rays amidst lush soft corals.
  • Koh Bon: Offers thrilling encounters with manta rays along its steep walls, and the occasional Bull Shark.

Dive Season: When to Visit?

The ideal time to dive in the Similan Islands is between November and April when conditions are at their peak – calm seas, clear skies, and visibility reaching up to 30 meters (100 feet). This period avoids the monsoon season when most liveaboards do not operate due to rough sea conditions, and hence the National Parks close.
In essence, scuba diving around Phuket’s magnificent surrounding areas like The Similian Islands offers an unforgettable experience filled with awe-inspiring sights beneath waves. It’s where every diver should venture at least once!

Whether you’re exploring vibrant coral gardens or encountering majestic pelagic fish species — adventure awaits under every ripple!

For the full low down on diving in the Similans, read more here.

Or, see how we recommend diving in the Similans for the best experience here.

The Unforgettable Surin Islands

Similans Boats

If you’re a scuba diver looking for an unforgettable diving holiday, the Surin Islands in Thailand should be at the top of your list.

Just a little above the Similan Islands, these islands are part of an archipelago that is renowned for its vibrant marine life, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coral reefs. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting out, the Surin Islands offer a range of dive sites that cater to all levels.

Discovering Rich Marine Biodiversity

The underwater world around the Surin Islands is teeming with life. Here, divers can explore thriving coral gardens inhabited by hundreds of species of fish. It’s not uncommon to encounter large pelagic fish such as manta rays and whale sharks during your dives—a truly awe-inspiring experience! For macro enthusiasts, there’s also plenty to discover among the corals and sandy bottoms where nudibranchs and other small critters make their home.

Dive Sites Not To Miss

  • Richelieu Rock: Often hailed as one of Thailand’s best dive sites, this submerged pinnacle attracts a wide array of marine life including barracudas, trevallies, and sometimes even whale sharks.
  • Turtle Ledge: As its name suggests, this site is famous for sightings of sea turtles alongside colorful reef fish and impressive coral formations.
  • Koh Chi: Ideal for beginners due to its shallow depths yet still offers exciting encounters with octopuses and cuttlefish amidst beautiful soft corals.

The Magical Island of Phuket and Surroundings

Scuba diving in Thailand

Phuket stands out as a jewel among dive destinations with its clear blue waters and diverse marine ecosystems. T

he Andaman Sea houses breathtaking sites ranging from shallow coral gardens perfect for novices, to deep wrecks and wall dives challenging even the most seasoned divers. Here are just a few reasons why scuba diving in Phuket should be on every diver’s bucket list:

  • Incredible Biodiversity: Encounter everything from majestic manta rays to tiny nudibranchs, showcasing nature’s variety under the sea.
  • All-Year-Round Diving: Thanks to its tropical climate, Phuket provides excellent diving conditions throughout most of the year.
  • Variety of Dive Sites: With over 30 dive sites accessible by day trips and liveaboards, there’s always something new to explore.

Dive Sites Not To Miss In Phuket

The true beauty of diving in Phuket lies beneath its waves at iconic dive sites that draw enthusiasts from around the globe. Some must-visit locations include:

  1. King Cruiser, a car ferry shipwreck that that sits gracefully on the sea bed at 30m.
  2. Anemone Reef, known as ‘the living reef’ due to its dense coverage of sea anemones teeming with clownfish, and other colorful inhabitants.
  3. Koh Dok Mai, offering dramatic wall dives along with caves and crevices, home to macro critters ideal for photographers.

Dive into this mesmerizing underwater realm where each plunge promises unique encounters and unforgettable memories. As you plan your trip, remember that responsible diving practices ensure these wonders remain pristine for generations to come. Join us on an aquatic journey through one of Earth’s last frontiers – Scuba Diving in Thailand awaits!

The Most Famous of Diving Islands – Koh Tao

Koh Tao Scuba - LongtailKoh Tao, the most renowned island for scuba diving, and is a premier destination for scuba divers around the globe. Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, this island is not just a paradise for beach lovers but a haven for underwater adventurers seeking to explore some of the most breathtaking dive sites in Southeast Asia.

The Allure of Koh Tao’s Underwater World

Koh Tao offers an exceptional diving experience with its crystal-clear waters, abundant coral reefs, and diverse marine life. From novice snorkelers to experienced divers, everyone finds something captivating beneath its waves. The island’s warm tropical waters are home to colorful fish species, majestic sea turtles, and intricate coral formations that create a mesmerizing underwater landscape.

Dive sites like Chumphon Pinnacle captivate with their large schools of barracuda and occasional sightings of whale sharks – the gentle giants of the sea. Meanwhile, Shark Island provides an adrenaline rush with potential encounters with blacktip reef sharks amidst stunning coral gardens.

Becoming Part Of The Underwater Realm: Dive Courses And Certifications

Koh Tao is renowned as one of the most affordable places in the world to get certified as a diver. Numerous dive centers on the island offer courses ranging from beginner levels such as Open Water Diver certifications, all the way up to professional-level courses like Divemaster or Instructor Development Courses (IDC). These centers adhere strictly to safety standards while ensuring that learning is fun and engaging.

If you’re looking into getting your certification, or furthering your diving education during your holiday, look no further than PADI. Their affiliated centers on Koh Tao provide comprehensive training using modern equipment, under expert guidance.

Eco-Conscious Diving: Preserving Paradise For Future Generations

In response to growing environmental concerns surrounding ocean health, Koh Tao has become proactive about preserving its aquatic environment.

Dive operators across the island participate actively in conservation efforts including regular clean-up dives, coral restoration projects, and educational programs aimed at raising awareness among divers about sustainable practices.

By choosing eco-friendly dive operators, you contribute directly towards these vital conservation efforts ensuring that the beauty of Koh Tao remains unspoiled for future generations. For those passionate about making a difference even while enjoying their holidays, details on participating can be found through local conservation initiatives like Eco KohTao”.

Diving Koh Chang

The enchanting waters of Koh Chang; a hidden gem nestled in the Gulf of Thailand. Known for its vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs, diving here offers an unforgettable experience for both novice and experienced divers alike.

Let’s dive into what makes Koh Chang a must-visit destination for your next scuba diving holiday.

The Marine Life of Koh Chang

Koh Chang is home to an incredible variety of marine life. As you glide through its clear blue waters, expect to encounter schools of colorful fish, majestic sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you may even get a visit from the gentle whale shark.

The island’s underwater world is teeming with life; each dive site around Koh Chang offers a unique ecosystem waiting to be explored.

Dive Sites Not To Miss

  • HTMS Chang Wreck: A former US Navy ship (formerly the USS Lincoln Country) that was sunk intentionally off the coast to create an artificial reef. It’s now one of Thailand’s largest wreck sites and provides shelter for numerous species.
  • T11 Shipwreck: Another fascinating wreck dive suitable for more advanced divers due to its depth but offering rich marine biodiversity around the sunken vessel.

scuba diving thailand - silhouette

Koh Lanta

The enchanting underwater world of Koh Lanta; a gem within Thailand’s scuba diving scene.

Nestled on the Andaman Sea, this island offers divers an extraordinary experience with its vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and crystal-clear waters.

Furthermore, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, Koh Lanta has something for everyone.

Discovering the Marine Life of Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta’s underwater action is something to be marveled at. From majestic manta rays gliding through Hin Daeng, to Kled Kaew Wreck, home to schools of barracudas and batfish that have made this sunken ship their habitat.

Dive Sites Not to Miss

  • Hin Muang: Renowned for its vertical wall dives and as a hotspot for pelagic fish sightings.
  • Ko Haa: A group of five islands offering spectacular caverns and swim-throughs amidst soft corals.
  • Hin Daeng: Offers encounters with large marine creatures like whale sharks and manta rays in season.

Tips for First-Time Visitors

  1. Pick Your Season: The best time to dive in Koh Lanta is from November through April when visibility peaks at 30 meters plus. Also, the Koh Lanta National Park is closed from July to mid October.
  2. Rent Quality Gear: To ensure comfort during your dives rent gear from reputable shops.
  3. Eco-Friendly Practices: Maintain respect towards oceanic inhabitants by following eco-friendly diving practices – avoid touching or stepping on corals.

Dive into the heart of Thailand’s aquatic paradise—where each dip beneath waves reveals wonders beyond imagination!

Scuba diving in Thailand – Dive Certification

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for scuba diving in the world, especially for those new to diving. It is a truly great place to learn, as the conditions are generally less challenging that other parts of the world, the water is warm, and Thailand is relatively cheap.

The coasts and islands of Thailand offer stunning scenery and an amazing array of marine life. On top of that, there are many dive operators offering certification courses.

If you are traveling to Thailand for your diving vacation, it’s important that you understand what certifications are required.

Read on for some tips on getting certified in Thailand!…

The best all-round diving certifications for recreational diving are the advanced open water level, as well as Nitrox certification. Although not entry level certifications, they will give you the best access to everything ‘recreational diving’.

For those just starting out, The Open Water certification is the first rung of the diving ladder. There will usually be some home study, and a written test, followed by some pool practice sessions. You will learn how to use your equipment safely under supervision before moving on to real underwater experiences!

The Advanced Open Water Diver course is available with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) while SSI (Scuba Schools International) also offers similar. Both offer excellent training with good equipment and facilities at their dive centers around the world, including here in Thailand!

If you are new to diving, this article you may wish to read – Scuba Diving in Phuket for Beginners | Where Do I Start?


Hopefully this article has inspired you to go scuba diving in Thailand. It is an amazing adventure that you don’t want to miss out on. So, what are you waiting for? Book your next scuba diving holiday in Thailand now!

Sam Roi


Avid Scuba Diver involved in the Dive Travel industry since 2018.

Conspiracy Theorist (alleged)

Nerd (confirmed)

Favourite Critter – Bumphead Parrotfish (so dorky with human smiles!)

Best dive site so far – Melissa’s Garden, Raja Ampat

Favourite dive (experience)  – Richelieu Rock, Thailand