Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Southeast Asia and many guests of the country become first-time divers during their holidays here. This is easily explained by the fact that most tourists prefer to have a vacation on the country’s many islands and diving is common almost everywhere. Whilst the diving season in, say, the Andaman Sea typically ranges from November to May, in the Gulf of Thailand folks can dive all year round. The water temperature depends on the location, depth and time of year but it ranges from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius. Visibility depends on the weather and, in the winter’s drier months, it can range up to thirty meters or more.
Phuket Island is the most popular place among divers. Diving here is carried out with a boat. If you plan to dive here, we recommend that you pre-apply to the dive centers and book a place as there are many people fighting to dive here and all boats are crammed up to the eyeballs. So remarkable is the diving in Phuket that, as a rule, there are three daily dives. The distances between dive sites near the island are small and transit is such a simple matter that, within three days you can see all the major attractions in the area. Daily excursions from Phuket will give you the opportunity to dive in the waters of the archipelago of Phi Phi where, along the backdrop the beautiful corals are found stingrays, turtles, moray eels, crabs, shrimp and squid. At the dive sites ‘Sharks’ Point’ and ‘Anemone reef,’ in addition to the above-mentioned living creatures, there’s a high probability of seeing reef sharks, sea bass fish and a catfish. For fans of wrecks an absolute must is asking to dive at the Kings Cruiser ferry which, after years of being under water, has become home to many underwater inhabitants.
After a few days diving in the waters around Phuket, it would be perfect to continue the journey and go by speedboat to a safari ship plying in the Similan Islands. This archipelago of eleven islands possesses an incredible beauty and was declared a national park. It is one of the best places for diving, not only in Thailand, but also worldwide. In the period from January to April, there’s a great likelihood of coming upon manta rays and whale sharks. In the eastern part of the archipelago, you will appreciate the amazing beauty of the coral gardens and varieties of tropical fish. In the west, where the terrain is dotted with crevices, caves and huge boulders and the current runs strong, white tip reef sharks, schools of large tuna and barracuda abound. In addition, it is here that one can experience some absolutely stunning night diving. The sea is literally transformed and dutifully produces large moray eels, stingrays and, on one dive, you’re likely to see several octopuses.
The Surin Islands are nice for those who want to dive completely beside the pristine reefs that extend from the surface to the bottom. Resident there are lionfish, scorpion fish, angel fish, seahorses, pipefish, barracudas, moray eels and even whale sharks. Remarkably (excluding your group), in these waters, you are unlikely to meet other divers. Sometimes we all want a little solitude.
Of course, diving is also a possibility at the capital of budget Thai beach holidays, Pattaya. Visibility is somewhat worse than in the other locations described above, but it is possible to dive at some rather interesting wrecks. These are the tanker "Vertical" and ship "Hard Deep." It’s also notable that here there are many more coral fish.
The Gulf of Thailand's most popular spot for diving is considered to be Koh Tao, which means "Turtle Island." Pink anemone, parrot fish, spotted eagle rays, leopard and reef sharks, barracudas, wrasses and butterfly fish are all present here. All this wealth of an underwater world is waiting for you at dive sites just a few kilometers from Koh Tao, a truly heavenly place, devoid of any touristic bustle.
Koh Samui is, of course, of great interest for a beach holiday and for lovers of nightlife, but it is also worth it to dive here too. Colonies of anemones and a variety of reef fish will add to the pleasure of diving in these places. One of the most notable dive sites offered on the island is Sail Rock. This huge rock begins at a depth of 40 meters and rises above the surface of the sea. There is a chance to meet a pack of bull sharks and there are also high chances of seeing a whale shark. There are other dive sites that you will be invited to visit on Samui island, where you can see the white-eyed moray eels, trigger, sea turtles, spotted rays and many more.