Deep Diving in Thailand
Four years ago, 18 years of age and relatively unaware of the scuba diving industry, I was walking through a busy street on Phi Phi Island looking for cheap t-shirts, singlets and sunglasses. Looking back on my adventure it is clear that diving is absolutely everywhere in Thailand, diving opportunities are in abundance, and those amazingly cheap sunglasses never did have the best life expectancy.
For those who can’t sleep unless they go deep, diving throughout Thailand will be an enjoyable experience as there are Deep Dive sites on the Western, Eastern and Southern sides.
So what is available in Deep Diving in Thailand?
One of Thailand’s Diving Hot Spots is Koh Tao, on the South Eastern side of the country. For the recreational diver, deep sites can be reached with a 30min boat ride from the island with three popular sites being; Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacle and Sailrock. These sites feature beautiful coral pinnacles hosting an abundance of aquatic life, dropping down to sloping sandy bottoms which start at 30m and can extend out to 40m. PADI Deep Divers interested in wreck diving can experience The HTMS Sattakut which was sunk West of Koh Tao only 13 days ago!
For TecRec Divers there are also opportunities to find depth with DSAT Tec Deep and Trimix programs.
These can include:
HTMS Pangan: 48m – 60m deep
6 hours North East of Koh Tao, this Thai Navy Vessel was carrying ammunition to be dumped at sea when it went down after apparently having a load shift in the main cargo holds, although fire damage on the main deck brings uncertainty to the details of its demise. Deep Divers will find plenty of marine life along with some live ammunition which still litter the main hold.
Tottori Maru: 65m+ deep
Sunken by an American Submarine in 1945, The Tottori Maru located East of Koh Tao was a WW2 POW ship. The ship was loaded with about 2000 POW’s; about 500 men in the front hold and about 1500 men in the aft holds.
The Unicorn Wreck: 50m deep
Also known as Hishi-Daiya Maru, this challenging wreck is located about 30mins North of Koh Tao and has been underwater for approximately 20 years. This refrigerated cargo ship suddenly sank while carrying sardines, despite an insurance claim noting it was carrying tuna, a much more valuable cargo.
The Seacrest: 74m deep
An incredible experience for most divers, this ship was reported lost during Typhoon Gay in 1989 and is now sunk upside down 10hours East of Koh Tao, only accessible by a technical diving live aboard.
Khao Sok’s National Park Lost Village: 35m – 70m deep
27 years ago this Southern Thailand valley was damned, creating a manmade lake 126sq km. In the middle of the lake is a temple, 5 schools, 500 houses with the majority of these structures still left to be discovered. The priorities for this Deep Dive site are Cavern and Cave training programs that accomplished technical divers can move on to.
Sra Kaew: 67m – 240m deep!
Located near Ao Nang, Krabi, the Sra Keaw is the deepest cave in Asia. This cave has some of the world’s most aggressive routes including a traverse to a nearby pond joining up at 67m.
Why should Divers & Non Divers consider Deep Diving in Thailand?
Firstly, have a look at the Vacation Spotlight for Thailand. This should help you make up your mind about visiting Thailand to begin with. For Deep Diving, Thailand and in particular Koh Tao is virtually untouched as Koh Toa has, in the past, had a reputation for shallow only training diving. Divers in Thailand can experience just about everything there is to do with diving, ranging from deep diving sites, wrecks, caves, reefs and corals, to the amazing marine life where you can see a variety of species of sharks, rays, eels and fish.
Companies such as Ban’s Technical Diving are now running incredibly reputable and above standard courses to access depth to try and build on the relatively small Deep/Tec community that currently exists.
I’m interested. What do I need to do?
If you are currently a non diver then you will need to contact a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre to get things going! Try starting with a PADI Open Water Diver course. If you’re an existing diver and you’ve already got your goggles on raring to go, you need to enrol in a Deep Diver or Nitrox specialty course at a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre. After only 30 dives and your specialty training you can enrol in your Tec 40 diver program. This training is the bridging course between recreational and technical diving which will teach you how to handle decompression and any foreseeable emergencies through thorough dive planning and execution.
Do you know other Deep Diving locations and experiences in Thailand? Have you dived in any of the mentioned sites? Leave a comment and share your knowledge and experience!