At the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand, the "Land of a Thousand Smiles," is a country proud of its unique culture and famous worldwide for its cuisine. You’ll find palm fringed white sand beaches, colourful coral reefs and many exhilarating cultural attractions in some of Southeast Asia’s liveliest cities. With the Gulf of Thailand on the east and the Andaman Sea on the west, diving opportunities include fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. In the evenings, you’ll find entertainment varies from phenomenal dining and chilled out sundowners to night clubbing and lively full moon parties.
Dive sites are a rainbow of colours and teeming with marine life. For “big fish” aficionados, whale sharks, manta rays, leopard sharks and other pelagics are a major draw whilst macro-life such as seahorse, frogfish, ghost pipefish and an array of nudibranch and crustaceans can all be seen amongst the reefs.
Busy, bustling and certainly colourful; Bangkok is Thailand’s vibrant capital city. Escaping the city to explore the underwater world is easy with day-trips to Pattaya or longer trips to other destinations around Thailand easy to organise. What better way to chill out and relax than by enjoying colourful reefs and great wreck diving?
Diving around Khao Lak will encompass hopping on a liveaboard; one of the best ways to dive! The Similan Islands offer kaleidoscopic colours, Richelieu Rock and Koh Bon are hotspots for whale sharks and manta rays and if you prefer smaller critters then you’ll love the Boonsung Wreck. On the surface, Khao Lak is a stunning, picturesque island with white sand, palm fringed beaches, lush tropical rainforest and breath-taking natural beauty.
A typical Thai tropical island with white sand beaches and a laid back approach to life, Koh Chang (Elephant Island) is a great place to unwind. With good wreck diving on the HTMS Chang and rock pinnacles such as Hin Luk Bat and Koh Rang nearby you can be assured of some amazing diving and interesting marine life.
A popular diving holiday destination for good reason. Koh Lanta’s dive sites are some of the most famous in Thailand with non-stop action featuring whale sharks, manta rays, leopard sharks, an incredible wreck, countless critters and a plethora of reef fish. On land the island has a relaxed and laid back vibe. If you want to combine action packed dives with slow and relaxing afternoons then Koh Lanta is an ideal destination.
Close to the Malaysian border and home to unique marine life species, Koh Lipe is a marine life heaven. Highlights include 3 turtle species, dugongs, dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks, devil rays and both minke and sperm whales. The Tarutao National Park encompasses 30 tropical islands and innumerable possible dive sites which include rock pinnacles, sloping reefs and drop offs. Macro life here is equally rich and when you are not diving, the island offers fantastic beaches, friendly locals and a fusion of cultures.
One of Thailand’s livelier diving destinations with dive sites in the area renowned for whale shark sightings and some of Thailand’s most iconic pinnacles. Sail Rock (Hin Bai) is one of Thailand’s most highly regarded dive sites with whale sharks and stunning underwater topography. For colourful reefs and some of the healthiest corals in the area try the Angthong Marine Park which encompasses 42 limestone islands and an incredible array of marine bio-diversity. You’ll also find night life options ranging from quiet, sunset cocktails and dining through to full moon parties and dancing until dawn.
Koh Phi Phi
Surrounded by national Marine Park it is clear why the producers of the movie “The Beach” decided on Koh Phi Phi as their island of choice. Surrounded by rugged pinnacles, secluded bays, aquamarine water and sublime beaches, Koh Pho Phi is a natural beauty. Somewhat busier now than depicted in the movie, Koh Phi Phi is a popular destination due to its picturesque reefs, healthy coral gardens and exotic marine life. You’ll find everything from lazing leopard sharks to passing whale sharks and when you’re not looking at the larger inhabitants you’ll notice the schools of jewel like damsels flitting around the reef. Koh Phi Phi promises top class diving and is well worth the visit.
At the foot of Koh Samui’s mountainous tropical rainforests lay some of Thailand’s most photographed beaches. Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand and it offers something for everyone, from backpackers to billionaires it’s possible to find your place here. Underwater is equally varied and no less impressive with colourful reefs, caverns and swim throughs. Pinnacles such as Sail Rock attract passing pelagics and Shark Island which, as the name suggests, is a great shark sighting spot but also home to a diverse range of reef fish and macrolife.
With varied underwater scenery boasting everything from rock pinnacles and healthy reefs to great shipwrecks, Koh Tao is a firm favourite of many divers. Of course, it helps that it’s possible to see leopard sharks and whale sharks on top of the usual array of reef fish you would expect from the Chumphon Archipelago. Above surface, Koh Tao has rugged cliffs, beautiful white sand beaches and sunsets which will impress even the most discerning of travellers.
From minute macro-life to passing pelagics, Krabi offers a diverse range of marine life together with an abundance of healthy, vibrant coral reefs. Bida Nok is well known for its sea snake and turtle populations and the Ao Nang Local Islands offer diverse dive sites with caverns, slopes, walls and swim throughs. On shore, Krabi and its numerous nearby islands are characterised by stunning vistas and a laid back yet adventurous vibe.
Having come a long way from its small fishing village roots, Pattaya is now a vibrant resort city and a great destination for those who enjoy more developed destinations with a passion for wreck diving. You’ll find great night life and all the amenities you can think of on land. Underwater you’ll be equally well provided for with the HTMS Khram, HTMS Kood and Hardeep wrecks.
As one of Thailand’s first resort destinations, Phuket is a great destination for relaxing and enjoying great resorts and beaches in comfort. Phuket has excellent nightlife which can be as lively or as tranquil as you want it to be – there really is something for everyone. Nearby dive sites and marine parks offer varied topographies and marine life ranging from bamboo sharks at Shark Point, incredible biodiversity at Koh Dok Mai and a kaleidoscope of colours at the appropriately named Anemone Reef.
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Visibility – Visibility is generally good throughout the country and averages around 30 metres/100 feet.
Water Temperature – A pleasant 28-30° C/82-86° F year-round.
Weather – Its tropical location ensures that Thailand has a hot and humid climate year-round. The country is warm and wet during the May to September monsoon, then dries out from November to mid-March. Air temperatures range from 30–35°C/85-95°F. The diving is typically good all year, but the Gulf of Thailand is at its peak from May through September while the best diving is from October through April in the Andaman Sea.
Featured Creatures – Typical Indo-Pacific reef fish and critters are well represented and there's a good chance you will see morays, puffers, triggers and Moorish idols, as well as mantas, leopard sharks and possibly whale sharks.
Recommended Training – Thailand is a great destination to learn to dive with the PADI Open Water Divercourse. If you are already PADI certified, look to take the PADI Enriched Air, PADI Deep Diver and PADI Drift Diver courses so you’re prepared for diving the many pinnacles and walls across this destination. The PADI Wreck Diver course is a natural if you plan to dive any of Thailand’s amazing wrecks. Thailand is also an excellent location to become a PADI Pro by taking the PADI Divemaster course or the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.
Language – Thai. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Currency – Thai Baht. Credit cards are accepted in most areas.
Major Airports – Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok and Phuket International Airport are the two main international airports
Electricity – 22O volts, 50Hz. Internet is common in cities and resort areas.
Topside Attractions – You are spoiled for choice for topside attractions in Thailand. Popular choices include pampering yourself with a traditional massage, visiting cultural centers or marveling at the many temples across the country. The cuisine and restaurants throughout Thailand are also a highlight of any trip.