Thailand has quickly become one of the most popular tourist destinations over the last several years. There are approximately more than one million people who visit the area every year.
One of the primary reasons for the huge influx of tourists relates to the area’s breathtaking beaches. There are miles upon miles of beach to explore, which means there is plenty of reefs and marine life to see underwater.
Scuba diving in Thailand means witnessing everything from coral reef to rock landscape and everything in between. Below, we highlight the top scuba diving sites in Thailand.
Scuba Diving in Thailand: The Best Five Sites
There are plenty of places you don’t want to miss when scuba diving in Thailand. However, if you are short on time, the following sites are those you really cannot afford to forego if you are visiting the area.
1. Koh Dok Mai
This is an excellent site for the adventure diver who wants an area to explore. It has a wall along with drift dives. There are plenty of crevices ripe for exploring along with a rock face made from limestone and plenty of hidden caves.
You’ll likely have the opportunity to spot an eel in this area as well. You just need to look in one of the many yellow, coral tubes.
This location is best to dive right in the middle of the day. The sun gives you great illumination. Depending on the season, the lighting might even give you a chance to see a baby shark nursing.
The limestone rock at this site has three sides, which has become home to plenty of marine life. It is possible to dive this site at night, given the unique formation of the rock.
2. Hin Daieng and Hin Muang
This site is a favorite for many seasoned divers. This location is also referred to as the red and purple rock. It is great for any diver who wants to see some interesting marine life.
The location offers excellent views of manta rays and gray sharks. It isn’t just marine life that you’ll find in this location, though. You also get to witness Thailand’s largest vertical wall, as well as plenty of caves and caverns, which can be really fun to explore if you are an adventure-taker.
The caves in this location are great feeding sites for plenty of other marine life, including different species of fish, so you’ll also get to see them up close and personal. You might even get a whale shark sighting, as the species is known for occasionally visiting the spot.
This dive site is mostly recommended for those with some good diving experience. This is primarily due to the current, which can be quite strong.
3. Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, and Richelieu Rock
One of the very best scuba diving sites in Thailand is Richelieu Rock. It’s a rock in the shape of a horseshoe located in the Andaman Sea.
It provides great viewing for marine life, including tropical fish and barracuda. You can also see some rays as well as seahorses. You’ll also find anemones, sea fans, sponges, and soft corals throughout the rock.
Koh Bon and Koh Tachai are also considered great dive spots, and they provide good viewing for mantas as well as eagle rays and reef sharks. In addition, Koh Tachai provides some really incredible channels and swim-throughs that are great for drifting. These spots altogether provide some of the best scuba diving in all of Thailand.
4. Chumphon Pinnacle
This site sits on the Gulf of Thailand in Koh Tao. This area is most popular with those taking scuba diving lessons.
The top of the pinnacle is home to the anemone, so you’ll find white moral eels, shrimps, crabs, and plenty of fish.
As you go deeper, you’ll witness plenty of other marine life, including trevallies, barracudas, and bannerfish. Depending on the season, you may also get to see a whale shark, which will sometimes make its way to the area. Some other sharks used to be found pretty often in the area, but that’s no longer the case.
5. Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are in the National Park and offer approximately 20 unique dive sites that are great for exploring. Each of them offers a large variety of different creatures to see.
Hin Pusar, more commonly known as Elephant head, is considered one of the very best sites in the area, given that there are plenty of rocks that set up a kind of maze experience for divers. There are several channels, gorges, and swim-throughs. All of them reach just about 40 meters.
There are some other sites worth visiting in the Similan Islands. Two of the more noteworthy ones are Fantasea Reef and Christmas Point.
Best Time to Dive in Thailand
You can dive in Thailand at any time of the year, given that it is in a tropical region. There are times of the year that still offer the best conditions, though. The best diving conditions would be between November and April because sharks typically visit the area in the months between February and May.
Also, the water temperature rivals that of a bathtub with temperatures between 28 and 31 degrees. So, you’ll be quite comfortable as well. When it comes to the right temperature, your scuba diving wetsuit can be a significant consideration. You will likely only need a shorty.
To be a bit more specific, if you are interested in visiting sites in the Andaman Sea, your best bet is to visit the area between October and April. The Giant Manta Rays make their way to the Similan Islands sometime in March or April.
You should expect a good amount of rain in May, so you’ll find that there are plenty of marine reserves closed during that time of the year. For that reason, during that time, it is best to dive along the Gulf instead. The Gulf offers plenty of great spots as well.
Undoubtedly, Thailand has a lot to offer to divers and those who love the waters. Just make sure you visit the sites at the right time of the year and you have the proper gear.