Top Diving Sites in Thailand
Thailand is considered to be one of the top ten scuba diving countries in the world. The kingdom boasts crystal clear waters, spectacular reefs and rock formations, plus a colorful selection of marine life. There can be few countries other than Thailand that offer so much scuba vacation variety, both underwater and on land. Whether you are a complete novice or a qualified diver Andaman Adventures offer scuba diving holidays and courses throughout Thailand to suit your ability.
With over 2,000km of coastline and hundreds of offshore islands, the variety is phenomenal, encompassing everything from extensive fringing reefs to deep drop-offs and wrecks, dramatic granite walls, caves and tunnels, coral-covered pinnacles, and open ocean seamounts. Spectacular hard and soft corals abound, and the marine life is prolific, ranging from minute and colourful reef dwellers to manta rays, sharks and pelagic visitors such as giant barracuda, tuna, trevally and the mighty whale shark. With the Andaman Sea to the west and the Gulf of Thailand to the east, Thailand is unique in that it borders two distinct oceanic zones, each with their own peculiarities and marine life.
The best time to visit Thailand is from October to April. Heavy rainfall hits the Andaman coast in May and continues until September. From May to September, therefore, the Gulf of Thailand to the east may be a better option. The best diving on that side is around Koh Tao. Thailand has very clear waters and an average sea temperature of 28oC.
One of the most famous dive sites of Thailand. Richelieu Rock is an isolated pinnacle to the east of Surin Islands. Forming a horseshoe figure, the pinnacle falls steeply to the surrounding sand bottom at 35 metres depth. The south side is a bay with a slope that gently falls to the deep, while the rest comprises sheer walls, groups of rocks and numerous small caves that are home to various marine life. The majority of corals are colourful soft corals jostling against the wall, accompanied by huge sea fans, hard corals and sea anemones.
Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin National Marine Park, yet located about 18 kilometers east of the islands themselves. Richelieu Rock is just barely exposed at the lowest of tides-thus a navigational hazard for those boats not equipped with a GPS navigation system. Situated 200 kilometers Northwest of Phuket and 70 km from Khao Lak – the rock is closer to the Burmese (Myanmar) border than Phuket.
The Similan Islands are famous as one of the10 best scuba diving destinations in the world. Whale sharks, manta rays, reef sharks, leopard sharks, barracuda, octopus, cuttlefish, lionfish, clownfish – you name it, you’ll probably find it here. The sheer abundance of life out around these remote, uninhabited islands is breathtaking, as is the visibility – 20-35 meters visibility is the norm. Virtually all visitors should go beyond the Similan Islands proper and take in Koh Bon, a cleaning station for mantas, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock, a hot spot for whale sharks.. The remoteness of the islands means that most liveaboards typically last 3 or 4 days. It is worth spending time on the Islands themselves too. Overnight Trips are the best way to enjoy your night and still dive. The Similan Islands are located about 50 Kilometers West of Khao Lak in the Andaman Sea.
The most popular place to learn to dive in all of Asia Pacific, after Cairns in Australia, Koh Tao has some good beginner dive sites and some great apres-dive action. If you want to dive and party, then this is the place to come. Many times it appears that it’s actually a place to party and dive. The short travel times from the shore to the dive sites – typically half an hour or less – make diving extremely convenient. While the diving is not as spectacular as the Similans, (no manta rays here, very little living coral, almost no turtles), there are occasionaly encounters with sharks to be had at Chumphon Pinnacle and also, if you’re very lucky, whale sharks too. Because Koh Tao is in the Gulf Of Thailand, it’s possible to dive all year round. The weather gets crappy around October/November.
One of the last world class pinnacles left in the Andaman sea. 8 mile rock is a submerged pinnacle roughly 8 miles due south of Koh Lipe. Noted for the large pelagics that cruise past, devil, manta and eagle rays are common, along with leopard shark, giant barracuda and groupers. Sighting for whale sharks have actually been up over the whole of the Lipe group of islands, with most sightings coming at 8 mile rock.
Hin Daeng in South Andaman Sea
Some 40 nautical miles South of the Phi Phi Islands lies one of the better dive sites in Thailand. Just breaking the surface, Hin Daeng is a large dive site with depths down to well below normal recreational limits. The Southwest side drops to over 60m, creating a steep wall of soft corals – leopard sharks can be seen in this area, and keep an eye out for that rare Manta. The East side has soft coral growth and two ridges that slope gently into deeper water. Pelagic fish such as jacks hang out close to the rock. In shallower areas moray eels are commonly found hiding in cracks in the rock face. Hin Daeng is also good for critters such as nudibranchs, cowrie shells and various species of shrimps.
Hin Muang in South Andaman Sea
Hin Muang – a long rocky ridge just a few hundred meters from Hin Daeng with it’s top at a depth of 8-9m and it’s bottom at 60-70m. It is actually connected to Hin Daeng, but the depth prohibits a dive between the two. Currents can sweep quite strongly over the ridge, but you can stay on the sheltered side. Some of the surface of Hin Muang is covered in purple soft corals and anemones and swarms of tiny silversides are prey for predators such as jacks and trevallies. Leopard sharks are occasionally seen here. Hin Muang is a nice sight with it’s colorful corals and steep walls.
Koh Ha in Andaman Sea
Koh Ha lies between Phi Phi and Hin Daeng, close to Koh Lanta. There are 5 small islands (Ha is Thai for five) with several dive possibilities. The best is on Koh Ha Yai where you find two large caverns with their entrance at 10-14m depth. A dive is best started on the reef to the West of the caverns, where there are some nice coral heads and fields of sea whips down to a depth of 20-25m. The caverns, though are the highlight. You can surface inside and see large stalactites hanging over your head. The light coming into the caverns makes for some beautiful photographs. At the back of the East cavern is a small hole leading to a tunnel some 25m long, ending in a chamber. This should only be attempted by divers with appropriate training and equipment.
Next Page >> Top Beaches in Thailand
- Amazing Thailand
- Thailand Top Destinations
- Thailand Regions
- Thailand Activities
- Thailand’s Top-Rated