Are you based in Thailand and haven’t learnt to dive yet or haven’t been diving since the COVID-19 pandemic began? There is no better time than right now to get certified to dive or go on some fun diving trips!
Prior to COVID-19, Thailand’s incredible dive sites and amazing marine life attracted divers from around the world. Since COVID-19 the number of people traveling has decreased dramatically which means that Thailand’s dive sites are now quieter than ever. If you want to enjoy having a dive site to yourself or you want to get certified to dive, now is the time!
Because of a lull in customers, many dive centres are now also offering phenomenal discounts and special offers on packages.
Where to Dive in Thailand?
Accessible by Liveaboard, Khao Lak is the perfect place to relax and enjoy breath taking natural surroundings on land and underwater. Khao Lak is home to some of Thailand’s most iconic dive sites including the Boonsung Wreck, the Similan Islands, Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, and Koh Tachai Pinnacle. Warm clear waters and dive sites deeper than 18 meters (59 feet) make Khao Lak suitable for Advanced Open Water Divers and above.
Be prepared for an overload of marine life which includes everything from macro critters through to gigantic whale sharks. But keep in mind that destinations in the Similan Islands are only available from October to May. The marine park is closed for the rest of the year.
Koh Lanta’s crystal clear waters, mangroves, white sand beaches and lush rainforests make it a popular holiday destination. Underwater is equally spectacular with whale shark and manta ray sightings, vibrant reefs, abundant marine life and easy access to some of the region’s most famous dive sites. Koh Lanta has a relaxed vibe and you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options for all budgets.
Some of the most impressive dive sites to explore in Koh Lanta include Koh Ha, Bida Nok, Hin Dang, Hin Muang and Koh Rok.
Koh Tao forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago on the western shore of the gulf of Thailand. This idyllic island is a tropical paradise with white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, rugged cliffs and stunning sunsets. Koh Tao’s underwater scenery is just as spectacular with coral encrusted rock pinnacles, vibrant reefs and some great shipwrecks. Koh Tao offers the opportunity to see passing pelagics including whale sharks, leopard sharks and manta rays. Dive sites not to miss out on include Chumphon Pinnacle, South-West Pinnacle, HTMS Sattakut Wreck, White Rock and Shark Island.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi shot to fame in 2000 when it featured in the Leonardo Dicaprio movie, The Beach. It is a great place to relax, unwind and dive! When you are not underwater, explore white sand beaches, beautiful coves, stunning sunsets and enjoy the chilled out island vibes. The island is surrounded by a national marine park and dive sites are teeming with fish and bursting with colours. Vibrant soft corals and gorgonian fans are a highlight here combined with vibrant shallow coral gardens to explore during your safety stop.
The most famous of Koh Phi Phi’s dive sites include Bida Nai/Bida Nok, Hin Daeng, Hin Dot, Malong Bay and the HTMS Kied Gaeow Wreck.
Located to the south of Koh Phangan on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest Island. Koh Samui is best known for its palm-fringed white sand beaches and impressive mountainous rainforests. Diving from Koh Samui opens up a range of dive sites including Sail Rock, the Angthong Marine Park, Chumphon Pinnacle, South-West Pinnacle and Shark Island.
Most of Samui’s dive sites are characterised by rugged rocky seamounts and pinnacles. The coral reefs here are colourful and packed with a diverse range of marine life which ranges from mighty whale sharks and majestic manta rays to exquisite nudibranch and macro-critters.
Phuket is one of Thailand’s most well established tourist destinations and it has a great choice of dive sites nearby, including Shark Point, which has been protected as a marine sanctuary since 1992. Other impressive sites include Racha Noi, Koh Dok Mai, King Cruiser Wreck, South Tip, Anemone Reef and Bida Nok.
No matter which sites you choose to dive you’ll find rock pinnacles, multi-coloured reefs, drifts and an abundance of marine life from critters through to schooling fish and passing pelagics.
Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth biggest island and located in the Gulf of Thailand just 12km (7.46 miles) north of Koh Samui and south of Koh Tao. Koh Phangan is an iconic Thai diving destination which is best known for its whale shark sightings. Koh Phangan also has access to some of the best dive sites in the region including Sail Rock (best dive site for whale sharks), Angthong Marine Park, Koh Ma, Mae Haad and South-West Pinnacle.
When diving around Koh Phangan you’ll find yourself immersed in colours and surrounded by marine life. When you are not underwater, Koh Phangan has numerous stunning white sand beaches, incredible sunsets and there’s no shortage of restaurants, bars and night clubs. Koh Phangan is somewhere you can choose to relax and unwind or party until the sun comes up!
Bangkok and Pattaya
If you are based in Bangkok and don’t have the time to take a trip that involves flying, then Pattaya might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Most PADI dive shops offer a door to door service with pick-ups and drop-offs so you have little to do other than enjoy great (and nearby) wreck diving and picturesque reefs.
Some of the best wreck dives include the HTMS Khram, HTMS Khood and the Hardeep Wreck. Pattaya’s best reef dives are Koh Chuang and Shark Point, between these two sites you’ll see a wide range of marine life including tawny nurse and bamboo sharks, sting rays, moray eels, cuttlefish, hawksbill turtles, barracuda and groupers.
Have you decided which region you want to visit? If you are new to scuba diving this really is a great time to take your PADI Open Water Diver certification. You can start by signing up for PADI eLearning at home and then you can get ready to start exploring Thailand underwater!