Are you planning your next diving holiday? Are the warm waters and tropical reefs of South East Asia calling to you? If so, Thailand should definitely be on your scuba diving radar!
Current COVID-19 Regulations for Entering Thailand
Travelers are now able to enter Thailand without quarantine under the Test and Go system and the Phuket and Samui Sandbox Programs.
Test and Go
Fully vaccinated travelers can enter Thailand without quarantine providing that they:
- Undertake an RT PCR COVID-19 test on arrival
- Book a SHA+ Hotel for Day 1 while waiting for the result of the RT PCR COVID test
- Possess COVID-19 Insurance
- Were vaccinated at least 14 days before traveling
If you are entering under Test and Go, you will need to apply for a ‘Thailand Pass’. This must be done prior to leaving your home country.
These travelers must stay for 7 nights in a designated SHA+ Hotel in Pattaya, Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, Samui, Koh Phang Ngan, or Koh Tao before traveling to other parts of Thailand.
Alternate Quarantine Program
Any unvaccinated or ‘not fully vaccinated’ travelers must undergo the mandatory Alternative Quarantine Program. This stipulates a quarantine period of 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Pattaya, Phuket, or Samui. At the end of quarantine, travelers will be RT PCR Covid tested again prior to leaving.
Where to Stay in Thailand
Thailand is a big country with hundreds of islands to choose from. To help you decide which region is the right one for you, we’ve included 4 of our favorites below.
Phuket offers year-round diving with great visibility and water temperatures that rarely drop below 77ºF/25ºC. Dive sites that are accessible from Phuket offer everything from extensive fringing reefs to dramatic drop-offs, impressive granite walls, wrecks, caves, pinnacles, and tunnels. Some of Thailand’s most iconic dive sites are within easy reach. This includes the King Cruiser Wreck, Anemone Reef, and Shark Point.
Phuket also offers a host of impressive marine species, this includes leopard sharks, blacktip reef sharks, manta rays, tuna, hawksbill, and green sea turtles. A host of critters including seahorses, ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, and cuttlefish may also be seen in the area.
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, 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.
Located to the south of Koh Phangan (western shore of the Gulf of Thailand), Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island. Koh Samui is known for its white-sand beaches and impressive mountainous rainforests. A range of dive sites is also close by. Including Sail Rock, the Angthong Marine Park, Chumphon Pinnacle, South-West Pinnacle, and Shark Island.
Most of Samui’s dive sites are characterized by rugged rocky seamounts and pinnacles. The coral reefs here are colorful and packed with a diverse range of marine life. Ranging from mighty whale sharks and majestic manta rays to exquisite nudibranch and macro-critters.
This is Thailand’s fifth biggest island. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, just 12km north of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan is an iconic diving destination. Best known for its whale shark sightings, Koh Phangan also has access to some of the best dive sites in the region. This includes 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 colors and surrounded by marine life. When you are not underwater, Koh Phangan has numerous stunning beaches, incredible sunsets, and a ton of restaurants. Koh Phangan is somewhere you can choose to relax and unwind or party until the sun comes up!