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Best Diving in Thailand

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Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Scuba Diving Thailand

Thailand has some great dive spots and while some of them may not be as incredible and colourful as they once were, the reasonable prices and wide availability of dive centres will always keep visitors coming back and exploring more of the best dive sites in Thailand.

If you are not a qualified scuba diver yet, then consider doing your Open Water course through SSI or SSI at a dive centre in Thailand. Koh Tao still claims to be one of the cheapest places in Thailand to get scuba certified.

Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Diving Koh Phi Phi

Known as a party island, Koh Phi Phi often surprises divers with some great underwater marine life. Koh Phi Phi is home to some of the best dive sites in Thailand around their Marine National Park.

On some of these amazing dive sites in Thailand I have been lucky enough to see a leopard shark. Turtles and black tip reef sharks are often fairly common on these top dive sites in Thailand. The coral reefs are fairly healthy for Thailand. In between Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh it always seems to be a bit choppy so I recommend taking some seasickness travel bands like these from Amazon Travel Sickness Wristbands (Black).

diving with turtles in Thailand
Diving with turtles in Thailand – best dive sites in Thailand

Getting there: Fly or take a night bus to Krabi, then approx 2 hour ferry to Koh Phi Phi. You can book joint bus and ferry tickets here. The more tickets you book the cheaper they get.

Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Diving Koh Similan  or The Similan Islands

Diving the Similan Islands is usually on the bucket list for divers in Thailand. While the Similan islands are no longer covered on coral and marine life, they still have some of the best dive sites in Thailand. Whale sharks and manta rays can be spotted around this area. Day trips here are extremely expensive (last trip I paid 6000 baht for two dives, compared with 2500 baht average in other dive spots around Thailand). Similan Liveaboards are very popular here and you can often get great deals at the end of the season (April, May) if you can be flexible. This whole area is closed during the rainy season (end of May to October) and even in October you are not guaranteed diving (my liveaboard was cancelled due to enormous waves one October). If you are considering a liveaboard around the Similan Islands then make sure it includes Richelieu Rock or Koh Bon for a chance of manta rays. Koh Similan is one of the best place to scuba dive with whale sharks in Thailand.

whale shark thailand
Best Dive sites in Thailand : Diving with a whale shark at Richelieu Rock, Thailand
Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Similan Islands Diving Richelieu Rock

Arguably the best dive site in Thailand, I was lucky enough to spot my first whale shark here and therefore it will forever by up there in my memories of great dives. The dive site has lots of pretty purple coral and is claimed to be one of the best spots for whale sharks in Thailand. North of the Similan Islands, it’s about a two hour, fairly bumpy, speed boat ride to get there. It is possible to do this via a diving day trip.

diving thailand
4 metre ‘baby’ whale shark at Richelieu Rock, the best dive site in Thailand

Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Dive Sail Rock Koh Phangan

Diving on Koh Phangan can be both great and disappointing in my experience. Sail Rock dive site has a lot of shoals of fish so if you’re looking for quantity then diving here can be impressive.  The coral is fairly pretty, although expect a lot of divers underwater around the time of the Full Moon Party.  The visibility is always worse around Full Moon and, unsurprisingly, there is no diving on the whole island for the day after the Full Moon party. 

Best dive sites in Thailand

Stay: I loved staying at Seaboard Bungalows in the North and Sail Rock Divers also had some good value, nice rooms. I always use Agoda for finding the best deals.

Don’t miss:  Bottle Beach Koh Phangan, it’s one of my favourite quiet beaches in Thailand. Read more about it and other quiet beaches here

Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Chumpon & Diving Koh Tao

Koh Tao remains one of the cheapest places to get your Open Water Certificate as a beginner scuba diver in Thailand and there are 75+ dive centres to choose from. If you just arrive on the island, use your negotiation skills to get your diving qualification and accommodation throw in together. Be prepared for it to get very busy underwater. Koh Tao is one of the best places to scuba dive with whale sharks in Thailand.

Best Dive Sites in Thailand : Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe dive sites are the best dive sites in Thailand in my humble opinion. Stonehenge is one of the most beautiful coral reef dive sites in Thailand and I thoroughly recommend a visit to Koh Lipe as it is an amazing island to stay on and dive from. Read my full Koh Lipe Guide here.

Frogfish spotting in Koh Lipe dive sites – some of the best dive sites in Thailand

 

 

For more about marine life in Thailand, read the following articles:

Into sea animals? Read about how and where to see pink dolphins in Thailand year round.

Whale watching in Bangkok

And for more island advice, check out my honest island summaries here to help you decide where to visit

For what to take on a dive boat when scuba diving and experiencing the best dive sites in Thailand read this article

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