Thailand is popular for its scuba diving, where hot, calm waters and plenty of amazing marine life result in spectacular dives. Thailand’s diving is also quite cheap when compared with diving in other places. To get the maximum from diving in Thailand, then you have to be aware of when and where to visit. Not all Thailand’s dive sites are accessible all year round, so it pays to do a bit of planning. Here is a guide that can help you.
The Similan Islands are known to be one of the best dive destinations. They are a group of uninhabited islands in the Andaman Sea, just off the western Thai shore. The Similans are often visited by live-aboard boats from Phuket and Khao Lak, where Australians eat, sleep and dive on the ship for several days. Normally the live-aboard lasts four days and nights also allows the participants to get 14 dives. Make sure to ask your operator how new their scuba equipment is as well as their staff credentials. The Similan Islands are just available to divers from October to May every year. The monsoon season arrives during June to September and makes the seas too harsh for safe diving.
There is a collection of dive sites further south in the Andaman Sea and accessible from Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. They are typically visited on day-trips from these types of destinations, but there a couple of liveaboards who visit them. Koh Lanta is a stunning Thai island which is not quite as busy or pricey as Koh Phi Phi. Hin Daeng and Koh Ha will are open from October to May only. Koh Bida and Phi Phi possess a few reefs which are available all year round if you are visiting Koh Phi Phi.
Koh Tao is a little island on the facing, eastern shore of Thailand, above Koh Phangan. Koh Tao is a four-hour ferry trip from Surat Thani on the mainland. Koh Tao is a known island for divers and relaxed escape, while widely known, Koh Tao stays quite uncrowded. If you wish to learn to dive but do not want to commit to the live-aboard, Koh Tao is a wonderful spot to learn and enjoy the party landscape also. Koh Tao’s monsoon season lasts from September to December.
The best times of the year to dive in Thailand are October to May for the Similan Islands and Koh Ha or Hin Daeng and January to September for Koh Tao. When planning for your Thailand diving trip, think of what time of year you can go and then decide if you would like to do a live-aboard excursion or day trips and go back to the hotel every day. Ask Thailand dive operators the dive excursions and packages that are offered. The dive operator can also advise you on how to get from where you are to your preferred dive destination.