It’s Diving Time!
Explore Thailand’s Underwater Treasures

When you arrive in Bangkok, you might find it hard to imagine that only a few hours’ drive from the capital’s urban environment, lies a world of a different kind: natural, wild, fresh. A world of adventure and exiting activities, that can make your heart race and your mind rejoice. Thailand’s underwater world is a treasure of its own kind. It boasts some of the planet’s best diving sites. The waters are warm and friendly, the dive centers professional and the prices affordable.

diving in Thailand Koh Tao

The first diving shop in Thailand opened in Pattaya in 1977, and since then diving has become the most popular water sport in this region. But the aquatic fin comes at a price. The occasional crowdedness can take some of diving’s allure away, and cause damage to the environment. Preserving Thai marine life and the coral reef is a challenge and there have been growing concerns regarding the influence tourism has on Thai waters. However, it is possible to dive in a more sustainable way and with a little bit of planning, you can avoid the crowds as well.

Thailand offers diving opportunities all year around. As a general rule it is best to dive on the Andaman Coast side between November and April, and in the Gulf of Thailand between April and November. In this way you have the best chances of encountering fine weather conditions and good visibility during your dive. The waters are welcoming to divers of different levels, from beginners to professionals. You can expect to see an abundance of marine life, including sharks and turtles, soft and hard corals, caves and tunnels, deep drops and even the odd ship wreck. Different sites are famous for different features and animals, so if you have specific desires about underwater sights, do some planning before you chose your diving spot.

Dive centers and shops are abundant, especially around the islands. They usually offer different options ranging from a single dive just to get the experience of diving, to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Open Water or more advanced courses. PADI certificates are recognized worldwide. If you are very keen, or are thinking about a career change, you can even do a course to become a SCUBA diving instructor (Dive Master) or assistant instructor. On the other hand, if you are a bit water-shy, most places will offer a shallow water dive or a dive from the beach, to ease you into the underwater experience. These guys are running a business, so they will try hard to accommodate your wishes. Courses are usually offered in English, and sometimes additional languages, depending on the nationality of the Dive Masters.

The prices reflect your choice of dive site, and how extensive you want the diving to be. If you are just after a one-day introduction to diving, you can expect to pay around 3000 baht. For a 4-day PADI Open Water course, the prices range from 10,000 to 15,000 baht.
And which are the best places to dive in Thailand?

The most often-mentioned diving destination in the Gulf of Thiland is Koh Tao (Turtle Island). If you dive from nearby Koh Phagnan, they will usually take you Koh Tao direction anyway. On the Andaman Coast, the most famous spots are the Krabi province (Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta), sites around Phuket, and areas around Khao Lak, especially the Similan Islands.

Diving in Thailand

In case you can’t see yourself jumping off a boat in full diving gear and sinking into the depths of the oceans, worry not. Snorkeling can reveal a lot of the underwater treasures too, and most diving schools will be happy to take you along on one of their boats. If you get more confident, you can always don the SCUBA kit next time.