6 Best Thailand Diving Sites All Divers Should Not Miss

Diving in Thailand is a life goal for many avid scuba divers.

The beautiful emerald water and abundant sea life are an attraction for everyone from vacation beginners to seasoned dive masters.

Most divers frequent the Andaman Sea, which is to the west.

The best time of the year to visit is from October through to April. A highlight for many is the Great Manta Rays which arrive in March.

Here are some amazing Thailand diving sites that you should absolutely not miss.

1. Hin Mouang and Hin Daeng

Hin Mouang

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Hin Mouang (Purple rock)  and Hin Daeng (Red rock), are simply some of the best diving in the world.

These two deep water rocks are mostly known for the frequent sightings of Great Manta Rays and the magnificently large whale sharks but they do offer a lot more.

The two sites showcase reef sharks, rainbow runners, barracuda, as well as scorpion fish and large schools of silver trevallies. The soft corals make a colorful background to a dive experience.

These areas are a convenient trip for holiday divers, as they lie south of Phuket within the Muh Koh Lanta marine park.

Watch out for strong currents, especially in Hin Muang which presents a greater challenge for those with more experience. Hin Muang has a large vertical covered with the well-known purple coral.

2. The Similan Islands

Similan Islands

This is a protected national park that offers some of the best diving in the world.

The best time to visit this site is between October and May. You can find a treasure of sea life among the twenty-five scattered sites, each showcasing a different side.  Anita’s Reef on island 5 offers a sandy slope with beautiful corals and colorful lionfish, Oriental sweetlips and clown triggerfish.

Visit the West of Eden site for shallow dives with spectacular coral structures. Elephant head rock, also known as Hin Pusa, is known for its boulder formations. These create tunnels and caverns that divers can swim through with depths of up to 50 meters.

Get to the Similan Islands from Khao Lak or Phuket. Liveaboard excursions are available here that will allow you to extend your trip and do a lot more exploring.

3. The Surin Islands

Surin Islands

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The best time to visit Surin is between December and April.

Beautiful hard coral reef structures can be found here. You will find fish species here that will not be found in the Similan Islands, such as Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, tomato anemonefish, yellow-masked angelfish among others. This is also an ideal location for turtle spotting.

As the location is very remote, there will not be the usual large groups of tourists in the area. An excursion here would take a bit more planning but would still make an exceptional and unique diving experience.

4. Koh Tao

Koh Tao

Koh Tao or “Turtle Island” is a popular diving site, known for having one of the largest numbers of dive certifications in the world. It is accessible by boat from both Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

It is possible to spot both whale sharks and bull sharks, both of them up close. Other sea life includes reef sharks, leopard sharks, turtles as well as barracudas.

One thing to remember is that this area of Thailand can be very crowded during high season, so be ready to share your dive with several other individuals and groups.

Koh Tao’s most famous attraction is Chumphon. It is a huge granite pinnacle that reaches about 35m under water.

You can spot whale sharks between February and April. You can also spot leopard sharks here, as well as other marine life such as anemones, clownfish, lionfish, and rabbitfish.

5. Pattaya

Pattaya

Pattaya is only a few hours from Bangkok.

It has an abundance of corals and sea life. Especially abundant are Moray eels, batfish, jacks, trevallies and of course, barracudas.

Here in Pattaya, you can also find two famous wreck dives. One is the HTMS Khram. The navy sunk it fifteen years ago to create an artificial reef. It is approximately 90 feet deep and can be penetrated.

Another wreck is the Hardeep, which is a steamship from the second world war era, also sunk at approximately 84 feet. These artificial reefs provide habitat for a diverse section of aquatic life.

The best time to visit Pattaya is between December and March.

6. Koh Chang

Koh Chang

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Koh Chang, which means ‘elephant island’, boasts warm clear waters and stellar white sandy beaches. Among the various sites available in the Koh Chang area, Koh Wai stands out as quite a major attraction for its sharks. Here you have the best chance of seeing reef sharks basking on the seabed.

At Hin Luk Bat, you will spot beautiful shoaling fish, moray eels, rays, parrotfish,  angelfish, bannerfish, and dolphins.

Another site of note is the wreck of Chang which was a vessel that the Thai navy sunk in 2012. It is one of the largest shipwrecks in Thailand and places house to a variety of marine life. Look out for Barracuda, Grouper, Squid, and Octopus.

Final thoughts

Diving is one of the most enjoyable activities to pursue on vacation or as a hobby. If you are interested in discovering more about the rest of the world that is covered by water, diving is for you. There are risks that come with diving that you should always be aware of.

Make sure you only make dives at the level that you are qualified for.

If you are training for the next level of qualification, say from 30m to 40m, always make sure you are under licensed instruction. Purchase travel insurance that is tailored specifically for the risks you are exposed to when diving. These types of insurance cover overseas medical expenses for sudden illness or injury. They cover medical evacuation to the nearest facility, and treatment in a decompression chamber if needed.

Insurance policies vary from company to company, make sure any cover you purchase suits your needs in case of an emergency. This will make your diving experience a lot safer and worry-free. Happy diving!