Phuket is at the hub of Thailand’s Andaman Sea diving activity. There is a real wealth of dive
sites appropriate to divers of a range of experience levels all up and down the Andaman coast. To the
south are enough dive sites to keep day trippers happy for days without repeating sites.
To the north, the marine parks of the Similan Islands and Surin Islands beckon with world-class diving,
most often reached by liveaboard, but also accessible by speedboat for daytrips. Islands to the south
that are too far away for daytrip boats to reach may be dived from liveaboards sailing from Phuket or
by daytrip from Koh Lanta.
Click for dive site list.
A little vocabulary lesson of some Thai
geographical words commonly used in dive site names will help you remember them better:
Koh=Island Yai=Big Noi=Small Hin=Rock
Nearest to Phuket are dive sites regularly visited by daytrip boats.
To the south lie pair of islands comprising around a dozen dive sites. The islands are called
Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi.
Racha Yai Bay 2
Racha Yai island, about 20 km from Phuket, is where we most often take student divers, as there are
plenty of quiet bays where we can practice without fear of currents or of damage to
coral structures. Between the bays lie fringing reef systems filled with fish and
punctuated by granite boulders. Fun divers and students on the tour portions of training dives
visit these reefs. Racha Noi is 10km further south.
To the east, between Phuket and mainland Krabi is the Phi Phi group of six islands.
Among the dive sites there, the most impressive are the Bidas:
Koh Bida Nok and
Koh Bida Nai.
Both of these limestone rocks jutting straight up out of the sea are small enough to dive all the
way around in the right conditions. Snorkelers can swim in sheltered bays, and for divers there is
a mix of sloping reef and wall encircling the islands, all teeming with marine life.
Midway between Phi Phi and Phuket is a cluster of three
great dive sites:
Shark Point with it’s series of seamounts,
with it’s irregular, submerged pinnacle, and the wreck
of the King Cruiser
passenger ferry. These are all open ocean
sites with no shelter, and are not appropriate for snorkelers, but they are a playground for divers!
Between this cluster of dive sites and Phuket we find
Koh Doc Mai, a limestone
island featuring a wall stretching from one end of the island to the other.
The five islans of Koh Haa
Further to the south of Phuket, beyond the
reach of Phuket daytrip boats,
are several sites often visited by liveaboard boats on short trips out
Hin Daeng and
Hin Muang are a pair of granite
rocks located to the southwest of Lanta Island. The underwater topography is dramatic, and as they are
located in open ocean, they attract a great many fish—both reef fish and ocean-going pelagics. A lot of
divers consider these two rocks to be among the must-dive sites in Thailand. To the west of Koh Lanta
and to the north of Hin Daeng/Hin Muang is a group of islands called
Koh Haa, or Five Islands,
which offer very pleasant diving.
To the north of Phuket, towards Burma,
are found the
islands which have made Thailand world famous for diving: the Similans. The Similans is a group of nine
mostly granite islands all in a line like a string of pearls. Dive sites are mainly dotted around the
perimeters of the islands, with the sheltered eastern sides offering gently sloping reefs covering
sandy bottoms and harboring prolific and colorful marine life such as found at
East of Eden, and
Beacon Reef. More exposed parts of the islands and isolated sea mounts present
dramatic underwater scenery of stacked boulders and swimthroughs at sites like
Elephant Head Rock,
Rocky Point and
Deep Six. In addition to the nine
islands of the Similans Marine Park, divers are encouraged to visit islands further to
the north, including, Koh Bon
, Koh Tachai, and the
Richelieu Rock, arguably Thailand’s most famous dive site. More
Phuket and Similans dive sites here.
Similans to Surins