Diving in Thailand
Thailand is well known for having some of most beautiful coastlines and islands in the world. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and stunning coral reefs, Thailand's coastline is a true paradises for diving enthusiasts. The Andaman Sea, on the west, and Gulf of Thailand, on the east, offer best diving in the world, according to National Geographic Society. Thailand's sea waters also are suitable to practice snorkelling, but they are scuba diving that will leave some emotions that you will never forget. Diving opportunities include fantastic reefs, deep drop-offs, undersea rock formations, steep walls, deep caverns, long tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. One can enjoy splendid sights of coral gardens, with hard and soft coral, gorgonians, anemones and all kinds of marine life, such as Whale Sharks, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Manta Rays, Amberjack, Barracuda, Groupers and even wrecks. Thailand is considered one of the safest destinations for diving and snorkelling in the world; its waters are ideal for experiences dives but also for first-timers divers.
Diving in Thailand can be practiced almost all year round, although the best time changes depending on the areas. All along the west coast of southern Thailand, those facing the Andaman Sea, the best conditions exist from November to April, when the surface conditions are generally calm. Visibility can easily reach over 30 metres and the water temperature is between 28° C and 31° C. Diving in Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, Racha Islands, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe is the best between February and April, good between November and February. Natural Parks at Similan and Surin Islands are open from November to late April. In all resorts on Andaman Sea the peak tourist season is between December and March, so during these months is recommended to book in advance diving cruises and hotels. From late May to October the monsoon winds swell the surface of Andaman Sea reducing visibility of over 30% and making some of the remote sites, such as Similan and Surin Islands, inaccessible, the Parks are in fact closed for safety. However, even during the monsoon period, from Phuket depart some dive cruises towards the dive sites closer to the coast or sheltered from the wind, such as Phi Phi Islands and Racha Islands. Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, the southern islands in the Gulf of Thailand, are an excellent alternative for diving in Thailand when the monsoon reaches the Andaman Sea, i.e. between May and October. The climate in all the Gulf of Thailand is also tropical, with hot and humid weather. The air temperature ranges between 27° and 34° C and water temperature is about 29° C all year round. It is possible to dive in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao throughout the year, but the best sea conditions are between December and August, when the surface conditions are generally calm and visibility can easily reach over 25 metres. In the southern of Gulf the monsoon season runs from September to November; during which heavy rain reduce visibility by more than 30%. The peak tourist season runs from December to March, consequently during these periods it is better to book in advance diving cruises and hotels. Ultimately, the best time for diving in this area is between May and June, when the sea is still calm and there are fewer tourists.The best time to diving in the northeast of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Chang and the surrounding islands, is between October and May. The air temperature ranges between 28° C and 32° C and water temperature is about 29° C. The sea is calm and the visibility is usually very good, at least 15 metres but often even more. The peak tourist season runs from December to March. This area of the Gulf of Thailand is plagued by rain from May to September / October. The islands are emptied by tourists, and diving schools are generally closed.Read More
Most of the diving destinations in Thailand are on the Andaman Sea, in the south-western coast of Kingdom. Every year many divers go on vacation in the resorts along the west coast to begin their underwater adventures. Phuket, Khao Lak, Phi Phi Islands, Krabi-Ao Nang, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe are the top resort locations for a Thailand diving holiday. These world famous resorts are the ideal starting point to a great range of diving sites to suit divers of all levels. Phuket is best placed to serve the whole region, and is also the resort better organized to please divers. Most of the dive sites in the region are within easy reach with a day trip or multi-day cruises with living on board. Phuket is the perfect jumping off point to reach the dive sites around Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi, as well as the Phi Phi Islands. A little further north of Phuket there are the Similan and Surin Islands, two must for divers around the world. These two diving destinations are better explored by multi-day cruises. However it is also possible to dive there with a day trip from Khao Lak, the nearest tourist resort in Phang Nga province. The stunning Phi Phi Islands are also a popular destination in the Andaman Sea with easily accessible dive sites to explore by day trip. Krabi-Ao Nang is the best known tourist resort located on the opposite coast of Phuket Island. The costal town is ideally placed for reach the dive sites around Phi Phi Islands and Koh Lanta. Koh Lipe is the southernmost tourist resort on the Andaman Sea. The island is located in Tarutao National Marine Park, in Satun province. Koh Lipe is still little known to divers notwithstanding it has some of the best dive sites in Thailand. The Gulf of Thailand also offers to divers an amazing range of diving destinations. In the calm waters of the Gulf of Thailand, the best diving location is undoubtedly the stunning Kho Tao. It is also possible to dive in Koh Samui and Koh Koh Phangan but the sites around these two islands are not even comparable to those close to Koh Tao. Over the last years Koh Tao has become one of the best destinations in the world with regard to scuba diving. The small island is the ideal place to the first approach to diving and for experienced divers to improve the level from Open Water Diver to Advanced Open Water Diver. Located in the north of the gulf region there is the unspoiled island of Koh Chang. The island, the second of Thailand by extension, in the last decade it has become in turn a world famous destination for diving enthusiasts. Koh Chang allows access to a range of different diving sites in the surrounding small islands to suit divers of all levels.Read More
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