Famous for its tropical rainforest, rich culture and beautiful beaches Thailand diving is also a popular attraction that draws thousands of tourists each year. Thailand's almost 2000km of coastline offers divers a bevy of sights, from fringing reefs and seamounts to caverns, drop-offs, tunnels, walls, wrecks and pinnacles, not to mention the colourful and exotic marine life. There are a great range of operators who offer everything from equipment hire to day trips and even liveaboard overnight adventures.
With water temperatures averaging 28-30° C year round, mild currents, visibility of approximately 30m and varying depths up to 36m Thailand diving is suitable for most skill levels and is good year round. However, the Gulf of Thailand is at its best from May to September while the Andaman Sea is best from October to April. Below is a list of some of the best Thailand diving sites.
Richelieu Rock: A horseshoe-shaped rock giant, home to some of the biggest marine life including grouper, whale sharks, shovelnose rays, barracuda tornadoes, titan triggers, bannerfish, Moorish idols, snapper, stonefish, lionfish, cuttlefish, pipefish and schools of tropical fish as well as seahorses.
Pattaya: Highlights include wreck diving such as Petchaburi Bremen and HTMS Khram. Protected from monsoonal winds, diving is great year round and offers excellent access to surrounding island dive sites.
Koh Dok Mai: At its best when the sun is shining, this drift and wall dive is home to hidden crevices and caves. Visit in season and you're likely to spot whale sharks and baby nurse sharks.
Racha Noi and Racha Yai: Ideal for spotting some interesting marine life, here you'll find big schools of jacks and tuna, chevron barracuda, blue spotted lagoon rays and, in season, mantas and whale sharks.
Koh Haa: A diverse dive featuring drop off, swim-throughs, caverns, pinnacles and chambers as well as interesting marine life such as octopus, ghost pipefish and the occasional marble ray or hawksbill turtle.
Shark Point: Dazzling purple and pink soft corals are home to puffer fish, scorpion fish, angelfish, lionfish and even leopard sharks, hence its name.
Koh Lipe: Set on the outskirts of the Tarutao National Marine Park, this site is rich in marine life and reefs and is home to over 30 islands.