Thailand is a beautiful country that has some of the best dive sites in all of Asia. Every year, many thousands of scuba divers come to Thailand to experience and explore dive sites that have been heralded the world over for their unique marine life and incredible ocean setting. The country itself enjoys beautiful weather for much of the year which makes the diving experience even more pleasurable. There are more than 250 recognized dive sites, most of them are suitable for experienced and novice divers.
The dive sites are divided along two coasts, one in the Andaman Sea on the west and the Gulf of Thailand on the east. Each area has its own diving seasons. The climate along both coasts is usually very warm and humid most of the year because of its location near the equator. The water temperature is around 28 degree C (84F) degrees the year round with the average air temperature ranging from 25 degree C (78F) to 32 degree C (90F) for the year as well.
Rainy Season: May to December with June to October being the heavy months of rain.
Dry & Hot Season: January to April which is generally the best time of the year to visit and explore the dive sites in Thailand.
While some dive areas are perfect the year round, such as Kho Phi Phi or Phuket, the best times to go start in November and end in April when there is excellent visibility and good weather. However, if you want to avoid the big crowds consider coming after the holiday season in January. By April, the waters become choppy with less visibility. You can also save a little money when avoiding the high tourist season as well, so book in advance when possible.
The temperature in the Gulf of Thailand is virtually identical to the Andaman Sea throughout the year.
Rainy Season: September to November where visibility is greatly reduced during downpours.Tourist Season: December through March extending to July and August.
The best time to visit is generally in May or June when the number of tourists are down and the weather is not too bad. You can dive at Ko Tao and Koh Samui during the entire year if you come during the off season, but the best visibility and diving conditions are enjoyed from May to August. If you want to see whale sharks however, you’ll want to come from February to May.
Although each diving location has its own unique characteristics, you can count on the water temperature being around 28 degree C (84F) the year round in all locations and expect that most dive sites will have from 9 meters (30 feet) to 36 meters (120 feet) visibility with some exceptions. Most dive sites range from the rather shallow 5 meters (15 feet) and can go down to 36 meters (120 feet) or so. However, most of the coral formations are located from 18 meters (60 feet) and up where much of the marine life can be found as well. The shallowness of some of the dive sites make snorkeling an option as well. For those in your party that do not want to scuba dive, then can snorkel and see quite a bit depending on the dive site. Be sure that you are qualified to dive at the particular dive site before you leave. While many dive sites in Thailand are safe for novice or beginners, there are many that require intermediate to advanced level experience because of the currents, visibility and other conditions that are present.
Similan Islands: This place may be mentioned more than any other diving area in all of Thailand and for good reason. This small group of islands offers incredible rock formations that are home to a wide variety of marine life. The West of Six and Elephant Head Rock are two of the best diving sites in all of Asia thanks to the lovely coral formations and the large boulders which form many tunnels and passageways.
Hin Daeng & Hin Muang in Ko Lanta: These are two pinnacles that feature many different examples of marine life, including manta rays, whale sharks and a large variety of other sharks as well. The pinnacles themselves are simply breathtaking in their unique formation and beauty.
Richelieu Rock in Surin Islands: Certainly one of the most lauded places to dive in all of Thailand, this is a large pinnacle that rises over 30 meters (100 feet) from the ocean floor and you will see plenty of marine life from trevally, snappers and groupers roaming about. You will also find the occasional whale shark as well as manta rays.
There are certainly many magical places to dive in Thailand and your adventure begins by selecting the time of year and dive sites that best suit your interests. Remember to keep in mind the experience level that are required by many of the locations, but overall you should look forward to having an incredible time diving off the shores of beautiful Thailand.
The sea visibility of Thailand boasts of being the best in the world with a visibility of up to 30 meters and there is a huge diversity in the residing marine life. A vast array of coral reef, fish, macro critters and sea fans can be found here. Species residing here are whale sharks, manta rays, tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, batfish, sting rays, octopus, pipe fish, leopard sharks, lion-fish, blue spotted sting rays, yellow snapper, clown fish, eel snakes, rainbow runners and red-tooth trigger fish to name a few.
Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the world and has a lot to offer than just diving. There are beautiful beaches, trendy nightclubs, shopping malls, museums, temples and amusement parks for pure pleasure. There is absolutely nothing one cannot do in this country.