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Five Best Places to Scuba Dive in Thailand

By Jeremy Foster | Updated On June 19, 2020
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Five Best Places to Scuba Dive in Thailand

When it comes to scuba diving, Thailand's tropical setting and crystal-clear waters make it one of the best diving destinations in the world.

Whether you're swimming with majestic manta rays, exploring coral-encrusted caves or marveling at underwater limestone pinnacles, diving in the Land of Smiles is guaranteed to be a memorable experience—and these five places offer some of the best scuba diving in Thailand.

1. Andaman Sea

Scuba Diver in Andaman Sea

Young woman scuba diving on a beautiful soft coral reef in South Andaman, Thailand.

Between the colorful corals and vibrant marine life, the Andaman Sea is a scuba diver's dream. Compared to the Gulf of Thailand, the waters on the western side have better visibility (up to 130ft) and a great diversity of sea life.

Not to mention, the tropical backdrop of limestone rocks, white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees make it one of the best places in the world to go diving.

2. Similan Islands

Manta Ray in Similan Islands

An Oceanic manta ray flying through the divers bubbles in the Similan Islands.

When it comes to amazing Thailand diving, look no further than the Similan Islands. This archipelago of nine different islands is part of the Mu Koh Similan National Park, which is one of the best dive sites to see manta rays and whale sharks.

If you want to dive the best sites in the area, consider joining a liveaboard. A multi-day trip will take you to the best dive spots around the islands, including Richelieu Rock, Elephant Head, and Beacon Point.

3. Koh Tao

Koh Tao Coral Reef

A beautiful coral reef in Koh Tao.

As one of the most diverse dive sites in Thailand, this small island on the Gulf is teeming with coral-encrusted reefs, massive granite pinnacles, and sunken ships from WWII. And with over 70 different dive schools, it's also a great choice for first-time divers. Sites like Twins, White Rock, and Shark Island are shallow and calm enough for those just learning the ropes.

It's cheap, too. Koh Tao not only has plenty of things to do, but there are few other places in the world where you can get your Open Water certification for $350 or less!

However, advanced divers will also find plenty to spark your interest. The breathtaking rock formations at Chumphon Pinnacles and the sunken HTMS Sattakut are just a few of Koh Tao's more challenging dives.

4. Koh Lanta

Leopard Shark in Thailand

A leopard shark found on a reef in Koh Lanta, Thailand. Yusof

This idyllic island is just as mesmerizing underwater as it is on land. Although there's no shore diving (a boat is required to reach the different dive sites), it's worth the time and effort to dive some of the most spectacular waters in Thailand.

Most divers come to explore the sweeping currents and colorful soft corals of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. It's also common to find leopard sharks and giant moray eels tucked inside the jagged pinnacles. If you're lucky, you might also spot a whale shark or manta hanging out in the reef.

5. Koh Phi Phi

Thorny Yellow Seahorse in Thailand

A thorny seahorse on a coral reef in Thailand. Whitcombe

If you're looking for a dive site with tropical marine life and pristine water conditions, then make sure to visit the stunning Phi Phi Islands. With plunging limestone walls and carpets of coral gardens, the waters around the islands are guaranteed to delight all types of divers.

The abundance of small creatures like reef sharks, turtles, and seahorses also makes it a desirable destination worth exploring.

As a scuba diver, Thailand is undoubtedly a bucket list destination. Between the tropical islands and sun-soaked beaches, it's an underwater playground that every avid diver should make time to explore.

Jeremy Foster is an avid traveler and adventurer who founded Check out his website to learn how you can adventure better.


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