Adventuring Beneath the Surface: Diving in Thailand
Southeast Asia is the ultimate region for exploring, with so much to do – from enjoying the beautiful scenery to eating all of the great pan-Asian cuisine from each of the distinct and unique countries. One great activity in the region is diving, and while Thailand is known for its beaches, ancient ruins and magnificent temples, it is also known for its spectacular oceans with exquisite species of fish, caves and underwater scenery to be seen. It’s the ideal spot for those who have dived in the past, but also for those who want to give it a try for the first time and see Thailand in a whole new way.
When to go?
The great thing about Thailand is that it is a tropical region, making every day a good day for diving. However, the best time to go is between November and April, keeping in mind that sharks will be present from February to May and Giant Manta Rays in March or April, depending on the year. From May to October it’s still possible to dive, but it’s the heavy rainfall that is a major deterrent.
In order to experience all that the great and vast Andaman Sea has to offer it is imperative to get your diving certification in the form of a PADI certificate. For beginners, the certification needed is an Open Water Diver certification course, which can take as little as 3-4 days to complete.During this time you’ll get the proper instruction and practice needed to dive and have the chance to do so while enjoying the spectacular country of Thailand in one of its many diving destinations like Phuket or Koh Samui, where the Thai cuisine is delicious – think Pad Thai, Tom Yum Gung or a hearty Jim Jum and you’ll have certainly worked up the appetite for it and there is no shortage of pan-Asian restaurants where this great food can be enjoyed. And while you won’t necessarily be able to dive when you get home, you can still enjoy the delicious cuisine. One of the best restaurants in Oxford for this is Banana Tree, with locations all around the UK, bringing a taste of Southeast Asia to its customers.
For those who have dived before, there are a number of higher-level courses to expand on your certification – alternatively, why not take a Digital Underwater Photography course and capture the beauty of the Andaman Sea for yourself so that you can come home with physical mementos of your time under the sea. A truly unforgettable experience.
Where to dive in Thailand
Once you’re officially certified the world is your oyster and luckily for you, Thailand offers countless places for you to explore.
One such spot is Richelieu Rock, a horseshoe-shaped rock within the Andaman Sea. Here you will find schools of fish including pipefish, cuttlefish and even seahorses. What’s more exciting is the possibility to see whale sharks, manta rays, and eagle rays. Plus, of course, the natural beauty of the sea, including coral, anemones, sponges and sea fans. This diving location can be found between the Similan and Surin Islands, and features a current that can make diving conditions somewhat challenging – therefore it’s suggested that beginners steer clear.
Where else to see the underwater sites? Hin-Daeng and Hin-Mouang, which are known as the red and purple rock located 50 km off of Ko Lanta. Here, not only are there opportunities to see grey sharks and manta rays but a chance to see Thailand’s largest underwater vertical wall as well as caverns and caves to explore. Again, the currents are a bit strong therefore the area is recommended for experienced divers.
Beginners, no needto be put off! There are plenty of diving sites to enjoy suchas Shark Point in Phuket, where the chance to see Leopard Sharks is high, along with the opportunity to swim with tropical fish and Moray Eels alongside vibrant coral.
Inspired to go for a dive? Hopefully you’re now more prepared and educated to test new waters and explore the deep blue sea in the ever-beautiful Thailand. What are you waiting for?