Thailand may be a well-trodden path for many dive travelers, however, delving slightly deeper into this popular destination reveals some interesting sites that merit a closer look. Here are our favorite spots for those keen to take a fresh look at Thailand scuba diving.
1. Koh Tao
Koh Tai is a great spot to learn scuba diving, and the island has many dive centers offering good training at reasonable rates. Diving here is mostly from a boat but is very relaxed and conditions are ideal for training novice divers. There are plenty of tropical fish, colorful reefs, and even the occasional shark.
2. Koh Phi Phi
The island of Koh Phi Phi offers stunning underwater scenery and a range of dive sites from shallow to deep for all standards of divers. There is a good chance to encounter manta rays and whale sharks, as well as some notable macro. This is a also great area for spotting leopard sharks in the sand of shallower sites.
A far less touristy area, Koh Lipe's reefs are some of the healthiest in Thailand. Stunning hard and soft corals adorn fascinating pinnacles and rock formations, home to an array of colorful marine life. There is a chance of spotting the elusive dugong and even sperm whales here.
4. Similan Islands
One of the best dive destinations in Thailand, the Similan Islands is a protected National Park offering fantastic diving amongst vibrant reefs and huge granite boulders. Best visited by liveaboard, there is a really good chance to dive with manta rays and whale sharks.
5. Surin Islands
More remote and therefore less visited than the Similan Islands, the Surin Islands are a small but equally beautiful protected area offering access to unique species not found elsewhere in Thailand. Only accessible via liveaboard, trips often include a visit to the famous Richelieu Rock.
Phuket offers a wide range of diving to suit all tastes, from relaxed shore dives to offshore walls and pinnacles, caverns, wrecks, and encounters with pelagics. Dive operators range from upmarket resort packages to reasonably priced independent stores.
Pattaya is best known for its excellent wreck diving, although many of them are fairly deep. The wrecks are now fantastic artificial reefs, providing a home to beautiful corals and numerous fish species such as rays, barracuda, and even sharks.
8. Koh Samui
While Koh Samui is a popular tourist destination and is avoided by many divers, some excellent sites can still be accessed. Calm, clear waters and great marine life and macro can be found here.
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