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A Complete Guide to Diving in Thailand

Map of Thailand

Weather in Thailand

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F
RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Thailand







With more than 349 named dive sites, great visibility, perfect warm water all year round, beautiful reefs full of corals and some of the best marine life in the world, Thailand is THE perfect dive destination.

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and once you go diving here you’ll see why!

Here are the authors behind the guide:

Boby Taylor

Boby Taylor

Thailand Expert and Co-author

Boby has a passion for diving and a love for Thailand. She came here for the first time when she was 12 and been back multible times since.

Torben Lonne

Torben Lonne

Scuba Expert and Author

Torben spend most of his youth diving and teaching diving. Along his way, he passed Thailand where he worked as a PADI scuba instructor on dive centers and liveabords.

So, if you're ready we can start planning your dive trip to Thailand. 

There's much you need to know beforehand, but in this guide, we've tried to make it easily accessible. 

Facts about diving in Thailand

  • More reef diving that you can imagine: Thailand as an astonishing 153 km2 of coral reef 
  • Great spots to see Whale Sharks & Manta Rays
  • 2125 different species of fish
  • 20 different Liveaboards that are possible to embark on
  • Koh Tao is the place that issues 2. most dive certificates in the world
  • Similan Islands has often been ranked as one of the top diving sites in the world
  • The best time to dive in the Andaman Sea is from November to Apri
  • And the Gulf of Thailand from May to September
  • Thailand can be dived all year round
Go diving, come to thailand

The main diving areas of Thailand

Diving in Thailand is sorted in two main areas:

1. The Andaman Sea, stretching all down the west coast of Thailand

Tropical islands set in the Andaman Sea provide a variety of diving to suit just about everyone. Tropical and coral marine life creates a breathtaking underwater vista that is quite unlike any other. These waters also afford you the opportunity to dive with leopard sharks, whale sharks, and manta rays, amongst other fascinating creatures.

Diving areas of the Andaman Sea: Phi Phi islands, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Krabi, Phuket, Similan Island/Khao Lak area.

2. The Gulf of Thailand

Diving the Gulf of Thailand is great for a beginner doing advanced courses or for travelers looking for their first dive course.  The gulf also offers amazing spots for experienced divers to enjoy a calm, nice and relaxing dive with the chances to see a whale shark.

Diving areas in the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Tao Island and Koh Samui.

There's may reason top go diving in Thailand:

The conditions in Thailand’s water seem made for divers. With warm, clear waters year round and a few hundred dive sites from which to choose, it’s no wonder that divers flock here. The many dive sites offer options for all levels of divers, from novices to the most experienced. Just about anyone can enjoy this underwater wonderland.

This guide will provide you with detailed information about scuba diving in Thailand.

Types of diving in Thailand

Reef Diving in Thailand

There are many beautiful coral reefs to see in Thailand. Fortunately, these reefs are protected by the goverments, preserving them for the benefit of the marine ecosystem – not to mention the pleasure of divers. More than half of the coral reefs are found in Thailand’s 26 National Marine Parks. Three of these parks have been put forward as possible World Heritage Sites: Similan islands, Koh Surin, and Koh Tarutao.

Wreck Diving in Thailand

Several large wrecks have become fascinating artificial reefs teeming with marine life. Some of the more popular wrecks include the HTMS Sattakut, HTMS Khram, and HTMS Chang.

Drift Diving in Thailand

Gentle currents allow for scenic drift dives through the underwater splendor on offer in Thailand. A few of the popular options include Koh Rok Nai, Koh Similan, East of Eden, and Turtle Rock.

How to dive Thailand?

There are two ways to dive Thailand:

Liveaboard diving in Thailand

Choosing to invest in a liveaboard diving trip is a fantastic way to gain access to the many fabulous dive sites that are a significant distance from the shore. The good news is that there are liveaboard options to suit all needs and preferences. No matter your budget, intended duration of cruise, number of divers, or level of expertise, you will find a liveaboard solution in Thailand.

Tips for liveaboard diving:

  • Remember to pack proof of your diver certification as well as your log book.
  • You can expect an average of four dives per day on a liveaboard vessel.
  • Rather than heft a heavy dive bag onto a plane, take advantage of the cheap gear rentals (especially for your heavier items).
  • Limit the valuables you pack – onboard safes can be quite small.
  • If you drink alcohol or take any intoxicating substances while onboard you will be banned from diving.
  • Be prepared for night dives as these are frequently offered to certified divers.

Day trip diving in Thailand

Does the idea staying a full week on a liveaboard give you sea sickness? Luckily, there is a wealth of dive centers from which to choose. When it comes to diving in Thailand the most popular choices are Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phuket, Khao Lak, and the Phi Phi Islands. Here you can enjoy all the comfort and convenience of day trip diving and experience the beauty of these majestic islands.

Tips for diving here:

  • Remember to pack proof of your diver certification as well as your log book.
  • Rather than heft a heavy dive bag onto a plane, take advantage of the fairly cheap gear rentals, with gear of good quality.

“Diving in Thailand is possible all year round”


Best time to dive in Thailand

Each area also has a different season that is perfect for divers. This also makes diving in Thailand possible all year round.

One of the advantages of Thailand’s geographical location is that the water temperature is constant throughout the year. The water temperature is 26 to 30˚C all year round.

Best diving season for Andaman Sea:

Most divers make their way to Thailand between November and April, with the peak tourist season being December and January.

  • Peak diving season: From November to April.
  • Krabi, Phi Phi and Phuket can be dives all year round
  • Koh Libe and Koh Lanta are closed(or mostly closed) from June to October
  • Similands islands National park is open from November 16 to May 15

Best diving season for the Gulf of Thailand:

Thailand offers superb diving conditions for divers of all levels of experience. Warm waters, great visibility, manageable currents, and loads of dive sites at depths from 5 to 40+ meters.

The best time to dive in Thailand depends on where you are planning on diving and what you would like to see.

  • Peak diving season: October to April.
  • Best time for whale shark sightings: February to May.
  • Best time of year for manta ray sightings: February to May.
  • Best time to dive the Gulf of Thailand: May to October (off season for the west coast).

Diving in Similan Island

This small collection of islands is regarded by many as being the prime dive destination that Thailand has to offer. In fact, it is frequently hailed as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. Here the landscape consists of everything from rock formations to bright corals and gorgonian sea fans. In fact, the beautiful coral gardens and deep rocky gorges are a photographer’s dream. These islands offer a great variety of diving across several sites.

You can either explore sloping coral reefs or intricate rock formation. Similan Island’s reef system is composed bommies where you will be diving in between mounds filled with vibrant-colored corals. The rock formation on the other hand allows you to explore a network of swim-throughs where you can see turtles, jacks and sharks.


▶ See the amazing diving in The Similan Islands

Diving in Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta continues to be a popular tourist and diving destination after massive restoration efforts following a devastating tsunami. You will enjoy stunning white beaches and amazing dive sites scattered over 70 islands surrounding Koh Lanta.

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are the 2 most popular sites in Koh Lanta.  You can go drift diving over a series of ledges while cruising along strong currents. Underwater photography is popular in Koh Lanta where you can always find huge fishes like manta rays and sharks.

Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng means ‘red rock’. This submerged pinnacle is home to a variety of soft corals in every imaginable shade of red. Although there is plenty of small marine life to attract divers here, it is the lure of manta ray and whale shark sightings for which Hin Daeng is most popular.

Hin Muang

Hin Muang means ‘purple rock’ and, like Hin Daeng, is named for the colorful soft corals that cover this rock formation. Divers will discover the highest vertical wall in Thailand at this site – and what a sight it is! Here you will hopefully see big fish, manta rays, leopard sharks, and grey reef sharks.

▶ See the amazing diving off Koh Lanta
Diving the reef of thailand

Diving in Phi Phi Island

Previously devastated by the 2004 tsunami, Phi Phi Island has stood back and slowly regaining back its crown as a world-famous diving destination. You will surely enjoy warm water diving in protected reefs, pinnacles, vertical drop-offs and miniature underwater caves.

The Phi Phi Islands are a quick boat trip from Phuket, with many visitors opting for a day trip to this slice of idyllic (but bit crowded) paradise. This is a very popular dive destination in the Andaman Sea, with loads of easily accessible dives sites for divers of all levels to explore the incredibly beautiful coral reefs.


▶ This is Phi Phi diving


Diving in Krabi

Aside from being a popular tourist destination, Krabi host to most of Thailand’s National Parks. Most of the underwater landscapes in Krabi are pristine coral reefs and pinnacles with sheer drop-offs.

Among the long list of diving sites, Koh Yamasan, Koh See and Koh Yung are the most popular sites. These sites are similar to each to where you can explore healthy coral reefs filled with various marine life.


▶ See the fantastic diving you can do from Krabi
Dive the reefs of thailand and see amazing marine life

Diving in Phuket

Despite being hit by a tsunami, the variety of underwater landscape of Phuket is still a popular diving destination in Thailand, if not in the world. Exploring Phuket’s underwater realm will take you to go reef, night, drift and deep diving where you can see barrel sponges, sea whips, gorgonians, groupers, jacks, and barracudas.

You can also have a great wreck diving experience by descending down along a limestone cliff where a former car ferry is resting. You can also plan and explore an artificial structure made up of stone elephants which is a popular icon in Thailand.

Dive trips from Krabi and Phuket, will often also include Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Phi Phi islands.


▶ Try going diving in Phuket

Diving in Koh Lipe

This small island located near Malaysia is not yet among Thailand’s most traveled destinations. Being part of a marine park, Koh Lipe has a long list of dive site offering great scuba diving experience.

Advanced divers can go drift diving in an inter-connected plateau formed from various pinnacles. Novice divers can also enjoy a similar site but with the protection of shallow coral reefs. Diving along moderate currents in a narrow channel filled with soft corals and large coral bommies is also popular in Koh Lipe.

▶ Experience the diving off Koh Lipe

Great marine life in Thailand

Diving in Koh Tao Island

Underwater rock formations, tunnels, and swim throughs are the major attraction when you visit Koh Tao Island. The Koh Tao underwater landscape is a very popular destination to learn scuba diving. Many of Thailand’s young traveling tourists pass by and most of them end up doing an open water certification here. Due to the many students, courses in Koh Tao are often done in big groups of 8 students at a time.

The massive granite protrusions of Koh Tao are the most visited sites. Here you see a lot of tropical reef fishes while having an amazing wall, deep and drift diving experience. You can also consider diving with sharks wherein Koh Tao’s southwest coast has a good shark population.

▶ Experience the diving on Koh Tao

Diving in Koh Samui

Dive trips from Koh Samui will often go to Sail Rock or to Koh Tao, as diving around Koh Samui isn’t the best.

Sail Rock is located some 30 miles (45 kilometers) north of Koh Samui, so it’s prefect for a day dive trip.

Another similar site is the Southwest Pinnacles. This is broken granite protrusion covered with soft and hard corals. The natural ledge creates a stunning site for wall diving where you can find jacks, barracudas and leopard sharks.

▶ (Click to watch video) Let's go diving Koh Samui

Facts and info about diving in Thailand

Current in Thailand

Depending on the location of your dive and the weather conditions, you might encounter strong currents. This is particularly the case with dive sites such as some of those in the Similan Islands where strong currents swirl around rock formations. However, Thai waters offer many sites that tend to have gentle and manageable currents – often allowing for enjoyable drift dives.

Visibility in Thailand

No matter where you dive in Thailand, you can generally be assured of good visibility. On average, visibility in the waters surrounding Thailand measures an impressive 30 meters (100 feet).


There are dive sites worth seeing at all depths. For recreational divers, there are plenty of beautiful dive spots that range from 5 to 40 meters. For more experienced divers with the relevant qualifications, there are also sites to explore beyond 40 meters.

Snorkeling in Thailand

If you fancy some time on the surface or are going on holiday with non-divers, there are plenty of options for fantastic snorkeling in Thailand. The warm climate and clear blue waters allow for incredible sights from the surface. From turtles to corals and schools of tropical fish, there is a never-ending array of delights in Thailand’s best snorkeling sites.

Have you been diving in Thailand? Let us know what you think of it:

A Complete Guide to Diving in Thailand
4.95 (98.99%) 199 votes


  1. Diana H

    Thanks for the guide, will come in handy when I go to thailand in january.
    Can you recommend any centers to dive with?
    What is the normal price range in Thailand for a ouple of dives?

    • Torben Lonne

      Diana H
      Hope it will come in handy. Where in Thailand are you going? Prices vary a lot from region to region and depending on how far there is to the dive spot.
      I think the cheapest I’ve encountered was around 1800 thai bath and most expensive was 6000 bath.

  2. antonio

    Wooow amazing pleace!! I must go to Thailand


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