Considered one of the top 10 accessible diving destinations in the world, Phuket, and surrounds, is a diving heaven and home to a wide variety of marine life and spectacular coral. In addition to the diverse ecosystem, the waters surrounding the island provide high visibility and warm temperatures, especially during the months from November to April. Diving in Phuket is one activity that certainly should be on your travel agenda while in Thailand, and courses are offered by many dive shops on the island.
Guide to Scuba Diving in Phuket
In addition to the opportunities afforded on the island itself, diving enthusiasts will find Phuket to be an excellent base of operations for dive trips to the surrounding areas.
There are a large number of different dive operators to choose from in Phuket and most of these are concentrated in the Chalong and Patong areas. For diving in Phuket there’s an excellent selection of high quality dive shops located on the road to Chalong Pier from Chalong Circle.
Diving in Phuket is well organised and these shops are often foreign-owned and are run to international standards. On Phuket, most dive companies offer a full range of services, including training, equipment rentals and excursion booking to any of the dive sites located on and around Phuket. Thailand is also an excellent place to get certified as a scuba diver, as it’s inexpensive compared to elsewhere and the warm water, good visibility and often shallow depths are perfect for beginners.
Dive shops around Phuket offer certification courses through PADI, NAUI and SSI, all of which will allow you to dive anywhere in the world. If you’re thinking of taking a diving course in Phuket, single day Discover Scuba Diving courses are also offered at many shops, in case you’re not sure if scuba diving is for you. One day introductions usually cost around 1,500-2,000 Baht. Open Water Certification courses usually last three to four days and cost roughly 8,000-14,000 Baht.
Further certifications are also available, such as Open Water Advanced, Divemaster, and speciality courses such as Night Diving, Deep Diving and Navigation. In Phuket, these vary in duration and cost but the speciality courses are usually shorter and less expensive. There is a hyperbaric recompression chamber in Phuket Town provided by the SSS Network Phuket (Open: 09:00-18:00 (Monday-Friday), 09:0-12:00 (Saturday). 44/1 Moo 5, Chalermprakiat Ror 9, Vichit. Tel: (076) 209 347, Emergency: (081) 081 9000).
Diving Trips in Phuket
Trips to the many excellent dive sites in Phuket can be easily booked through the many dive shops on the island, or online. One-day trips and live-aboards are available in great variety. One-day dive trips usually head to one of the many small islands just off the coast of Phuket, including Racha Noi and Racha Yai (Little Racha and Big Racha respectively), Coral Island and Phi Phi Island. These single-day Phuket diving excursions leave early in the morning and take an hour to reach the site, during which the divemaster will brief you on what to expect.
Richelieu Rock is located around 18kms east of the Surin Islands. This is possibly the best place in the world to swim with one of the most amazing creatures in the sea – the whale shark. Whale sharks are spotted around 60 per cent of the time here, with the most sightings during February, March and April. Whale sharks are gentle creatures despite their 20 metre length and a swim with one is an unforgettable experience.
There is also wreck diving around Phuket, ranging from the King Cruiser, a large sunken ferry that can be reached easily by beginners, to HMS Vestal, a British WWII ship which, at 72m down, is accessible only for technical divers. However, it is easy to get the appropriate experience to reach these depths if you have enough time in Phuket.
Once at the site there will be two to four dives before heading back to Phuket. Lunch is usually included and the cost is 1,500-3,000 Baht. Another popular option is a liveaboard trip. These trips are usually three- to five-day excursions to the Similan Islands, although some companies offer seven- to 10-day trips that range as far as the Burma Banks, the Surin Islands, and Richelieu Rock.
On a live-aboard you will be able to dive more during the day, plus most offer night dives as well. The cost includes accommodation on board (a bunk or a small stateroom) as well as food. Prices of live-aboard trips vary widely, depending on duration, but expect to pay between 15,000 and 50,000 Baht.
Read more on Dive The World in Phuket.
This is page 1 of 2. Go to Page 2: Dive Sites in and Around Phuket.