Diving Pattaya

Home  |  Locations  |  South-east Asia  |  Thailand  |  Pattaya

Pattaya, Thailand

IMG2
IMG0230IMG0345IMG3IMG0453

Beginner Intermediate Expert

Shore Day Trip Live Aboard

Family Friendly

Country: Thailand  Area: Thailand

Water Temp: 26 - 30°C (79 - 86°F)

Visibility: 4 - 15m (13 - 49 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 35m (16 - 115 ft)

Book A Diving Trip Online
 

Pattaya is known for its numerous wreck dive sites and lively nightlife and large expat influence.

Book A Dive Center Online

On the right side of town the accommodation can be clean and reasonable, the food and drinks are some of the more reasonable priced and well prepared that the Thai cities offer. 


On the wrong side of town however, which seems to be most of it, Pattaya has a very different feel from many other Thai seaside towns. Where one would often find shapely Scandinavians sunning themselves on the shore, the bustling metropolis of Pattaya offers a somewhat different landscape.. how can I say it, in Pattaya, some of the larger seasonal mammals are found on land.

Pattaya beach at night, Credit

On your first visit to this little corner of paradise you may be struck by the contrast between the glassy waters offering up to 30 meters of visibility, and the walk back to your hotel through the throngs of cheerful Russian expats and their definitely-legal Thai brides, as they negotiate a 20 baht discount at perfectly reasonable volumes.

The manner of locals, expats and general holidaymakers in Pattaya may be a culture shock for those with a certain expectation of Thai beach towns. Few places in the world compare to the delicate nature in which the masseuses invite you to, erm, receive the tension this place inbues in you. In this town you are far more likely to hear ‘’Seeexy booooy where you from seeexy booooy? Massaaaage me want boom boom you!’’ then a ‘please’ or a ‘thank you’.

Give it a go through, who knows you might fall in love with the place, there are some nice spots, some decent dive sites and plenty of perfectly nice people who went there by mistake.

Climate

Pattaya like much of Thailand has a tropical wet and dry climate, causing three seasonal conditions, from November to January the climate is reliably warm and dry, from march to May you can expect Pattaya to be hot and humid and although the tempreture will stay just as high; from June to October you can exect an elevated amount of rainfall.

There is little variance in the water temperature in the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya stays almost the same the whole year, usually in the vicinity of 26-30 degrees.

Marine life conservation

The Royal Thai navy has a Sea Turtle conservation centre 45min outside Pattaya used to breed Hawksbill and green turtles, the 2 main turtle’s species, Hawksbill and green turtles. Sometime they also release Bamboo/nurse sharks that are donated to them via the Chiang Mail Zoo’s Aquarium and Marinescape

Local divers run a successful conservation program in ‘Dive Tribe’ in which they initiate several projects to protect the Pattaya Marine life and environment, this group is highly thought of by the Pattaya Dive community.

 
Read more…
Hide content

Wildlife Calendar

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Diving

Pattaya’s dive season is year round as it does not close for the monsoon like in the south and has with similar temperatures and visibility. The diving in Pattaya includes wrecks as well as coral reefs and the dive sites can be divided in to 3 groups; The Near islands, the Far islands and Sameasan which is a 45 min drive from the city.

The Near Islands are a cluster of three islands 5-7 km. off Pattaya. The islands are Koh Larn, Koh Sak and Koh Krok. Koh Larn translates to “Coral Island” in Thai while Koh Sak and Koh Krok are so-named because they resemble a mortar and pestle. Although the near islands are the most heavily dived sites in the area, they are also well-known sites good for new divers with growing populations of sea turtles, three species of small sharks and home to the HTMS Kood wreck.

Of these three islands Koh Larn is the largest and has three main dive-site areas: Shark Point, Koh Larn Vak and Laem Tong. Fish life is quite varied with cuttlefish and turtles commonplace. Depth in the area actually runs down to 40 m., but most of the diving is done in the 9-15m range. Shark Point is a great place to see juvenile Tawny Nurse and Bamboo Sharks, although as they are nocturnal creatures you will need to be looking under corals and rocks to spot them. Koh Larn Vak is best known for a sunken Thai Restaurant which was badly made and collapsed into the sea. Laem Tong has the deepest diving in the Near Islands and is used regularly for tech diving.

Koh Sak offers numerous dive sites between three and 15m on the east and west sides. Both sites start in sheltered bays, which makes them a very good training ground for students and perfect for those divers who have not dived in a little while and want a nice relaxing first dive back in the water. Sometimes stronger currents can be found here and offer more-experienced divers a bit more of a challenge. The eastern side is home to the Kood wreck and you may find Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles as well as numerous gray nurse sharks, sea horses, pipe fish and dragon fish. There are also the man made Cubes which are concrete blocks at 10m. The western side has a large number of interesting creatures, including sea horses, pipe fish, short-spined and sand dollar urchins, Starfish Tube and Banded Tube anemones. flat fish, spider crabs, juvenile octopus and Periclimes shrimp.

The innermost island of the near islands is Koh Krok which is a great drift dive location. There are areas of dense soft coral and anemone gardens here feeding off the current along with the requisite Clownfish. The site has a maximum depth of around 11 m., but is long enough that even with quite a reasonable drift a 45-50 minute dive can easily be done. The southern end of Koh Krok is home to turtles, pufferfish, parrotfish, Half-and-half and six-banded wrasses are also plentiful. There is also an artificial reef project here car and truck tires and cement blocks were dropped in the water and, over the years, soft corals, mussels and sponges grew up on them.

The Far Islands are composed of five uninhabited isles about 15 km off Pattaya. Because these sites are farther from the city, they don’t get the volume of boat and jet-ski traffic as the Near Islands and tend to have better visibility. It takes about 90 minutes to get there, but the sites are worth the trip. The Far Islands are home to large amounts of jacks, trevellys, barracuda, rabbitfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, gobies and damselfish and reef rays. Some small sharks and turtles can also be found here.

Koh Rin is the southernmost island and it’s arguably one of the best dive spots in Pattaya, where you can see Moray eels, barracuda, and plenty of both hard and soft corals, coral whips and very good invertebrate life, including nudibranchs, brittle stars and feather stars. Most sites here are suitable for beginners but depending on the wind the waves can pick up and make them only suitable for most experienced divers.

Koh Man Wichai has perhaps Pattaya’s best dives when conditions are good, Koh Man Wichai is wildly unpredictable and divers likely will be disappointed if they hit it on a bad day. Towards the island’s southern tip, you’ll find Honeycomb groupers, fields of carpet anemones, mounds of star corals, plume worms. large red snappers and schools of yellowtail fusiliers.

Koh Phai is home to the Khram Wreck and is controlled by the Royal Thai Navy, so use of the beaches is restricted. There is, however, some good diving off the south side of the island excellent for beginners. But the main attraction of Koh Phai is the wreck of the HTMS Khram at 26 m. Marine life is fair, however, with parrotfish, wrasse and puffers common. Away from the reef, juvenile snappers, jacks and fusiliers are common.

Samaesan is best known as the home of the famed Hardeep wreck, also has a collection of islands that are infrequently dived relative to the Near and Far islands chains. As such, they offer some of the best diving in the area. There’s a good amount of sea life about, but micro-scavengers will have a field day with the sandy bottom. There many boulder bommies and literally hundreds of yellowtail jacks that circle around you. There are a great range of many dive sites in this area including Koh Chuang where you may spot Eagle Rays, turtles and sea horses, Submarine Rock which resembles a submarine and the Hole which is a perilous site with a crater dropping to nearly 90m! Savage currents here can suck divers deeper than they realise and it’s right in the middle of a shipping lane so huge oil tankers make it dangerous down to as deep as 20m. This is mainly a tech diving site.

Wrecks

A main diving attraction of Pattaya is its four wrecks, which is where it gets its nickname ‘Thailand’s Wreck diving capital’. These wrecks are the Hardeep, the HTMS Kood, the HTMS Kram and the Petchburi Bremen. Three out of the four lie in 26-31 metres and are very popular with intermediate to advanced divers.

Arguably now the best of Pattaya’s three shipwrecks, the HTMS Khram, is about 300m to the south of Koh Phai and an excellent dive for fans of both wreck exploration and marine life. This ship was sunk in 2003 to provide a thriving artificial reef that would attract both fish and tourists. Now sitting at 27m the ship now teems with life, including huge batfish, thousands of juvenile barracuda, sweet tips, blue spotted rays and even a resident turtle. Fishing is largely banned on the vessel, so its marine population has grown with the coral on the ship. While popular, the wreck is not the easiest of dives, it’s often buffeted by strong currents that reduce visibility as little as 5m. The ship can be penetrated and some areas of interest are the bridge, engine room and radio room.

HTMS Kood is the area’s second U.S. landing ship to become an artificial reef for marine life and divers. Sank in 2006 it was dropped off the northeast tip of Koh Sak, one of Pattaya’s Near Islands, so the wreck is just 45 minutes from Pattaya’s Bali Hai Pier and is the most easily accessible wreck. Its bottom rests on sand at 31.5 m. with the deck at 26 m. Located in the heavier-fished area off Koh Sak; the Kood hasn’t got as much life as the Khram, but has attracted schools of barracuda and giant catfish, among other species. The highlights of the wreck are the bridge, radio rooms, engine room, and deck and side passageways.

The Hardeep Wreck (SS Suddhadib) used to supply oil to the Japanese during World War II but was sunk June 1, 1945 off Koh Chuang in Samae San Bay. The bomb that hit caused a fire and led to its sinking. No one was killed and some of the bombs that missed can still be found at the site today.
Now a popular dive site for scuba divers, the ship lies on its starboard side with a maximum depth of 26m and the top of the wreck at 16m, two 1,000 lb. unexploded bombs lie nearby. You can find jacks, trevellys, butterfly fish, angel fish, queen fish, large wrasse, juvenile barracuda, rays, giant grouper, giant starry puffer fish and even a local turtle. Due to the unstable nature of the superstructure these days, entering the engine room is only recommended for very experienced divers. Elsewhere, there are large, open cargo holds that are more accessible to newer divers.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

How to Get there

Pattaya is about 1½ hours, or 120 km by road from Suvarnabhumi Airport, the Bangkok international hub. Pattaya is also served (very limited) through U-Tapao International Airport which is 45 minutes drive from the city. This airport is mainly used for domestic flights to the south of Thailand.

The beach & the boats, Credit

 

Pattaya is served by frequent bus service from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal and the Eastern Bus Terminal, connecting to Pattaya's main bus terminal on Pattaya Nuea near Sukhumvit Road, where there is also service to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Buses from a terminal on Sukhumvit Road near Pattaya Klang connect Pattaya with many destinations in the Northeast. A bus service which connects Pattaya with Suvarnabhumi Airport is located on Tappraya Road near the intersection of Thepprasit Road. It uses modern air-conditioned buses, and takes around 1½ hours to reach the airport.

FROM BANGKOK CITY:

Buses: run about every 30 minutes from two of Bangkok's bus terminals to Pattaya Bus station. From Morchit Mai bus station in Kamphenphet Road in northern Bangkok and from Ekkamai bus station in Sukhumvit Road, next to Ekkamai BTS station.

Shared Vans / Minibus: Toyota Commuter air-conditioned vans are available for around THB100 per head. Take the Van just below Victory Monument BTS Station. The vans leave almost every hour and even faster if filled up. They drop in Pattaya 2nd Road, just 1 minutes walk from Walking Street and beach. 

Taxi: Flag down any available passing taxi, insist on running the meter or is this is not possible haggle a fare. You might get it as low as 1000฿, but 1200฿ - 1300฿ +/- tolls is easily achievable. 

FROM SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT:

TAXI: The metered taxi system operates 24/7.  When opting to take a taxi from the public "metered" taxi stand on level one.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Going out

In Pattaya there are numerous places to eat & Drink. You can find a range of cuisines; European, Russian, Indian, Asian all Ranging from cheap dinners to expensive.

Although you can find Bars, many with live music, in the whole city, the most famous street for a night out is ‘Walking Street’.  This street also has several popular seafood restaurants.

Breakfast, Credit

Pattaya is also well known for the seedier side of entertainment with a large number of Go-Go bars combined with a busy nightlife.

There are also ‘lady-boy’ Cabaret shows which might be worth a visit the more adventurous visitor!

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Other activities

Pattaya has an excellent choice of activities along it beach and around the town such as banana-boat rides, jet-skiing, water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing or just chilling on the beach having a paddle in the sea.

It is also located near different theme parks and zoos. It also has some nice islands which can be visited for a day-trip to the beach.

A statue in Pattay,Credit

 

Mini Siam is a miniature model village which celebrates the heritages of Thailand with replicas of the most famous monuments and historical sites including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Democracy Monument, Bridge over the River Kwai, and Prasat Hin Phimai. Models of the Tower Bridge of London, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of are also displayed in the section called “mini world”. Sounds about as exciting as it is.

There are also quite a few temples to visit but girls should remember when you do to wear the appropriate clothing as exposed busts, shoulders and legs can be viewed as offensive.

Pattaya is also visited by golfers as it is located near to approximately twenty courses within one hour of the city.

Family Friendly

Should, for some reason you decide to take your children here, there a numerous activities for children, zoos, botanical gardens and temples to visit, also it is possible to take a ferry to one of the near islands for a day on the beach, with possibilities for some fun on and in the sea. There are jet skis, banana boats and snorkelling.

For children’s diving, most dive shops have bubble maker Pool training at one of the many hotels in the city. Also the sheltered and shallow bays at the islands make nice locations for children to dive.

Elephant Trekking & Abuse

Please do not support Elephant torture and abuse by riding Elephants (or supporting Elephant performance) in Asia;

In Thai culture, the Phajaan or ‘the crush', is the torture method elephants undergo to become a part of the tourism industry. Essentially this involves cruel physical and mental abuse over long periods of time to make the Elephants submissive to humans.
Asian Elephant spines cannot support the weight of people. Carrying people on their backs all day often leads to permanent spinal injuries.
There is responsible Elephant tourism in Thailand - a good rule to remember is that if a tourist outfit offers anything other than getting to spend time with elephants, it is not friendly to them. 
Any outfit that offers riding, circuses or paintings means they have undergone horrific abuse in order to get them to where they are
Please do not support Elephant torture and make your travel companions aware of what lies behind this industry.
  • In Thai culture, the Phajaan or ‘the crush', is the torture method elephants undergo to become a part of the tourism industry. Essentially this involves cruel physical and mental abuse over long periods of time to make the Elephants submissive - starting as a calf
  • Asian Elephant's spines cannot support the weight of people. Carrying people on their backs all day often leads to permanent spinal injuries.
  • There is responsible Elephant tourism in Thailand - a good rule to remember is that if a tourist outfit offers anything other than getting to spend time with elephants, it is not friendly to them.
  • Remember; any outfit that offers riding, circuses or paintings means they have undergone horrific abuse in order to train the Elephants

You can help these magnificent animals by making your travel companions aware of what lies behind this industry. The main problem is a lack of awareness - most people have no idea! 

Dive Report is committed to raising awareness to the abuse suffered by Elephants used in the tourist industry. If you want to know more you can find out more hereherehere and here. Also see a PETA documentary video here.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Tips

As in any city, but perhaps especially due to the nature of Pattaya, there is plenty of petty crime, like pick pocketing and confidence tricks.

In the three days our Guide Editior was in the city fended off two attempts by a pick pocket - in daylight hours! This petty crime tends to be entered around the major tourist areas. A specific Tourist police division has been established to assist the foreign tourist when they become victims of this. It is recommended that you just take out the cash you need for the day, best to keep it in a money belt or an inaccessible pocket. Be wary of people bumping in to you or distracting you otherwise.

Playing Billiards, Credit

Make sure you bargain prices when buying things on the market, or when going to tourist places which are handled by local people.

Make use of the so-called ‘Baht-busses’, they drive throughout the whole city and if you stay on the standard routes it costs you 10 Baht to go from A-B on that route.

Dive Reports

X

Write a Dive Report for Pattaya

Attached files
No files attached
X

Share a tip about diving in Pattaya

X

Ask the dive community a Question

Rating 8/10

Koh Sak West - Deep reef - Shark searching

Pattaya6 Jun 2012 - 6 Jul 2012

Every time we go to Koh Sak West in Pattaya it is the challenge to go down to the deeper reef of Koh sak west (+/- 15-18m)

this area is a boulder area with a lot of holes which are good for small nurse / bamboo sharks to hide in

the same we did this time..

after swimming around for a few minutes without seeing any shark, we see 1 Cuttlefish at bit far away.

we swim up to it to take a closer look and take some pics

as we are there i just saw 1 more hole i needed to look inside.. and YES!! a shark.

but when i move my face a cuttlefish is just below me. i look to the right again and see we are surrounded by cuttlefish.

i think in total ending up with 5 cuttlefish around us and 1 shark.

Awesome dive!!!!

IMG1150 IMG1152 IMG1154 IMG1155 IMG1160
Wreck Diving Maldives

Adelina De la Luz

Ah the hours i have spent also looking under rocks for sharks. Good photos

Delete comment?

This will permanently delete the comment. Are you sure?

Your Dive Report has been published.

Would you like to share it on Facebook or Twitter?

Share it on Twitter Share on Twitter

Share it on Facebook Share on Facebook

No thanks - just show me the report

Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!