Diving Phuket

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Phuket, Thailand

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Country: Thailand  Area: Thailand

Water Temp: 27 - 31°C (81 - 88°F)

Visibility: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

Depth Range: 10 - 40m (33 - 131 ft)

Turtle Breeding Season - Oct to Mar

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Thailand’s largest island and most popular tourist destination provides everything any holiday maker could want, exquisite white sand beaches, warm balmy turquoise sea, a busy nightlife, and more importantly access to the top Thailand diving. 

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Phuket, also known as “The Pearl of the South” is Thailand largest island is on the Andaman Coast and is joined to the Southern tip of the mainland by a pair of short bridges. Although due to its popularity many areas have been heavily built up and get very crowded during peak season, such as the main resort of Patong, but even so there are still lots of areas to be found that are quieter and unspoilt.

The Andaman coast is home to a huge array of marine life including the chance to dive with two of the biggest plankton feeders of the sea, the Whale Shark and Manta Ray, along with other popular marine life such as Hawksbill Turtles and a variety of Reef Sharks which is why it is known as some of the best diving in Thailand.

Beauty underneath Phuket, Credit

Climate

The climate in this area is tropical so although it is lovely and warm for most of the year it does have a monsoon season from May to late October. During this period there are some rainy days but a lot of the time it is still sunny with just a late afternoon heavy shower. The monsoon does make the Andaman Sea very rough with high winds so the dive liveaboards and shore diving tends to shut down during this period and only run from November to Apri. Although the liveaboards and shore diving capabilities all shut down most dive schools still run day boat trips to local sites such as Racha Noi Island throughout the monsoon season. These are very dependent on the weather and can be interrupted by bad weather conditions.

Refreshing! Credit

It’s advisable to also avoid December and January as this is peak season, accommodation can be hard to find and is more expensive, and the dive sites are very crowded. The best time to visit is from February to April when the weather will be at its best, the seas at their calmest, the dive sites less crowded but also have the highest chance of big pelagic encounters with manta rays and whale sharks. The water temperature is warm and pleasant year round with the coolest temperatures during the monsoon and warmest time being late March to May.

Marine Conservation

Marine Turtles have been legally protected in Thailand for many years. At Thai Muang National Park beach, just north of Phuket, every March there is a seven day event to release young turtle hatchlings. Leatherback and Olive Ridley are the two main nesting turtles on this beach and the young turtles are raised by the Fisheries Department and then the event is used to promote conservation efforts and local awareness of the need to protect marine turtles.

The Royal Thai Navy has an active role in the Turtle protection and patrol the beaches at the Similan and Surin Islands watching for intruders and poachers. They also protect the Green and Hawksbill eggs for natural predators like birds and reptiles and once hatched they collect them up and take them to a protection centre where they are raised for another 6 months to give them the best chance of survival before being released into the ocean.

Yellow fish, Credit

 
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Wildlife Calendar

                           
                       
                       
                                           

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Shore Diving

Phuket shore dives are mainly along the west coast of the island. This dives are quick and perfect for those who are travelling with a family or non divers and don’t want to be out diving all day. 

Coral i n Phuket, Credit

There are a variety of sites for all levels, but most are shallow sites perfect for beginners or training divers. Although most experienced divers go on trips further afield to more exciting and deeper sites it is worth to take a day to also explore these interesting shore dives. Popular sites ate Kata Reef, Karon rock and Koh Pu. These sites are great for photographers with a diverse macro life such as Ghost Pipefish, Stick Pipefish, Shrimps, nudibranches as well as an abundance of reef fish and corals and sometimes even an some Whitetip Reef Sharks can be spotted feeding near the reefs. The shallowness of the sites means it is also a great place for snorkelers and swimmers to also share in the beauty of the reefs.

Caution must be given to the many long tail boats and Jet skis along the coast. When surfacing bear in mind that you may not be seen so try and always surface underneath a marker buoy, and if possible have surface cover to warn the jet skis and boats that there are divers in the area. Shore dives during the monsoon can be very dangerous due to rough seas and winds and only run November to April.

Diving Phuket's underwater world, Credit

Day Trips

Phuket caters for all levels of diver as there is such a variety of dive sites available. As well as the famous further afield sites visited by liveaboard there are lots of excellent sites local to Phuket such as the Islands of Racha Yai and Racha Noi.

Racha Noi is popular for spotting Manta Rays and occasional Whale Sharks. This site is the best in the local area outside of the Similans and can be dived by divers of all levels. One side has strong currents and only suitable for experienced divers, but around the island there are many sites suitable for beginners.

Racha Yai is a granite island which means it always has great, clear visibility. It has many shallow protected bays which means that it can be dived year round as whatever the winds are up to there is always somewhere protected that can be dived. It has a diverse selection of marine life including Titan Triggerfish, anemonie fish, moray eels, cuttlefish and octopus.

Eel, Credit

Liveaboard Trips

Liveaboards run up the Andaman Coast to the Similan Islands and sites such as Koh Bon and also down towards Koh Phi Phi. These trips only run in peak season and shut down during the monsoon due to high winds and rough seas.

Richelieu Rock is regarded as the best place in Thailand to see Whale Sharks from February to April. This can only be reached by liveaboard boat from Phuket. The site has amazing biodiversity of marine life ranging from lionfish, seahorses, pipefish and moray eels so even without a whale shark it is a wonderful dive and a photographers dream.

School of fish, Credit

One of the best places to see Mantas is Koh Bon, 40km north of the Similan's and included in lots of the liveaboard trips from Phuket. It’s very different to the Similan Islands, as it is a Limestone rock where as the Similan's are granite. This means different underwater colours and nutrients for marine life to feed on. This location is not a dive for inexperienced divers as there can be strong fierce currents, which the mantas love to feed in.

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How to Get there

Phuket Island is one of the top tourist destinations in Thailand, and is easily accessible with an International Airport providing flights to many destinations around the world and many domestic destinations. It is also very accessible by boat or road from the rest of Thailand.

Phuket, Thailand, Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

Phuket is a main tourist destination so has a wide selection of bars and restaurants all over the island offering every type of cuisine.

Crab, Credit

One novel dining experience are Phuket’s floating seafood restaurants which can be found along the east coast and long tails from Laem Hin pier take you out to the restaurants which sit halfway between the coast and Koh Maprow. Within the restaurants there are nets where life fish and crabs are stored. Although the prices in these restaurants are higher than Thai restaurants it’s worth it for the unique experience and beautiful setting.

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Other Activities

Phuket has a huge choice of water sports other than diving in Thailand. You can whizz around the calm turquoise water on a jet ski or get towed behind a speedboat paragliding to take it the areas amazing scenery from the air.

The beach crowd, Credit

There are also many other activities and sites worth taking time to see from hiking, mountain biking, muay thai boxing or visiting any of the beautifully intricate temples.

Phuket also has a huge range of shops where you can pick up great souvenirs or get some suits or dresses tailor made in thai silk to your exact specifications.

Elephant in Khao Sok National Park, Credit

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 the Elephants 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.

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Tips

Thai vendors can sometimes make some people feel uncomfortable. They can approach you with goods to buy or  to persuade you to enter their shops or restaurant. A calm and clear, “No, thank you,” will usually do the trick.

Hovering alone! Credit

The nearest international hospital is in Phuket which also has two diving recompression chambers.

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Rating 6/10

Scuba Diving Phuket Day Trip

Phuket4 Feb 2015 - 15 Feb 2015

Sss Phuket deals in scuba diving phuket, scuba diving courses phuket, snorkeling phuket, surfing thailand, phuket scuba diving, thailand scuba diving, scuba diving etc. Learn To Scuba Dive and discover a whole new world underwater! Already a certified diver? Improve your dive techniques with advanced courses or explore the islands and dive sites Koh Racha Yai, King Cruiser Wreck, Koh Dok Mai, Shark Point, Koh Phi Phi and Anemone Reef around Phuket. Be sure that it would leave you asking for more!

More to read:- http://www.sssphuket.com/en/

best Scuba Diving Thailand
phuket scuba diving

Jean Brice

Diving In Phuket

Rating 8/10

King Cruiser Wreck

Phuket24 Jan 2015 - 24 Jan 2015 with Rumblefish Adventure

Great dive site with rich marine life. The wreck itself is rooted beyond 30m, but from where we were hovering around 25m, there was plenty to marvel at. Make your way inside the wreck and you’ll be swimming into large schools of fish. Giant pufferfish and lots of lionfish as well, and beautiful corals nestled onto the deck of the ship. Look out at the seabed around the ship as well – that’s where we saw (our first) leopard shark snoozing on the sandbank. Amazing experience!

Rating 8/10

Night Dive at Kata Reef, Phuket

Phuket31 Oct 2014 - 2 Nov 2014 with Rumblefish Adventure

One of Thailand’s top shore dive sites, Kata Beach North Reef is opened and the diving has been awesome. With easy walk-in conditions, relaxed shallow dives, Kata Reef lets divers take their time to take photos of some of the coolest and weirdest creatures in the Andaman Sea. In our first week, we have found Robust ghost pipefish, juvenile Reef cuttlefish, Reef octopus and on Halloween Night, a first time sighting of the rare Starry night octopus.

From now until the end of April, daily day and night dives, beginners or experienced all can dive here. It's a great dive site for long, slow and relax dives. You can log as long 100 minutes on 1 tank if you're good on air.

Starry.night.Octo Justin.Lee cuttlfish.small hermitcrab.small Scorpionfish.small
moo

Nick T. Morrison

Looks good! Octopus looks a great sighting.

Rating 7/10

Open water Diving course

Phuket5 Dec 2012 - 7 Dec 2012

# Learnt diving at "Sea Fun Divers Co. Ltd. ".

Very professional service with absolute clarity. Loved the one on one training.

Rating 10/10

SIMILAN - KOH BON - KOH TACHAI - SURIN - RICHELIEU ROCK

Phuket1 Nov 2012 - 31 Dec 2013

SIMILAN ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGOS. Visibility: 20-40m. Depth: 3-40m.

Marine life: The Similan Islands can claim as one of the top 10 destinations in Asia with over 20-30 different dives. On the East Coast, the dives are on gentle slopes and drop-offs of fish teeming with impressive gardens of sea anemones and corals flourishing hard or soft. Dives on the west coast is completely different. Here, huge granite boulders cascade down to the bottom at depths of 40m or more. The strong currents prevent the accumulation of sand between the rocks, promoting the formation of a network of tunnels, arches and caves to explore. The currents bring nutrients for masses of gorgonians, crinoids, soft corals and lush. Pelagic like whale sharks or reef sharks, manta rays, the eagle ray, barracuda, kingfish and tuna are frequently observed.

MV Andaman Seafarer Phuket Thailand 003 MV Andaman Seafarer Dinghy MV Andaman Seafarer Dinghy 02 MV Andaman Seafarer Buffet Lunch MV Andaman Seafarer Relax
Rating 8/10

Racha Yai

Phuket23 Oct 2012 - 23 Oct 2012

Great days diving yesterday with many different marine animals around.

Racha Yai is the closest site to Phuket, it is an island with around12 dive sites on it, ideal for beginners to any level of diver.

We did 3 dives there yesterday with 30m+ visibility.

Dive 1 saw western clown fish, schooling barracuda, and cuttlefish at Lucy Reef.

Just a short boat ride away was the Haruby wreck. Schools of Batfish, devil scorpion fish and giant puffers were around.

The final dive was on Home run, here we had fimbriated and snowflake Morays, ghost pipe fish and mating octopus.

Great days diving with flat calm sea and relaxed atmosphere.

DSC00221 clownfish IMG1316
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Catherine Jones

Fantastic puffer photo! Its weird seeing his mouth like that...

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