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Diving in Thailand

Thailands Top Dive Destinations

Thailand, the former Kingdom of Siam, lies between the Gulf of Thailand to the east and the Andaman Sea to the west. This particular South East Asian country offers perfect beaches, dense jungle, Buddhist temples and of course, diving sites that you can only dream of. In contrast to many other dive sites in the world, Thailand also has the advantage of offering many different possibilities for excursions even on diving-free days. This makes Thailand an ideal destination for diving holidays, combining the worlds of underwater exploration, sightseeing, relaxation and even little bit of evening bustle.

Ang Thong Thailand
Skimmer Thailand
Na Muang Waterfall Koh Samui


Diving is possible everywhere in Thailand, but the best and most famous dive sites are on the west coast in the Andaman Sea. Spots like the Similan Islands, the Phi Phi Islands and Richelieu Rock attract divers from all over the world. The dive sites are impressive, with their breath-taking cliffs and rock formations, tiny caves and wrecks, as well as the colourful coral gardens that boast a huge diversity of marine life.

Box fish
Koh Bida Noi
Koh Bida Noi

Phuket: the gateway to diving in the Andaman Sea

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island. The diving excursions that take place here mainly consist of day trips out on a boat. There are also a few dive sites that can be reached directly from the beach or by long-tail boat, but the most beautiful sites like the Similans and Koh Phi Phi are all a little further away. The further away from the island, the better the visibility.

Tauchen in Phuket

Some beautiful spots like Shark Point and Rach Noi are around a 45-minute boat ride from the island. The fascinating landscape along the tropical reef includes towering underwater rocks and cliffs that lie at an average depth of 18 to 30 metres. The area is populated by anemones, as well as hard and soft corals, but there are also rays, leopard sharks, barracudas and very trusting morays.

Barracudas Thailand
Walshark Rhincodon typus

The King Cruiser Wreck is the most famous dive site of Phuket

The King Cruiser wreck is also nearby. For a long time it was the only submerged wreck in the vicinity of Phuket. The ferry struck the anemone reef in May 1997 and it remains there today.

Leopard Shark at King Cruiser Wreck
Leopard shark at King Cruiser Wreck

Here you can find more informations about diving sites of Phuket.


Although Thailand's top dive spots are on the west coast near Phuket and Khao Lak, in the east the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan offer beautiful dive sites.

Ko Samui

Ko Samui is Thailand's third largest island and is a good hour's flight from Bangkok into the Gulf of Thailand. Known mainly for its export of coconuts and pineapples, the island was "discovered" by hippies in the Seventies. The location was considered to be an insider tip for backpackers and was essentially left alone by tourists. But with the construction of an airport in 1989, more travellers started to arrive and luxury hotels began to capitalise on the island’s beauty.

Koh Samui Beach
Lamanai Beach Thailand
Koh Samui Beach

From a diving point of view Koh Samui is not ideal. Better dive sites are located near Koh Tao and full day trips are offered from Koh Samui.

The best dive spots in the Gulf of Thailand are the reefs around Koh Tao

Not far from the popular holiday island of Koh Samui and only forty kilometres northwest of Ko Phangan lies Koh Tao, the smallest of the tourist islands in the Samui archipelago. The island, covered by never-ending coconut palms, is considered a jewel of the Gulf of Thailand. The flat, golden beaches and bays are interrupted by picturesque rock formations, making the island a tropical dream.

Diving in Koh Tao

The name Ko Tao can be translated as Turtle Island and dates back to the time when the sea around the island was inhabited by a large number of sea turtles that buried their eggs in the island’s sand. Until the 1930s the location was essentially uninhabited. Rarely, a few fishermen would come from the neighbouring islands. Because of the great distance to the mainland, the small island was used as a penal colony, mainly for political prisoners, until 1947.

From prison island to diver hang out

In recent years Koh Tao has experienced a boom. At first, some underwater enthusiasts would come by boat from Koh Samui to see the local reefs, considered to be one of the best diving areas in the Gulf of Thailand. Sightings of whale sharks, stingrays, reef sharks and turtles promised unforgettable dives. The island maintains this reputation to this day. More and more travellers wanted to travel to Koh Tao for this reason and soon hotels and diving schools were built on the island.

The islands of Ang Thong National Park

Ang Thong Marine National Park is a group of about 40 islands located in the Gulf of Thailand about 35 km or two and half hours from Ko Samui by boat. The overhanging rocks of the islands can be explored by kayak. The crystal-clear water is perfect for snorkel excursions. It’s only around November that the sea often gets so turbulent that the Ang Thong Marine National Park cannot be reached by boat.

Ang Thong Nationalpark
Ang Thong Nationalpark
Ang Thong Nationalpark
Ang Thong Nationalpark

Best time to dive in Thailand

Diving in Thailand is possible all year round, but depending on the season, water temperatures and visibility vary considerably. The high season, with optimal conditions for a diving holiday, is from the end of November to the beginning of April. While the water temperatures in these months are 25 to 29 degrees, the water cools down to 22 to 25 degrees from May to September. Visibility changes a lot from season to season. From December to April you can expect visibility of 15 to 25 meters; from May to September, it is often less than 10 meters.

Read This Text in German:
Beste Tauchgebiete in Thailand

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Weitere Artikel in deutscher Sprache:

Tauchen Phuket
Tauchgebiete in Phuket Rund um Phuket gibt es mehr als 50 Tauchplätze. Die meisten werden in Tagesausflügen angefahren. Die Riffe hier gehören zu den besten, die ich je auf meinen Tauchreisen gesehen habe. [mehr]
Tauchen Koh Tao
Abtauchen in Koh Tao Tauchen auf Koh Samui ist nicht möglich. Es werden aber Ausfahrten zur 70 Kilometer entfernten Insel Koh Tao angeboten, DER Taucherinsel in der Region. Auf der Insel reihen sich gefühlt hunderte von Tauchschulen entlang der Strandpromenade von Sairee Beach aneinander. [mehr]

Tauchen Koh Tan
Schnorcheln in Ko Taen Wer auf Koh Samui weilt und die Unterwasserwelt sehen will, kann im Süden der Insel nach Ko Taen (auch Koh Tan) übersetzen. [mehr]
King Cruiser
Das Wrack der KING CRUISER vor Phuket Der 85 m lange Stahlkatamaran KING CRUISER ist eines der größten Wracks um Phuket in Thailand. Das Schiff wurde vor etwa 30 Jahren in Japan gebaut und als Fähre zwischen Phuket und Phi-Phi eingesetzt. Am 4. Mai 1997, einem sonnigen und ruhigen Tag, rammte die Fähre auf ihrem Weg von Phuket nach Phi Phi das von Tauchern gern angelaufene Anemonen-Riff. [mehr]

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Reefguide Thailand / Fischführer Thailand

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