8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand

PHOTO: By Chainarong Phrammanee via iStock

The islands of Thailand are possibly the most iconic in the world. And so is its ocean. It’s easy to see why most people feature diving on their Thailand bucket lists – the country has colourful coral reefs and diverse marine life. Regardless if you end up on the Andaman Seaside or the Gulf of Thailand side of the country, scuba diving is surely to be an unforgettable experience with plenty of bizarre, underwater scenery.

Thailand’s 8 Most Famous Diving Spots

1. Sail Rock, Koh Tao

8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Sail Rock, Koh Tao via padi.com

Known as the best place for diving in Thailand, Koh Tao features amazing marine life and cheap PADI certification centres. Here, you can go along with experienced divers and make friends with the iconic diving community. The most noteworthy place to jump in the water with scuba gear is Sail Rock. Also known as Hin Bai, the site is a 90-minute boat ride from the island but is well worth the trip. The dive site goes over 40 metres below the surface in some areas and because it is far away from the island, the marine life is vast. The rock’s cave-like structure is great for experienced divers who can enter and descend to about 8 metres while inside the rock!

2. Similan Islands

best diving spots in Thailand
PHOTO: White Saddle Shrimp, Similan Islands by Surachai Olarikded via Pixabay

As part of the Mu Koh Similan National Park, this cluster of islands features a wide array of marine life, including whale sharks. Just 50 miles from Phuket, the 11 secluded islands are some of the best in the world in which to snorkel and dive. As the area features hard and soft coral in crystal-clear waters, it is very popular with tourists. And, both the over and underwater views are stunning, making it a great choice for visiting a tropical island. Similan Islands will be open from 15 October 2023.

3. Surin Islands

Dolphins off the Surin Islands, best diving spots in Thailand
PHOTO: Dolphins off the Surin Islands by Doremee.suthatta via Wikimedia Commons

The Surin Islands coasts are some of the best places in which to dive in the world. Due to being in the Andaman Sea, which features translucent waters, snorkelling and diving is a delight as many things can be seen. Manta rays, whale sharks, and other marine life are abundant here. Located in Phang Nga Province, the stretch of islands is some of the most remote as they are about 37 miles from Thailand’s west coast. Although it is popular with tourists, getting here makes it less crowded as it requires a bit of planning. The untouched coral reefs, however, are worth visiting the islands as they have been part of the UNESCO development since 1981.

4. Koh Chang (HTMS Shipwreck)

Underwater shot of HTMS Chang wreck ship with school of fish and scuba divers. The ship built for the US Navy during World War II. A scuba diving shipwreck dive site near Koh Chang in Trat, Thailand.
PHOTO: HTMS Chang by Zephyr18 via iStock

Divers looking for a shipwreck to explore can find it off the island of Koh Chang. As it is one of the newest in Thailand, the HTMS Chang sunk on November 22, 2012. It is located 4 miles off the coast of the island, with the bottom of the vessel being 30 metres deep. The boat itself is 100 metres long, making it the largest shipwreck in the country.

5. Shark Point, Phuket

8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Shark Point, Phuket via via padi.com

Shark Point is just 90 minutes away by boat from Phuket, and once you get here, you will be impressed. If the name doesn’t give it away, here is where you can find Leopard Sharks. But don’t freak out, as the sharks are usually quite submissive to divers. Moreover, you will be with a group if you choose to jump in the waters as the only excursions offered are in the daytime. In addition to these sharks, divers report seeing colourful fish, vibrant soft coral, and Moray Eels, making the trip an absolute delight for nature lovers. The site itself is rather large, so it can take a few days to explore. The depth is about 10 to 30 metres, making it great for divers of any skill level.

6. Koh Ma

8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Koh Ma via padi.com

This dive site is one of the best for beginners as it offers a great way to get certified for the first time. However, just because it isn’t a difficult dive, doesn’t mean it isn’t full of marine life. Located off Mae Haad Beach on Koh Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Ma is home to an abundance of sea life. Here, divers can see colourful parrotfish and even barracudas! The island is attached to Koh Pha Ngan by only a sandbar, but because of its attachment, it is easy to access without a boat. Moreover, the island features a few places to stay overnight if you are looking for a quieter time away from the hippie island of Koh Pha Ngan.

7. King Cruiser Wreck, Phuket

8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: King Cruiser Wreck, Phuket via padi.com

Despite Phuket offering loads of attractions on land, it also offers an excellent underwater world for those who enjoy diving. The King Cruiser Wreck is the most popular as it features an abundance of coral and marine life. However, unlike other shipwrecks that were purposefully sunk to create artificial reefs, this one crashed. On May 4, 1977, the King Cruiser ran into the Anemone Reef while travelling between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, sealing its underwater fate. Thus, its 500 passengers were forced to jump ship, luckily surviving the wreck. Now, over 40 years later, the site has attracted marine life and corals making it eerily stunning. The site is located around 33 metres deep, while the ship itself, is 85 metres long.

8. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang

8 Most famous diving spots in Thailand | News by Thaiger
PHOTO: Hin Daeng via dive-the-world.com

These 2 dive sites are among the most famous in Thailand. They are protected by the Mu Koh Lanta National Park and lie in the Phang Nga Bay. Quiet and serene, Hin Daeng island itself is a great place to relax beachside. However, many divers say this particular underwater experience was life-changing. The soft corals here are different shades of red and are surrounded by the likes of manta rays and sharks. Hence, the island features the word “daeng,” which means “red” in the Thai language. Furthermore, its neighbouring island of Hin Muang, or Purple Rock, in the Thai language is equally impressive with its soft, purple coral. And, its vertical wall is the tallest in Thailand, with 1 side reaching a depth of 60 metres!

Thailand’s diving scene is considered some of the world’s best as countless underwater explorers come back raving about their experiences. Here, the many islands in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea create a scenic backdrop that is bursting with colourful marine life. From a beginner to expert skill level, the turquoise waters cater to those wanting an experience of a lifetime.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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