Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Lifestyle: Low season diving

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: As I watched my first rainy season blow in over the Andaman Sea in frightful gusts, I assumed it was time to pack up my dive gear and head over to Kata Beach with a longboard.

However, I wasn’t ready to throw the flippers overboard completely, because unlike Khao Lak, Phuket dive companies do run low season trips daily, so I said a prayer and decided to give “low season” diving a go.

Given the potential weather, I booked with one of the bigger day boats leaving Chalong Pier, Andaman Safaris’ well-equipped Chok Som Boon, which translates to “complete luck”.

It’s a gorgeous Sunday as we make our way out to Koh Phi Phi for our first two dives. The prevailing monsoon winds that tend to rip down and across Phuket’s west coast are not to be found. The sun has already warmed the top deck, making it the ideal place for a morning nap.

After a brilliant first dive, we splash in at Bida Nai for another.

Despite my briefing, I’m expecting relatively low visibility and a strong current when I hit the water – why else is it considered low season? Yes, our first dive at Bida Nok, perhaps Koh Phi Phi’s best dive site, had pristine diving conditions, but that must have been a fluke.

It wasn’t. The visibility at Bida Nai is stunning as we drop down to the reef.

Keeping in mind where our heads and tanks are, we work our way through a spacious swim through, easily avoiding a couple of lionfish floating in the shadows, and then we move out along the skirt of the reef.

Less than five minutes into the dive we encounter a sea turtle gobbling up mouths-full of bubble anemones – the highlight of a dive any day of the year.

A deep breath out, along with a release of air from my BCD, and I kneel on the sandy seafloor.

Not oblivious to us, but unperturbed by our presence, the turtle moves from one frothy bouquet of bubble anemone to another, taking several big bites from each as it goes.

Knees in the sand, I am awestruck – this is diving in the low season? But it’s picturesque.

“Lucky day, huh?” I ask the Andaman Ocean Safaris trip leader.

We are lucky to get all day sun, but what everyone is seeing: leopard sharks, octopi, blue spotted rays and sea turtles – all that is pretty standard, he explains.

So that’s “low season” diving. You just pop a couple of Dramamine in case the ocean gets rough in the less predictable weather and then can get pumped up about diving the eastern leeward side of some islands.

Sure, if a small storm does kick up it’s nice to be on one of the bigger boats, and you might have to switch dive sites from the unprotected pinnacles of Shark Point to the wall of Koh Doc Mai, where we had a run-in with a tiger sea horse and an ornate ghost pipefish.

Really, the biggest difference must be that on a bad day aboard the boat you might have to give up some topside sun time (as it’s probably raining), but you can still score some beautiful bottom time.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand20 mins ago

Thailand News Today | 29 provinces now on curfew, booze ban in Phuket

Insurgency55 mins ago

Volunteer ranger killed in grenade attack by suspected insurgents

Best of1 hour ago

Top 5 Spas in Koh Samui

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand1 hour ago

Hemp ice cream hits the Thai market

Chon Buri2 hours ago

Chon Buri sets local order, restaurants in malls to only offer food for delivery

Thailand2 hours ago

Samut Prakan man dies in fire, possibly self-inflicted

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Royal Thai Police say bitterleaf can’t cure Covid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 18,901 new cases, provincial totals

Thailand3 hours ago

Air Asia technician arrested for allegedly stealing electronics

Pattaya4 hours ago

“Pattaya Move On” reopening likely to be postponed as Covid cases surge

Thailand4 hours ago

3 metre long python caught near family’s house in Phuket

Thailand5 hours ago

Government says not to buy Favipiravir/Avigan online, says it might be fake

Phuket6 hours ago

Phuket bans alcohol sales at restaurants, issues order amid rise of Covid cases

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Mexican restaurants in Pattaya

Thailand6 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | New restrictions, new Red Line train in Bangkok, Covid latest

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8