Phuket is revered the world over for great diving and snorkeling. The island is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top-10 Scuba diving destinations. There are lots of interesting species of marine life to discover, as well as an abundance of corals and exciting rock formations in the crystal-clear, warm waters. Oftentimes, you’ll have visibility of up to 45 meters and surface temperatures of up to 28ºC.
You’ll see all different kinds of creatures while snorkeling or diving around Phuket. The location of the island is perfect – within easy reach of numerous beautiful sites. There are regular sightings of manta rays and whale sharks – and diving around Phuket is a year-round activity.
Snorkeling in Phuket
If you’ve never been diving but you still want to experience the thrill of the Andaman, a good place to start is by going snorkeling. Snorkeling doesn’t require a certificate and it’s a fun, relaxing way of seeing a big of the big blue while you’re on holiday in Phuket. You can usually hire or buy snorkeling gear at Phuket’s beaches.
Phuket has numerous places that are perfect for snorkeling. Kata Beach is a good place to start. Check out the northern and southern parts of the beach. Also a viable contender is Freedom Beach, which is worth visiting even if you don’t plan to go snorkeling. You’ll need to catch a longtail boat to Freedom Beach, but this shouldn’t set you back more than 200 baht return per person.
Koh Racha is another popular spot with snorkelers and divers alike. Boats leave daily from Patong Beach and Rawai Beach. The best way to see the waters around Koh Racha is to take a daytrip on board a speedboat. This will cost you about 1,000 baht per person, but it’s well worth it.
Diving in and around Phuket
There are some great dive sites near Phuket. Divers come from around the world to check these places out. One of the most popular is Koh Phi Phi, which is about two hours’ boat ride from Phuket. Phi Phi is worth spending a bit of time on as it’s a beautiful island, so there’s no reason why you can’t stay over on the island for a couple of days. Once you arrive on Koh Phi Phi, you’ll find that there are numerous operators waiting to ferry divers out to the best dive sites in the area.
There are a number of operators offering one-day tours from Phuket. They leave early in the morning, usually at about 7 am, and get back in the evening. You can generally get two or three dives in on these trips. Boats leave from the harbor in Chalong Bay. Check out some of the great site you’ll be able to visit:
Shark Point is a good spot for diving in Phuket. Known locally as Hin Mu Sang, Shark Point’s name is self-explanatory. You’ll mostly see leopard sharks in this area, so get those underwater cameras ready.
The King Cruiser wreck is an 85-meter catamaran that sank near Shark Point. It’s a great place to go diving in Phuket and there’s no reason why both destinations can’t be incorporated into a diving trip.
Anemone Reef is about a kilometer and a half north of Shark Point. It’s basically a huge submerged rock covered with lots of anemones. Again, it’s one of the most visited dive sites in Phuket.
As already mentioned, Koh Racha is a decent spot for diving off the coast of Phuket. The water is clear and there is lots to see. If you’re new to diving or just fancy taking it easy, give Koh Racha a try.
If you want to really experiencing diving in Phuket, you’re going to need to get yourself to the prime dive sites. These are located off Phuket’s west coast and the only way you can get to them is on a liveaboard. If you’re a dive enthusiast then you will have heard of places such as Richelieu Rock, Koh Surin, the Mergui Archipelago, Burma Banks and the Similan Islands. Check out Koh Huyong, the southernmost Similan island, for an unbelievable coral garden.
Phuket dive companies
There are lots of Phuket dive companies vying for your attention. It’s important to pick a company that you feel confident has your safety as the top priority. Be sure to shop around and not simply pounce on the first Phuket dive shop you come across. Do a bit of research on the companies you are thinking about diving with.
There are PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) courses available from Phuket dive operators. Among the dive operators we suggest you take a look at are:
Colona Dive Club
Ad: 9/96 Moo 4, Chao Fa Road, Phuket Country Home. Tel: 076-383223. Email: [email protected]
Liveaboards and sailing.
Ad: PO Box 397, Phuket 83000. Tel: 076-270-379. Web: www.diveh2osportz.com/phuket/index.htm Email: [email protected]
PADI dive center with various training programs and tours around Phuket.
Moskito Diving (Phi Phi)
Ad: Tonsai Bay, 111 Moo 7, 81000 Krabi. Tel: 012-291-361. Email: [email protected]
Trips, liveaboards and dive courses.
Ad: 7/26 Moo3 Thumbon Rassada, Amphur Muang, Phuket. Tel: 076-354-682. Web: www.thaisea.com Email: [email protected], [email protected]
PADI courses and diving trips around Phuket and to the Similan islands.
Phuket Scuba Diving & Similan Liveaboards (Phi Phi)
Ad: Tonsai Bay, 111 Moo 7, Phi Phi Island, Ao Nang, 81000 Krabi. Tel: 075-601-154. Web: www.thailand-liveaboard.com
Expert diving trips across the Andaman Sea, including at the Similan islands.
Sea Bees Diving
Ad: 1/3 Moo 9VWiset Road, Chalong Bay. Tel: 076-381-765. Web: www.sea-bees.com
Various trips and tours, as well as PADI and CMAS courses.
Sea King Divers
Ad: 20/24 Village 4, Soi Suksan, Viset Road, Rawai. Tel: 076-288-971. Web: www.seaking-diving.com Email: [email protected]
NAUI, PADI and BSAC courses available, as well as various day trips and liveaboards to the surrounding area.