Select Page’s team of PADI Scuba Instructors presents:

A Complete Guide to Diving in Thailand

Map of Thailand

Weather in Thailand

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Thailand






Thai (English)

With more than 349 named dive sites, great visibility, perfect warm water all year round, beautiful reefs full of corals and some of the best marine life in the world, Thailand is THE perfect dive destination.

Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, and once you go diving here you’ll see why!

The authors behind the guide:

Torben Lonne

Torben Lonne

Dive instructor and Author

Torben spend most of his youth diving and teaching diving. Along his way, he passed Thailand where he worked as a PADI scuba instructor on dive centers and liveabords.
Boby Taylor

Boby Taylor

Thailand Expert and Co-author

Boby has a passion for diving and a love for Thailand. She came here for the first time when she was 12 and been back multible times since.
So, if you’re ready we can start planning your dive trip to Thailand.

There’s much you need to know beforehand, but in this guide, we’ve tried to make it easily accessible.

Best Diving in Thailand

  1. Richelieu Rock – Dived from Kao Lak
  2. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang – Dived from Koh Lanta or Krabi
  3. Koh Dok Mai – Dived from Phuket.
  4. Koh Bon – Dived from Kao Lak
  5. Similan Islands – Dived from Kao Lak
  6. Chumphon Pinnacle – Dived from Koh Tao.
  7. Koh Tachai – Dived from Kao Lak
  8. HTMS Sattakut Wreck.
  9. Sail Rock – Dived from Koh Tao or Koh Samui
  10. Koh Haa – Dived from Koh Lanta or Krabi

The main diving areas of Thailand

Diving in Thailand is sorted in two main areas:

1. The Andaman Sea, stretching all down the west coast of Thailand

Tropical islands set in the Andaman Sea provide a variety of diving to suit just about everyone.

Tropical and coral marine life creates a breathtaking underwater vista that is quite unlike any other.

These waters also afford you the opportunity to dive with leopard sharks, whale sharks, and manta rays, amongst other fascinating creatures.

Diving areas of the Andaman Sea: Phi Phi islands, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Krabi, Phuket, Similan Island/Khao Lak area.

2. The Gulf of Thailand

Diving the Gulf of Thailand is great for a beginner doing advanced courses or for travelers looking for their first dive course.

The gulf also offers amazing spots for experienced divers to enjoy a calm, nice and relaxing dive with the chances to see a whale shark.

Diving areas in the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Tao Island and Koh Samui.

There’s many reasons to go diving in Thailand:

The conditions in Thailand’s water seem made for divers.

With warm, clear waters year round and a few hundred dive sites from which to choose, it’s no wonder that divers flock here.

The many dive sites offer options for all levels of divers, from novices to the most experienced.

Just about anyone can enjoy this underwater wonderland. This guide will provide you with detailed information about scuba diving in Thailand.

Types of diving in Thailand

Reef Diving in Thailand

There are many beautiful coral reefs to see in Thailand. Fortunately, these reefs are protected by the goverments, preserving them for the benefit of the marine ecosystem – not to mention the pleasure of us.

More than half of the coral reefs are found in Thailand’s 26 National Marine Parks.

Three of these parks have been put forward as possible World Heritage Sites: Similan islands, Koh Surin, and Koh Tarutao.

Wreck Diving in Thailand

Several large wrecks have become fascinating artificial reefs teeming with marine life.

Some of the more popular wrecks include the HTMS Sattakut, HTMS Khram, and HTMS Chang.

Drift Diving in Thailand

Gentle currents allow for scenic drift dives through the underwater splendor on offer in Thailand.

A few of the popular options include Koh Rok Nai, Koh Similan, East of Eden, and Turtle Rock.

How to dive Thailand?

There are two ways to dive Thailand:

Liveaboard diving in Thailand

Choosing to invest in a liveaboard diving trip is a fantastic way to expeience some of the best dive sites, that are a further away from the shores and resorts on land.

And Thailand do have great liveaboard options that’ll most likely suit your needs and preferences.

No matter your budget, intended duration of the cruise, the number of divers, or level of expertise, you will find a liveaboard option in Thailand.

See the selection of Liveaboards in Thailand Tips for liveaboard diving:

  • Remember to pack proof of your diver certification as well as your log book.
  • You can expect an average of four dives per day on most liveaboards.
  • Limit the valuables you pack – onboard safes can be quite small.
  • Bring your dive light, as night dives are frequently offered.

Day trip diving in Thailand

The really good thing about diving in Thailand is that every dive site can be reached on a day trip.

Day trips do take a whole day when going to spots like Similan Islands or Hin Daeng or Hin Muang, but you’ll get there, do great diving, and get back in time for dinner.

Facts about diving in Thailand

  • More reef diving that you can imagine: Thailand as an astonishing 153 km2 of coral reef 
  • Great spots to see Whale Sharks & Manta Rays
  • 2125 different species of fish
  • 24 different Liveaboards in Thailand that are possible to embark on
  • Koh Tao is the place that issues 2. most dive certificates in the world
  • Similan Islands has often been ranked as one of the top diving sites in the world
  • The best time to dive in the Andaman Sea is from November to April
  • And the Gulf of Thailand from May to September
  • Thailand can be dived all year round
“Diving in Thailand is possible all year round”

Best time to dive in Thailand

Each area also has a different season that is perfect for divers. This also makes diving in Thailand possible all year round.

One of the advantages of Thailand’s geographical location is that the water temperature is constant throughout the year.

The water temperature is 26˚C to 30˚C all year round.

Best diving season for Andaman Sea:

Most divers make their way to Thailand between November and April, with the peak tourist season being December and January.

  • Peak diving season: From November to April.
  • Krabi, Phi Phi and Phuket can be dives all year round
  • Koh Libe and Koh Lanta are closed(or mostly closed) from June to October
  • Similands islands National park is open from November 16 to May 15

Best diving season for the Gulf of Thailand:

Thailand offers superb diving conditions for divers of all levels of experience. Warm waters, great visibility, manageable currents, and loads of dive sites at depths from 5 to 40+ meters. The best time to dive in Thailand depends on where you are planning on diving and what you would like to see.

  • Peak diving season: October to April.
  • Best time for whale shark sightings: February to May.
  • Best time of year for manta ray sightings: February to May.
  • Best time to dive the Gulf of Thailand: May to October (off season for the west coast).

Diving in the Similan Island

This small collection of islands is regarded by many as being the prime dive destination that Thailand has to offer. In fact, it is frequently hailed as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.

Here the landscape consists of everything from rock formations to bright corals and huge gorgonian sea fans. The beautiful coral gardens and deep rocky gorges are a dream come true for most divers.

The Similan islands offer a great variety of diving across several sites. You can either explore sloping coral reefs or intricate rock formation. Similan Island’s reef system is composed bommies where you will be diving in between mounds filled with vibrant-colored corals. The Similan Islands are dived either on a day trip from Khao Lak or via one of the many Liveaboards in the Similan area.

The last option is recommended because you skip the 1,5-2 hour trip each way, and have the option of morning and afternoon dive when the area is less crowded.

Read more about diving in Similan Islands


Diving in Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta continues to be a popular tourist and diving destination after massive restoration efforts following the tsunami. You will enjoy stunning white beaches and amazing dive sites scattered over 70 islands surrounding Koh Lanta. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are the 2 most popular sites in Koh Lanta. As well as Koh Haa, also know as the 5 islands. You can go drift diving over a series of ledges while cruising along strong currents.

Phi Phi islands are also done on a day trip from Koh Lanta, so you’ll really get a great chance to experience a great variety of Thailand’s diving.

Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng means ‘red rock’. This submerged pinnacle is home to a variety of soft corals in every imaginable shade of red.

Although there is plenty of small marine life to attract divers here, it is the lure of manta ray and whale shark sightings for which Hin Daeng is most popular.

Hin Muang

Hin Muang means ‘purple rock’ and, like Hin Daeng is named for the colorful soft corals that cover this rock formation.

Divers will discover the highest vertical wall in Thailand at this site – and what a sight it is! Here you will hopefully see big fish, manta rays, leopard sharks, and grey reef sharks.


Diving in Phi Phi Island

Previously devastated by the 2004 tsunami, Phi Phi Island has stood back and slowly regaining back its crown as a world-famous diving destination.

You will surely enjoy warm water diving in protected reefs, pinnacles, vertical drop-offs and miniature underwater caves.

Marine life around the Phi Phi area is great and full on thriving. Which makes this a very popular dive destination in the Andaman Sea, with loads of easily accessible dives sites for divers of all levels to explore the incredibly beautiful coral reefs.

The Phi Phi Islands are reached from the Phi Phi island on a 5-minute boat ride, or on a day trip from Phuket, Koh Lanta or Krabi. There are many visitors opting for a day trip to this slice of idyllic (but bit crowded) paradise.


Diving in Krabi

Krabi (ao nang) is a great destination if you’re looking for a good holiday with easy access to good diving.

Around Ao Nang, there’s a great option of doing a few local spots which are rich in marine life, but visibility can be variable. It’s short distances and done via the traditional long tail boat.

Koh Phi Phi is also here a premier dive destination, that’s done as a day trip. Phi Phi offers a great many different dive sites all the way around the islands and plenty of marine life.

Other dive spots you can do from Ao Nang are: Koh Haa Yai, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang, Shark Point, Anemone Reef, and last but not least King Cruiser Wreck.

Diving in Phuket

Phuket is a popular diving destination in Thailand, if not in the world.

Exploring Phuket’s underwater realm will take you to go reef, night, drift and deep diving where you can see barrel sponges, sea whips, gorgonians, groupers, jacks, and barracudas.

You can also have a great wreck diving experience by descending down along a limestone cliff where a former car ferry is resting. You can also plan and explore an artificial structure made up of stone elephants which is a popular icon in Thailand.

Dive trips from Krabi and Phuket, will often also include Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Phi Phi islands. Or you’ll have the option of going on a liveaboard to the Similan Islands


Diving in Koh Lipe

This small island located near Malaysia is not yet among Thailand’s most traveled destinations.

Being part of a marine park, Koh Lipe has a long list of dive site offering great scuba diving experience.

Advanced divers can go drift diving in an inter-connected plateau formed from various pinnacles. Novice divers can also enjoy a similar site but with the protection of shallow coral reefs.

Diving along moderate currents in a narrow channel filled with soft corals and large coral bommies is also popular in Koh Lipe.


Diving in Koh Tao Island

Underwater rock formations, tunnels, and swim throughs are the major attraction when you visit Koh Tao Island.

The Koh Tao underwater landscape is a very popular destination to learn scuba diving.

Many of Thailand’s young traveling tourists pass by and most of them end up doing an open water certification here. Due to the many students, courses in Koh Tao are often done in big groups of 8 students at a time.

The massive granite protrusions of Koh Tao are the most visited sites.

Here you see a lot of tropical reef fishes while having an amazing wall, deep and drift diving experience. You can also consider diving with sharks wherein Koh Tao’s southwest coast has a good shark population.


Diving in Koh Samui

Dive trips from Koh Samui will often go to Sail Rock or to Koh Tao, as diving around Koh Samui isn’t the best.

Sail Rock is located some 30 miles (45 kilometers) north of Koh Samui, so it’s prefect for a day dive trip. Another similar site is the Southwest Pinnacles.

This is broken granite protrusion covered with soft and hard corals. The natural ledge creates a stunning site for wall diving where you can find jacks, barracudas and leopard sharks.


Facts and info about diving in Thailand

Current in Thailand

Depending on the location of your dive and the weather conditions, you might encounter strong currents. This is particularly the case with dive sites such as some of those in the Similan Islands where strong currents swirl around rock formations. However, Thai waters offer many sites that tend to have gentle and manageable currents – often allowing for enjoyable drift dives.

Visibility in Thailand

No matter where you dive in Thailand, you can generally be assured of good visibility. On average, visibility in the waters surrounding Thailand measures an impressive 30 meters (100 feet).


There are dive sites worth seeing at all depths. For recreational divers, there are plenty of beautiful dive spots that range from 5 to 40 meters. For more experienced divers with the relevant qualifications, there are also sites to explore beyond 40 meters.

Snorkeling in Thailand

If you fancy some time on the surface or are going on holiday with non-divers, there are plenty of options for fantastic snorkeling in Thailand. The warm climate and clear blue waters allow for incredible sights from the surface. From turtles to corals and schools of tropical fish, there is a never-ending array of delights in Thailand’s best snorkeling sites.
Have you been diving in Thailand? Let us know what you think of it:


  1. Diana H

    Thanks for the guide, will come in handy when I go to thailand in january.
    Can you recommend any centers to dive with?
    What is the normal price range in Thailand for a couple of dives?

  2. Torben Lonne

    Diana H
    Hope it will come in handy. Where in Thailand are you going? Prices vary a lot from region to region and depending on how far there is to the dive spot.
    I think the cheapest I’ve encountered was around 1800 thai baht and most expensive was 6000 bath.

  3. Jake Dell

    Loved the video at the top of the page! There were a few scenes with many black tipped sharks. What kind of sharks are they and do they pose any threat to humans while diving in the beautiful waters of Thailand? Also, any dive spots around Thailand without sharks? Thanks much! JD

  4. Torben Lonne

    Hi Jake,
    In Thailand you’ll mostly see Nurse and whitetip reef sharks, they are booth very harmless. Just don’t go and bother then, and they’ll leave you be. Most spots are without sharks, but you might be lucky and see one passing by. Sharks are really no threat to divers, as long as you’re not feeding them or spearfishing.

  5. antonio

    Wooow amazing place!! I must go to Thailand

  6. Torben Lonne

    Do it, there’s really great diving. And it’s possible to dive all year round, either in the golf of Thailand or by the Andaman sea.

  7. Gena D

    I saw about three Sharks on my first dive in Thailand. Love the place.

  8. Torben Lonne

    That is quite good, most dives we don’t get that many. There are a few dive spots around, where the numbers are going up, but you’ll ahve to be lucky. What dive did you do?

  9. Bibi Jolie

    A must if you love diving! I’ve been diving in Thailand for many years, and it’s really, really amazing. I can recommend Phi Phi, Hin Deang and the Similan islands. You will really great amazing diving, and the Thai people are so friendly, so vacation here is amazing. I started backpacking through Thailand, and now I’m coming back to show this country to my children.

  10. Torben Lonne

    Hi Bibi,

    Yes, Thailand it both beautiful above and below. It sounds like you did a lot of great diving there. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Stevie

    Hello. Does anyone know where in Thailand you can stay and work for accommodation where they also offer diving.

  12. Torben Lonne

    Well, depending on your skills, you’ll be able to find this at a dive center.

    The location shouldn’t matter, but more what you can offer in return. If you can teach diving then you should go for a paid job, but if you can offer simple skills like marketing, Webdesign, etc. and they are interested in your help you can either get paid like everyone else or go for accommodation and diving.

    There’s plenty of opportunities in Thailand, so it’s more about what you can offer them, than finding the place.

  13. Tim

    Great website and information.

    Can you recommend the best places to dive in October, as it seems quite a few are closed then. I’m quite new to diving and would like to do a refresher course and 2-3 dives.

  14. Boby

    October is not the best time for diving in Thailand, as there’s really unpredictable weather all around. Still there are some options that include good diving and a relaxing atmosphere because there’s less tourists.

    The Gulf of Thailand (koh Samui and Koh Tao) can be dived all year round, but from October you can experience some bad weather, big swells and drop in visibility.

    The Andaman Sea would be my pick for this season. The Similan Islands will still not be available, so don’t go to Khao Lak. Most busy and therefore also the places with the most options will be Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi. Lanta is still a bit slow, but the island is opening op at that point.

    You can do refresher all around, Thailand is full of great dive centers and instructors, and 2-3 days of diving is good for this season.

  15. Mitch H

    I’m a beginner with open water certification and looking to get a few good dives in Thailand…I’ll be there at the beginning of September. Any recommendations where to go? I hear Koh Tao, Koh Samui, or Koh Phi Phi is best for that time. Of the 3, which would you choose? Or if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear! Thanks.

  16. Torben Lonne

    Hi Mitch,

    Most of the Andaman Sea is not good for diving in September as there are too much wind and waves. You can still dive at Phi Phi as the diving is often sheltered behind one of the islands, some of the dive sites will not be accessible but it’s still a good option. Especially for a new diver: It’s nice and easy diving with lots of life.

    Golf of Thailand is your best option when you’re new to diving and don’t want to risk ending up in rough sea and a dive with no visibility. Koh Tao is the better option of the two. Here’s nice clear water, good visibility, nice life and a relaxing atmosphere.

  17. Abdulrahman

    Great info ! I’ll be in Thailand in July for work. What do you recommend for 1-2 days diving and snorkeling?

  18. Torben Lonne

    Hi Abdulrahman,

    Nice, great choice 🙂 Sure, we’d love to help you pick the best spot, do you have a “side” picked? The Gold of Thailand or the Andaman Sea? Or do you need recommendations on this as well?

    Let me know, and I’ll help you get a few good days of diving and snorkeling.

  19. Rahul dewangan

    Thanks for the guide.
    I will go to Thailand in September’s first week. Can you recommend any centers to dive with?
    Which center is the best price range in Thailand (jomtien beach) in September for discover dive.

  20. Torben Lonne

    Hi Rahul,

    I can’t recommend any dive centers in Jomtien Beach(Pataya). I really don’t know them that well.

    But don’t use price as a measure of anything! Your first dive is not a place where you want to save money compared to picking the right dive center and the right instructor. Once there, or before you go, talk to a few centers, and ask how they conduct the try dive. How many will be in the group, will it be a shallow dive(if not, don’t go), will they provide pool training(or confined water) or will it just be an open water dive, who will be the instructor(talk to him/her and make sure you feel comfortable with the person how’s taking you down under).

  21. Gary

    Good afternoon

    We are planning a trip to Thailand. We want to visit Bangkok, Chang Mai and then 1 or 2 beach resorts on the Islands.

    I have never dived before but love snorkling. I think now I want to try diving.

    Could you recommend the best Island or Islands to take the PADI course?
    If I get to Thailand and I have already got my certificate does this change your suggestions.
    If you recommend some Islands what time of year is best. As we are at the planning stage we can choose the month.

    Is there 1 or 2 Islands with a short crossing or easy transport? When we go down to the islands we can either have 4 or 5 nights in one place or 3 nights in each. I expect if I have to take my PADI course I will need at least 3 days in one place?
    If I am not diving I am interested in the best islands or resorts for snorkling. We would also like to be near some towns and land based activities. We are not looking for quiet just beach resorts.

    Just in case my age makes a difference to your suggestions I am in my 50’s. No moon parties needed!!!

    Thank you in advance if you can offer any help or advice. We are in the early stages of planning so any suggestions will be great.

    Best wishes

  22. Julia

    When you’re there might go for Koh tao they are great for a open water course(I did mine there) and it’s nice diving for beginners and snorkelers as well. It will also fit with beach and it’s quite easy to get there from Bangkok, so it might be a really god pick for you. There’s plenty of things to do on KOh Tao, so it’s a win win. KOh tao, does have some parties, but not at all anything that needs to bother you, just pick a hotel a bit outside the town and you’re good. There’s plenty of travellers on the island that’s not there for the party.

    For other suggestions, you could also do Krabi or Koh Lanta, but that’s on the other side of Thailand. Therefore my pick would still be Koh Tao.

  23. amir

    I am an Iranian diver. How can I diving in your country? Please give me a complete guide on how to get a visa and a donation. Thank you.

  24. Julia

    Hi Amir

    Regarding visa and potential need for a local sponsorship it’s always best to contact the local embassy in your home country.

  25. David

    Good afternoon,
    We are thinking about going to Thailand in November. What would be the best location to stay for a great scuba diving vacation? What area

  26. Megha

    Thank you for such useful information on your site. I’m planning a trip to Thailand in December and I want to do open water certification. Which place would you recommend for Open water course?
    Thanks in advance.

  27. Torben Lonne

    Hi Megha,

    Teh Gulf of Thailand, would be the best place for a dive trip in December. IF you’re looking for an open water course, Ko Tao is the best pick in the Gulf.

  28. Nancy Campbell

    We will be on a catamaran from December 30 to January 8th. We start in Phuket and end in Langkawi. Can you recommend anyone dive shop that might rendezvous with us and take us diving? There would probably be 6 to 8 divers.

  29. Torben Lonne

    Hi Nancy,

    I’m sure most dive companies, with own boat, will meet you somewhere close to the dive site and let you join. It’s common practice and I’ve seen in plenty of times doing dive trips.

  30. Alan Meitler

    Dear Torben and Boby:

    I will have completed the basic PADI certification course for open water diving here in the United States, but will not have completed the open water training. I am vacationing in Thailand in February 2018. My language is English. How do I find the PADI dive shops for the Phuket area and for the Similan Islands where an instructor will help me finish my PADI certification? Is PADI widely recognized in Thailand, or harder to find? Thank you.


  31. Shara

    Hi, we will be in Phuket this February first week and we plan to then venture to Phi Phi and Krabi.

    I am interested in going for a Scuba Dive during my trip, could you please suggest which of the three places above would be best and would be great if you could also suggest a nice diving school which is safe and professional please. Thank you so much for the information in the post. Looking forward to hear from you.

  32. Mikael

    Hi, we will be visiting Phuket, Krabi and Phi phi coming Feb. Could you please advise which of the three would be best for Scuba Diving and also please suggest some good safe and professional diving schools that i could go for.
    Much thanks!

  33. Sylvie

    Hey there,
    I want to go on a spontaneous trip now over New Year, coming down from Shanghai. Which area is the best to go for diving, now end of December? Ideally not too crowded? And, I only have 5 days, so it needs to be somehow easy and fast to reach.
    Many thanks for your input!

  34. Husain

    Hello Torben,

    i’ve been too many times to Thailand but never consider to dive, recently i tried it and i got my open water certificate.
    i’ve been to koh tao and it was amazing, the island is full of divers and schools. im planning to travel next month.
    i will stay for a week in koh tao and planning to go for Fun dives, at least 10 dives split into 5 days “2 dives each day”.
    which school/shop you recommend? and do you have an idea about the pricing.
    i’ve done few research and found PhoenixSchool they offer 10 dives at 6500thb, do you have any other suggestion?

  35. Allan Zacher

    My daughter and I will be in Thailand May 17th until about June 1st (From the USA). We are both certified, I with advanced open water and have been to Truk, Palau etc, and she has been to Bonaire. The fam went to Bonaire last year, Alex logged about 10 dives that week.

    I would very much like to dive a live aboard for a few days. We will be in the Phuket area in the latter part of this trip for probably at least a week. I am looking at the Similan area possibly. I have never been to Thailand so very excited about diving there.

    We have been advised to pack very light. So we have gear – but we are NOT bringing our own stuff as I gather rental is cheap enough. Please advise a good dive operation to book once there, thanks,

  36. Torben Lonne

    Hi Allan,

    I’d recommend you look here: and make the booking before going there. From Phuket, Similan Islands is a great option, good diving and easy transfer to the departure docks. Rental gear is good on most boats, but it will add an extra cost to the trip.

  37. Rachel


    I am planning to go to Thailand next spring with my family of 4. My boys (12 and 13) will be newly certified to dive – my husband and I are certified. What is the best island/area for us to go with beautiful beaches and great diving for beginners. Obviously we don’t need the party scene and do enjoy places off the beaten path.


  38. Torben Lonne

    Hi Rachel,

    Sounds like a nice trip, and great place for your boys to start their diving adventurours.

    When (time of year) are you planning to go?

  39. Rachel

    End of March 2019

  40. Rachel

    Hi Torben:

    We are going at the end of March 2019.



  41. Torben Lonne

    Perfect time to go diving in Thailand.
    Booth the Andaman Coast and The Gulf of Thailand all have some ward similar weather during the month of March. So wherever you choose the islands of Koh Samui or Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, or Krabi, Phuket, Khao Lak(Similan islands) or Phi Phi on the Andaman Coast, you should experience sunny days with blue skies and great water.

    Similan islands, are really great in March, but most of the really good dive spots are not for all newly certified boys in that age. In my opinion, they should have more experience to see the really great dive spots, but would be able to do some of the spots here.

    Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi islands & Koh Lanta,
    A great option, as they all serve great diving for both new and advanced divers. This would be my pick.

    Koh Samui or Koh Tao
    Really great for new divers, and would be excellent for your boys to pick up experience. Diving here is not as good as the Andamans cost, that said, it’s better than many other countries, so you’ll still have great diving.

  42. snehal ponde

    We were hoping to do a first level open water RAID certification in Thailand in October end (around 19th onwards). Where would you recommend we go?

  43. Shubham

    I will be diving and snorkeling for the first time,As it’s my first time from which island I should do 3 day course.

    Was thinking of doing it on phi phi island

    I will traveling in mid August.

  44. Ivan

    We are trying to decide where to go for 4 days September 29 – October 2 to dive in Thailand for our honeymoon this year. I see a gulf of Thailand recommendation for September but also a Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi islands & Koh Lanta recommendation for October. We’d probably be interested in diving 2 days we’re there. I’m also an avid kiteboarder so if it’s windy and there’s a concession to rent from nearby that’s be a consideration.

  45. Ivan Zorn


    We have 4 days in the middle of our honeymoon to go somewhere in the south of Thailand. 9/29-10/2. We’d love to get 2 days of diving in but looks like this time of year isn’t the best. Would you recommend one area over another this time of year? Also interested in kiteboarding if you know anything about where it’s good for that during our dates. Thanks!

  46. chris davis

    my wife and i wil be in thailand from Oct 16th-Nov 12th please looking for some good diving during that time, recommendations??

  47. Merisa Vertti

    Hello, I will be in the Thai islands from October 29th to November 6th. I am trying to decide the best place to get my open water certification. It seems the end of Oct-beg of Nov is a transitionary time in weather for both the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand. Which would you suggest? I know Kho Tao is a popular learning destination, but the dive sites don’t look shallow and I am worried about visibility on rainy days in late October/beginning of November. Do you have any advice?

  48. Torben Lonne

    Hi Merisa,

    Low visibility might be an issue if the rains hit, but for this time a year, it can hit both sides.
    Koh Tao is great for learning, and there’s a lot of great training dive sites to visit. Once your training is done, you can go for the “deeper” dive sites.

  49. Dougie Reid

    I’m travelling for a year with my family & diving is just a small part of the trip. However, I’m an OWSI & plan to teach my 2 sons to dive (aged 10 & 12). Any tips on the best place to go where I can rent the equipment & complete both CW & OW training without spending a fortune. For now, the training is the most important, not the amazing dive site or shark airings, that can come later in Oz or Central America. Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks

  50. Torben Lonne

    Hi Dougie,
    Sounds like a trip of a lifetime. One year with the familie while traveling. Wow, please let us know how the trips go.

    Regarding your question, on where you’d be able to teach your kids. Usually, dive centers on holiday destinations usually don’t rent out gear, as they see it as a business. That said, you might be able to find some that would. If I where you, I’d write a bunch of shops and tell them your plans and ask how much they would charge to facilitate this. Some won’t be willing to help you, others might.

  51. Ben Sheridan

    Will be in Thailand in February and am trying to figure out the best place to visit for our last 3 days. Will be up north, but want to see the southwest area and do 1-2 days of diving. My wife doesn’t dive, and it looks like all the diving is long boat rides and all day affairs. Would prefer a short ride and home by 12 or 1pm to then hang with her. Also want a nicer place, maybe with more daytime, active activities in addition to beautiful beaches. Will be coming from Chiang Rai, and then going to Bangkok next to come home. Thanks a ton for any input!

  52. Torben Lonne

    Hi Ben,

    Yes, there are some issues with the length of the day trips. That said, you can do half day trips:
    If you’re in Khao Lak, it common to dive Similan Islands, but that’s a long boat ride and you won’t make it back before 2 pm at the earliest(that’s speedboat trip) or 4-5pm if it’s on a big boat.
    There are local dives like Boonsung wreck, great dive, and you’ll be back before 12. Though this is only good for one day of diving.

    Krabi and Koh Lanta are doing trips to Phi phi, Koh Haa and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang which is all a longer trip. Phi Phi trips might get you back at two, depending on when the dive center leaves.
    Booth places have a lot of great local spots as well, but often they sell the other spots as it’s much better diving.

    Phi Phi islands, you can stay here, and dive trips are 1½ hours and back, so perfect for what you’re looking at. The island is very busy, so make sure to look into this before going here.

    Koh Lipe all the way in the south also has great diving, and all are located within a short distance. Great island, very beautiful and relaxed, but it’s long trip down south. I think it’s 2-4 hours ferry/boat from Phuket or bus via land and local ferry.

  53. Torben Lonne

    Hi Ben,

    Yes, there are some issues with the length of the day trips. That said, you can do half day trips:
    If you’re in Khao Lak, it common to dive Similan Islands, but that’s a long boat ride and you won’t make it back before 2 pm at the earliest(that’s speedboat trip) or 4-5pm if it’s on a big boat.
    There are local dives like Boonsung wreck, great dive, and you’ll be back before 12. Though this is only good for one day of diving.

    Krabi and Koh Lanta are doing trips to Phi phi, Koh Haa and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang which is all a longer trip. Phi Phi trips might get you back at two, depending on when the dive center leaves.
    Booth places have a lot of great local spots as well, but often they sell the other spots as it’s much better diving.

    Phi Phi islands, you can stay here, and dive trips are 1½ hours and back, so perfect for what you’re looking at. The island is very busy, so make sure to look into this before going here.

    Koh Lipe all the way in the south also has great diving, and all are located within a short distance. Great island, very beautiful and relaxed, but it’s long trip down south. I think it’s 2-4 hours ferry/boat from Phuket or bus via land and local ferry.

  54. Irena pettigiani

    Hi! I’m coming to Thailand tomorrow, arriving in phuket but not sure I want to do my diving course in phuket. I only know that the best side to dive at the moment is andaman sea, looking for a nice place not too crowded and not so expensive thanks!

  55. Torben Lonne

    Hi Irena,

    There are great dive options in the areas of Krabi, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Phi Phi or Khao Lak. All places have great diving and good dive schools, so it’s more about where you’d like to spend your days.

  56. Nicholas Clyde

    Hi! My partner and i will be diving at Krabi either at Phi Phi or somewhere near Ao nang. We are recently certified PADI open water divers. This would be our first time diving overseas. So we are wondering what we would need to bring? Do we need to invest in a wetsuit, rash guard, gloves, boots? Please advise, we are really excited but nervous about it. THank you!

  57. Torben Lonne

    Hi Nicholas,

    You only have to bring a bathingsuite. All else can be rented at a fair price.

    That said, if you do have personal gear, it’s good to bring the things you’re comfortable using.

  58. Preeti Tayal


    I shall be visiting Thailand in Mid of December . Can you please suggest where should I try the beginners course and can I also upgrade along with the beginners course .


  59. Torben Lonne

    Where in Thailand are you planning to go? Which side the Golf or Andaman?

    As for the course, do a PADI Open water course or the SSI Open water diver. Both are good options, but make sure to pick a good dive instructor.

  60. Demi R.

    My husband and I are hoping to visit Thailand between the end of April to mid/end of May. He is looking to do a scuba diving course to acquire his certification, but I am already certified and working on my advanced certification. Where would you recommend we go that will offer both a course for my husband, but will also be exciting for me?

  61. Maritime Opinions

    Nice. This site is very perfect and usefully information.

  62. Leigh

    I will be doing a last minute planning to go diving in Khao Lak leaving in 4 days to Thailand. I need a refresher since my last dive was 4 years ago. What is your opinion of Khao Lak Explorer or Sea Dragon Dive Center in Khao Lak? I am not an experienced diver. Only did one an open water certification in Mexico 4 years ago. I am wondering if I should do an advance open water or redo the open water cert?

    thanks for your suggestion,

  63. Jalika


    My friend and I are visiting the Phuket region on May 19 /20. I just found out that Richelieu Rock is not an option because the park is closed. We were trying to get a good chance to see whale sharks and manta rays. Any suggestions for a day trip for 1 driver and 1 snorkeler during that time?

  64. Torben Lonne

    Hi Jalika,

    It might be hard to mantas and Whale sharks, but you can still get great diving.

    If you’re up for Casual diving and a nice day trip, then Koh haa (which means 5 islands) or you can do a trip to dive spots around Phi Phi island.

    Otherwise, but this is a longer trip from Phuket, but Hin daeng Hin muang is really great spots, and your biggest chance of big stuff.

  65. Torben Lonne

    Hi Leage,

    You get great value in doing some more dive training and Khao Lak has plenty of great options to choose from. When it’s 4 years ago, a tune-up is of cause a no brainer, and rather an advanced is necessary depends on your future in diving. Are you planning to dive more in the future then go for more training, or will your next dive be in another 4 years then spend the money on an extra dive 🙂

  66. Vivian

    Hi There, May I know which island to go during July is the best? And what is the price? Will accommodation provided?

  67. Torben Lonne

    Hi Vivian,

    Great question: July is/might be rainy season for the Andaman sea, but you’ll experience great conditions in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao is a good choice for diving and beaches.

    Prices and accommodation really depend on who you pick to take you diving and what kind of diving you’re looking for. Generally, Koh Tao is not expensive.

  68. Gina

    Hi Torben, I will be in Thailand the last week in September and the first two in October this year. Could you give me some tips on which coast I should focus on (Andaman vs. Gulf)? It sounds like we are right in between seasons and suggested areas to try. I am open to going wherever it might be best and am intermediate-advanced level. I’d love to get the chance to see some larger animals but regular reef dives are OK too. If you have any specific dive site tips I’d love that too! Thanks so much. I’ll appreciate your insight and knowledge on this! 🙂

  69. Torben Lonne

    HI Gina,

    In September the Andaman side is out of the question. There’s too much choppy water and rain.

    Your best option is the Gulf, and even though September isn’t the best season there, you can still get okay diving. If you’re lucky a whale shark will pass by, but the reef diving there is also worth a trip underwater 🙂

    Not the best advice, but hope you can use it a bit.

  70. Sarah

    I will be visiting Thailand in late May/early June or mid August. I know Similan Island is not open but what are the “next best sites” for diving in Thailand during this period.

    I am an experienced diver and am looking for 3-5 days of diving.

    Thanks in advance,

  71. Kate

    Hi, I’m looking to do a dive trip with a friend in mid-july. We generally like to go somewhere quiet with not too many tourists but we’re a little limited with time on this occasion and so don’t want to spend too much time travelling. We both have advanced diving certification, (and I’m super keen to see a whale shark!!). Any suggestions on the most suitable spot for us?
    Thanks, Kate

  72. Fin Bason

    I am heading to Thailand with my family wife and 2 boys age 11 and 12. I used to dive a lot but not for a few years. Kids did a taster in U.K. and want to learn to dive and snorkel to see tropical waters. I don’t know where to head to get best chance of clearest waters and great sites/ safe experience and whether I should get them qualified in U.K. venture we go or do it out there. Looking at the seasons it seems that Gulf of Thailand is best place to be. We also want great experiences as well as water based activities. Any help would be appreciated!! Fin

  73. Smaru

    Hello Torben,
    My son and I are planning to visit in Thailand late November early December specifically for learning to dive.He has a beginner open water certificate.I have none, and will do a beginner course.My son will explore advance SCUBA diving options. will be great to have some advice on where to go .Thanks in advance

  74. Jon-Paul Daniel

    Hi Torben
    I live in Bangkok and I fancy going diving the weekend of 20/21 July. Need to be at work Friday and Back again on Monday. Would you recommend anywhere for a weekend of diving at that time of year?

  75. Torben Lonne

    Hi Jon-paul,

    Well, within that timespan flying is out, as you’ll only have Saturday to dive then. Then I’d recommend you’ll go to Pattaya for some diving. The dive centers there can properly help you arrange transportation as well.

  76. julie

    what are some good places (diving clubs/schools) to learn how to scuba dive on Koh tao? 🙂 (price and quality)

  77. Virginia

    Thanks for this interesting guide and splendide videos!
    We are planning a trip to thailand at the beginning of January. We have no diving experience (Just one trial up to 7 meters last summer in French Polinesia) and we would like to do it again and possibly to take some novice course there.
    We are planning to head to the Andaman Sea, first Phuket and than maybe southern, to Koh Lipe and Koh Kradan.
    Suggestions about where we can find diving sites for novices and where we can do a safe and effective Open Water Divers are really appreciated!
    Thank you!


  78. Torben Lonne

    Hi Virginia,

    Sounds like a great trip. Both in Phuket and Koh Lipe you’ll find really good dive centers and great places for beginner divers. I’d recommend you do an Open Water course, that’s 4 days wich includes theory, pool and open water training, and you’ll be well set for diving on this and future trips.

  79. Aradhana

    Hi Torben,
    I am planning an Open Water course, for my son ,12 yrs , who happens to be a good swimmer in around Jan 10th ,2020 . But since diving is completely new for him and based on reviews what I have read.. Ko Tao is the best place for beginners to learn ,so will Jan be a good month for diving in Ko Tao. Also pls suggest some good diving schools who have good instructors as well. A PM is welcome.
    I am asking because I am a bit of confusion between Ko lanta and ko Tao. But Ko lanta will be too peaky season in January.

  80. edgar

    We are traveling to Thailand for our Open water cert. in early to mid Nov. I see you mostly recommend Koh Tao for beginners. Is this still the best option for November?

  81. Torben Lonne

    Hi Edgar,

    Koh Tao is good for November, but at this point, you could also get really good diving in the Andaman Sea.

  82. Torben Lonne

    Hi Aradhana,

    January is not the best month for Koh Tao, as it’s the rainy season here. That said, it’s possible to get a few good days of diving.
    I’d suggest you try the Andaman side for the better diving. There are more options than just Koh Lanta, but yes, this is peak season there.

  83. Susan Finch

    My niece and I are coming to dive Thailand in February 2020. We are both advanced divers with nitrox certifications. We both live in Louisiana USA and be flying in spending approx 10 days to dive and be tourist. Please advise us should we do stay at in a certain area where we can see the most from or a liveaboard. We have never done a liveaboard because we like to have our feet on land at night. We really need you tell us where we should dive, place we should stay for about 4/5 days of diving.

  84. Torben Lonne

    Hi Susan,

    Where in Thailand are you flying to? If you’re heading to the Andaman Sea, I’d suggest you check out Koh Lanta or Koh Libe. Khao Lak has great diving(Similan Island), but it’s best with a few days of Liveaboarding, so I’m guessing that’s not for you.

  85. Michael Kaiser

    Great guide! Like many others, I took my PADI Open Water certification on Koh Tao Island back in 2012.

    I can definitely recommend it to others. Beautiful dive sites, friendly and experienced instructors and reasonable prices. I really loved Thailand and have great memories.
    I could not have wished for more, except seeing a Whale Shark during the dives 🙂

  86. Giovanna


    I am an experience diver and will land from a liveaboard in mid April in Kao Lak where my daughter (100 dives) will join me for 3 days.

    We would like to do some dives together and snorkelling while sightseeing and enjoy a beach.

    Could I please have your advise on where to stay?
    Khao Lak or Pucket? And if the later, where would be the best area?

    Many thanks for your help!


  87. Nicholas Welch

    I am visiting Thailand at the end of march into the start of April. Where should I go to get my best chances at Whale Sharks and Manta Rays, they are both on my dive bucket list! I will be in country for over a week and would love to do multiple dives. Still planning the trip but I know I will make my way down the peninsula so I can still plan for either side! Anything else I should look for to be wary of or any specific types of dives I should do?

  88. Nicolai Frydensbjerg

    Really great guide! Thank you for such useful informations on your site!

    I’m planning a trip to Thailand in December and I want to do open water certification. I have been in Thailand before, but now I want to do something new. So which place would you recommend for Open water course?

    I really love Thailand and I want to get some more great memories ????

  89. Torben Lonne

    Hi Nicolai,

    Where in Thailand will you be located? There are PADI and SSI dive centered all over Thailand, and as they follow the standards they will offer you the training you need. As for the diving in Thailand in December, you should choose the side of the Andaman sea, as this will give you the best diving. Areas like Koh Libe, Koh Lanta, and Krabi are great for beginner divers with good diving and plenty of dive schools to choose from.

  90. Iggy Morrat

    When will I be able to come to Thailand for a holiday? I am in the USA.

  91. Marcia Lukon

    I did a dozen glorious dives from Ko Lipe 10 years ago. I am looking forward to returning to the Andaman Sea with 3 friends to dive again for a week in January. We are all experienced divers who are now 70ish. Diving from a long boat would be difficult physically for us. We plan to do day dives and do not want to go on a live aboard. Can you recommend an Andaman location other than Phuket and dive op(s) that uses modern dive boats with easier in and out than long boats do? Thank you for any advice you can give us.

  92. Torben Lonne

    Hi Marcia,

    You can dive on large dive boats from booth Krabi and Koh Lanta. Easy in and out from dive platform with large ladders. They will not go all the way down to Koh Libe, but diving at Ko Haa, Phi Phi, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang.

    Enjoy the diving.

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